Django Fquery

Arun Sharma · August 15, 2021

Tutorial for using django + fquery

fquery is primarily a graph query engine. It can also be thought of as an explicit query plan for declarative query languages such as SQL or opencypher. In that sense it’s multi-model (can support relational, document or graph) and can be enhanced with additional operators as needed.

In this tutorial we’ll describe how to use fquery with django and create a graphql interface.

Django Polls App

Start with the standard django tutorial and once you have finished the tutorial and created the polls app, move on to the next page. This is where we do things differently.

The tutorial tells you to do this:

from django.db import models

class Question(models.Model):
    question_text = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    pub_date = models.DateTimeField('date published')

class Choice(models.Model):
    question = models.ForeignKey(Question, on_delete=models.CASCADE)
    choice_text = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    votes = models.IntegerField(default=0)

But instead with fquery, you’d write the same model as:

from datetime import datetime
from fquery.django import model
from dataclasses import dataclass
from fquery.query import query
from fquery.view_model import edge, node

class Question:
    question_text: str
    pub_date: datetime

class Choice:
    choice_text: str
    votes: int

    async def question(self) -> Question:
        return self._question

class QuestionQuery:
    TYPE = Question

class ChoiceQuery:
    TYPE = Choice

run the migrations and follow the rest of the tutorial. If something doesn’t work as before, please file an issue with the github repo linked.

Pros and Cons

Pros: you write strongly typed, compact python dataclasses. Rich data types like date/time and uuids are supported. Things like duration and URL can be added trivially to bring a safe and familiar programming model to the DDL.

Cons: you lose some low level control over how fields are represented in the database. This can be added back later in the form of dataclass field metadata and declaratively mapped to the underlying database.

In addition to what’s in the tutorial, you get access to a simpler query syntax that encapsulates the underlying relational model.






Using graphql

Much of the hard work here is done by the strawberry-graphql project. If it so happens that your domain objects and the database schema map one to one, you can simply add the @graphql decorator on the dataclass and generate a graphql type object.

# polls/
from fquery.fgraphql import obj, field, graphql, root
from polls import Question, Choice, QuestionQuery, ChoiceQuery

class GraphQLQuestion(Question):
    async def choices(self) -> List["GraphQLChoice"]:

class GraphQLChoice(Choice):
    async def question(self) -> List["GraphQLQuestion"]:

class GraphQLQuestionQuery:
    def question(id: int) -> GraphQLMockQuestion:
        return QuestionQuery.TYPE.get(id)

class GraphQLChoiceQuery:
    def choice(id: int) -> GraphQLMockChoice:
        return ChoiceQuery.TYPE.get(id)

Install strawberry graphql

pip3 install strawberry-graphql --user

and run it

PYTHONPATH=. ~/.local/bin/strawberry server polls.graphql_question_query

Navigate to: http://localhost:8000/ and run some queries. Enjoy!

More complex mappings

What if your view model doesn’t map 1:1 to the database model? This is a fallacy a lot of the “expose your database as a graphql” solutions fall prey to. In those cases, you’d write a view model and database model separately and use async methods to perform the mapping. In the future we could make it more declarative.

class Question:
    question_text: str
    pub_date: datetime

class QuestionView(Question):
    question_text: str
    pub_date: datetime

    async def location(self):
        # some logic to fetch location from somewhere else

The use of inheritance to auto-map a few fields to the database could be problematic. There are other potential schemes to alleviate it.

Pros and Cons

Pros: You get nested query results which is something Django’s query model doesn’t support. When writing views, you need to make a bunch of flat queries and manually convert the result to a nested data structure. Here things fall into place more naturally.

Cons: there is a bit of an implementation problem - there is more repetition than what is strictly necessary. Perhaps GraphQLQuestion and GraphQLQuestionQuery can be auto-generated via decorator based meta-programming.

Future Enhancements

  • An edge at a time query engine backing up most python graphql implementations including strawberry-graphql can be enhanced with whole query optimization modes. In other words, an entire graphql can be synthesized into a fquery which can be mapped back to SQL or another language the storage engine supports.

  • fquery can be serialized efficiently into a network representation. Zero-copy is a major concern.

  • Incremental/streaming mode of execution

Please leave any comments/feedback here

Twitter, Facebook


You can use your Mastodon account to reply to this post.