Generic relationships

Generic relationship is a form of relationship that supports creating a 1 to many relationship to any target model.

from sqlalchemy_utils import generic_relationship

class User(Base):
    __tablename__ = 'user'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)

class Customer(Base):
    __tablename__ = 'customer'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)

class Event(Base):
    __tablename__ = 'event'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)

    # This is used to discriminate between the linked tables.
    object_type = sa.Column(sa.Unicode(255))

    # This is used to point to the primary key of the linked row.
    object_id = sa.Column(sa.Integer)

    object = generic_relationship(object_type, object_id)


# Some general usage to attach an event to a user.
user = User()
customer = Customer()

session.add_all([user, customer])
session.commit()

ev = Event()
ev.object = user

session.add(ev)
session.commit()

# Find the event we just made.
session.query(Event).filter_by(object=user).first()

# Find any events that are bound to users.
session.query(Event).filter(Event.object.is_type(User)).all()

Inheritance

class Employee(self.Base):
    __tablename__ = 'employee'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)
    name = sa.Column(sa.String(50))
    type = sa.Column(sa.String(20))

    __mapper_args__ = {
        'polymorphic_on': type,
        'polymorphic_identity': 'employee'
    }

class Manager(Employee):
    __mapper_args__ = {
        'polymorphic_identity': 'manager'
    }

class Engineer(Employee):
    __mapper_args__ = {
        'polymorphic_identity': 'engineer'
    }

class Activity(self.Base):
    __tablename__ = 'event'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)

    object_type = sa.Column(sa.Unicode(255))
    object_id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, nullable=False)

    object = generic_relationship(object_type, object_id)

Now same as before we can add some objects:

manager = Manager()

session.add(manager)
session.commit()

activity = Activity()
activity.object = manager

session.add(activity)
session.commit()

# Find the activity we just made.
session.query(Event).filter_by(object=manager).first()

We can even test super types:

session.query(Activity).filter(Event.object.is_type(Employee)).all()

Abstract base classes

Generic relationships also allows using string arguments. When using generic_relationship with abstract base classes you need to set up the relationship using declared_attr decorator and string arguments.

class Building(self.Base):
    __tablename__ = 'building'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)

class User(self.Base):
    __tablename__ = 'user'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)

class EventBase(self.Base):
    __abstract__ = True

    object_type = sa.Column(sa.Unicode(255))
    object_id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, nullable=False)

    @declared_attr
    def object(cls):
        return generic_relationship('object_type', 'object_id')

class Event(EventBase):
    __tablename__ = 'event'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)

Composite keys

For some very rare cases you may need to use generic_relationships with composite primary keys. There is a limitation here though: you can only set up generic_relationship for similar composite primary key types. In other words you can’t mix generic relationship to both composite keyed objects and single keyed objects.

from sqlalchemy_utils import generic_relationship


class Customer(Base):
    __tablename__ = 'customer'
    code1 = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)
    code2 = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)


class Event(Base):
    __tablename__ = 'event'
    id = sa.Column(sa.Integer, primary_key=True)

    # This is used to discriminate between the linked tables.
    object_type = sa.Column(sa.Unicode(255))

    object_code1 = sa.Column(sa.Integer)

    object_code2 = sa.Column(sa.Integer)

    object = generic_relationship(
        object_type, (object_code1, object_code2)
    )