Skip to main content

Tree queries with explicit opt-in, without configurability

Project description

CI Status

Query Django model trees using adjacency lists and recursive common table expressions. Supports PostgreSQL, sqlite3 (3.8.3 or higher) and MariaDB (10.2.2 or higher) and MySQL (8.0 or higher, if running without ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY).

Supports Django 3.2 or better, Python 3.8 or better. See the GitHub actions build for more details.

Features and limitations

  • Supports only integer and UUID primary keys (for now).

  • Allows specifying ordering among siblings.

  • Uses the correct definition of depth, where root nodes have a depth of zero.

  • The parent foreign key must be named "parent" at the moment (but why would you want to name it differently?)

  • The fields added by the common table expression always are tree_depth, tree_path and tree_ordering. The names cannot be changed. tree_depth is an integer, tree_path an array of primary keys and tree_ordering an array of values used for ordering nodes within their siblings. Note that the contents of the tree_path and tree_ordering are subject to change. You shouldn’t rely on their contents.

  • Besides adding the fields mentioned above the package only adds queryset methods for ordering siblings and filtering ancestors and descendants. Other features may be useful, but will not be added to the package just because it’s possible to do so.

  • Little code, and relatively simple when compared to other tree management solutions for Django. No redundant values so the only way to end up with corrupt data is by introducing a loop in the tree structure (making it a graph). The TreeNode abstract model class has some protection against this.

  • Supports only trees with max. 50 levels on MySQL/MariaDB, since those databases do not support arrays and require us to provide a maximum length for the tree_path and tree_ordering upfront.

Here’s a blog post offering some additional insight (hopefully) into the reasons for django-tree-queries’ existence.


  • Install django-tree-queries using pip.

  • Extend tree_queries.models.TreeNode or build your own queryset and/or manager using tree_queries.query.TreeQuerySet. The TreeNode abstract model already contains a parent foreign key for your convenience and also uses model validation to protect against loops.

  • Call the with_tree_fields() queryset method if you require the additional fields respectively the CTE.

  • Call the order_siblings_by("field_name") queryset method if you want to order tree siblings by a specific model field. Note that Django’s standard order_by() method isn’t supported – nodes are returned according to the depth-first search algorithm.

  • Create a manager using TreeQuerySet.as_manager(with_tree_fields=True) if you want to add tree fields to queries by default.

  • Until documentation is more complete I’ll have to refer you to the test suite for additional instructions and usage examples, or check the recipes below.


Basic models

The following two examples both extend the TreeNode which offers a few agreeable utilities and a model validation method that prevents loops in the tree structure. The common table expression could be hardened against such loops but this would involve a performance hit which we don’t want – this is a documented limitation (non-goal) of the library after all.

Basic tree node

from tree_queries.models import TreeNode

class Node(TreeNode):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=100)

Tree node with ordering among siblings

Nodes with the same parent may be ordered among themselves. The default is to order siblings by their primary key but that’s not always very useful.

from tree_queries.models import TreeNode

class Node(TreeNode):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=100)
    position = models.PositiveIntegerField(default=0)

    class Meta:
        ordering = ["position"]

Add custom methods to queryset

from tree_queries.models import TreeNode
from tree_queries.query import TreeQuerySet

class NodeQuerySet(TreeQuerySet):
    def active(self):
        return self.filter(is_active=True)

class Node(TreeNode):
    is_active = models.BooleanField(default=True)

    objects = NodeQuerySet.as_manager()

Querying the tree

All examples assume the Node class from above.

Basic usage

# Basic usage, disregards the tree structure completely.
nodes = Node.objects.all()

# Fetch nodes in depth-first search order. All nodes will have the
# tree_path, tree_ordering and tree_depth attributes.
nodes = Node.objects.with_tree_fields()

# Fetch any node.
node = Node.objects.order_by("?").first()

# Fetch direct children and include tree fields. (The parent ForeignKey
# specifies related_name="children")
children = node.children.with_tree_fields()

# Fetch all ancestors starting from the root.
ancestors = node.ancestors()

# Fetch all ancestors including self, starting from the root.
ancestors_including_self = node.ancestors(include_self=True)

# Fetch all ancestors starting with the node itself.
ancestry = node.ancestors(include_self=True).reverse()

# Fetch all descendants in depth-first search order, including self.
descendants = node.descendants(include_self=True)

# Temporarily override the ordering by siblings.
nodes = Node.objects.order_siblings_by("id")

Filter by depth

If you only want nodes from the top two levels:

nodes = Node.objects.with_tree_fields().extra(
    where=["__tree.tree_depth <= %s"],

Form fields

django-tree-queries ships a model field and some form fields which augment the default foreign key field and the choice fields with a version where the tree structure is visualized using dashes etc. Those fields are tree_queries.fields.TreeNodeForeignKey, tree_queries.forms.TreeNodeChoiceField, tree_queries.forms.TreeNodeMultipleChoiceField.

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Source Distribution

django_tree_queries-0.19.0.tar.gz (11.5 kB view hashes)

Uploaded Source

Built Distribution

django_tree_queries-0.19.0-py3-none-any.whl (13.8 kB view hashes)

Uploaded Python 3

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing and Security Sponsor Datadog Datadog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page