Skip to main content

Flexible, dynamic fields and nested resources for Django REST Framework serializers.

Project description

Django REST - FlexFields

Package version Python versions

Flexible, dynamic fields and nested models for Django REST Framework serializers.

Overview

FlexFields (DRF-FF) for Django REST Framework is a package designed to provide a common baseline of functionality for dynamically setting fields and nested models within DRF serializers. This package is designed for simplicity, with minimal magic and entanglement with DRF's foundational classes.

Key benefits:

  • Easily set up fields that be expanded to their fully serialized counterparts via query parameters (users/?expand=organization,friends)
  • Select a subset of fields by either:
    • specifying which ones should be included (users/?fields=id,first_name)
    • specifying which ones should be excluded (users/?omit=id,first_name)
  • Use dot notation to dynamically modify fields at arbitrary depths (users/?expand=organization.owner.roles)
  • Flexible API - options can also be passed directly to a serializer: UserSerializer(obj, expand=['organization'])

Quick Start

from rest_flex_fields import FlexFieldsModelSerializer

class StateSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Country
        fields = ('id', 'name')

class CountrySerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Country
        fields = ('id', 'name', 'population', 'states')
        expandable_fields = {
          'states': (StateSerializer, {'many': True})
        }

class PersonSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Person
        fields = ('id', 'name', 'country', 'occupation')
        expandable_fields = {'country': CountrySerializer}
GET /people/142/
{
  "id": 142,
  "name": "Jim Halpert",
  "country": 1
}
GET /people/142/?expand=country.states
{
  "id": 142,
  "name": "Jim Halpert",
  "country": {
    "id": 1,
    "name": "United States",
    "states": [
      {
        "id": 23,
        "name": "Ohio"
      },
      {
        "id": 2,
        "name": "Pennsylvania"
      }
    ]
  }
}

Table of Contents:

Setup

First install:

pip install drf-flex-fields

Then have your serializers subclass FlexFieldsModelSerializer:

from rest_flex_fields import FlexFieldsModelSerializer

class StateSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Country
        fields = ('id', 'name')

class CountrySerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Country
        fields = ('id', 'name', 'population', 'states')
        expandable_fields = {
          'states': (StateSerializer, {'many': True})
        }

Alternatively, you can add the FlexFieldsSerializerMixin mixin to a model serializer.

Usage

Dynamic Field Expansion

To define expandable fields, add an expandable_fields dictionary to your serializer's Meta class. Key the dictionary with the name of the field that you want to dynamically expand, and set its value to either the expanded serializer or a tuple where the first element is the serializer and the second is a dictionary of options that will be used to instantiate the serializer.

class CountrySerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Country
        fields = ['name', 'population']


class PersonSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    country = serializers.PrimaryKeyRelatedField(read_only=True)

    class Meta:
        model = Person
        fields = ['id', 'name', 'country', 'occupation']

        expandable_fields = {
            'country': CountrySerializer
        }

If the default serialized response is the following:

{
  "id" : 13322,
  "name" : "John Doe",
  "country" : 12,
  "occupation" : "Programmer",
}

When you do a GET /person/13322?expand=country, the response will change to:

{
  "id" : 13322,
  "name" : "John Doe",
  "country" : {
    "name" : "United States",
    "population": 330000000
  },
  "occupation" : "Programmer",
}

Deferred Fields

Alternatively, you could treat country as a "deferred" field by not defining it among the default fields. To make a field deferred, only define it within the serializer's expandable_fields.

Deep, Nested Expansion

Let's say you add StateSerializer as a serializer nested inside the country serializer above:

class StateSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = State
        fields = ['name', 'population']


class CountrySerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Country
        fields = ['name', 'population']

        expandable_fields = {
            'states': (StateSerializer, {'many': True})
        }

class PersonSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    country = serializers.PrimaryKeyRelatedField(read_only=True)

    class Meta:
        model = Person
        fields = ['id', 'name', 'country', 'occupation']

        expandable_fields = {
            'country': CountrySerializer
        }

Your default serialized response might be the following for person and country, respectively:

{
  "id" : 13322,
  "name" : "John Doe",
  "country" : 12,
  "occupation" : "Programmer",
}

{
  "id" : 12,
  "name" : "United States",
  "states" : "http://www.api.com/countries/12/states"
}

But if you do a GET /person/13322?expand=country.states, it would be:

{
  "id" : 13322,
  "name" : "John Doe",
  "occupation" : "Programmer",
  "country" : {
    "id" : 12,
    "name" : "United States",
    "states" : [
      {
        "name" : "Ohio",
        "population": 11000000
      }
    ]
  }
}

Please be kind to your database, as this could incur many additional queries. Though, you can mitigate this impact through judicious use of prefetch_related and select_related when defining the queryset for your viewset.

Field Expansion on "List" Views

If you request many objects, expanding fields could lead to many additional database queries. Subclass FlexFieldsModelViewSet if you want to prevent expanding fields by default when calling a ViewSet's list method. Place those fields that you would like to expand in a permit_list_expands property on the ViewSet:

from drf_flex_fields import is_expanded

class PersonViewSet(FlexFieldsModelViewSet):
    permit_list_expands = ['employer']
    serializer_class = PersonSerializer

    def get_queryset(self):
        queryset = models.Person.objects.all()
        if is_expanded(self.request, 'employer'):
            queryset = queryset.select_related('employer')
        return queryset

Notice how this example is using the is_expanded utility method as well as select_related and prefetch_related to efficiently query the database if the field is expanded.

Expanding a "Many" Relationship

Set many to True in the serializer options to make sure "to many" fields are expanded correctly.

class StateSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = State
        fields = ['name', 'population']


class CountrySerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Country
        fields = ['name', 'population']

        expandable_fields = {
            'states': (StateSerializer, {'many': True})
        }

A request to GET /countries?expand=states will return:

{
    "id" : 12,
    "name" : "United States",
    "states" : [
      {
        "name" : "Alabama",
        "population": 11000000
      },
      //... more states ... //
      {
        "name" : "Ohio",
        "population": 11000000
      }
    ]
}

Dynamically Setting Fields (Sparse Fields)

You can use either the fields or omit keywords to declare only the fields you want to include or to specify fields that should be excluded.

Consider this as a default serialized response:

{
  "id" : 13322,
  "name" : "John Doe",
  "country" : {
    "name" : "United States",
    "population": 330000000
  },
  "occupation" : "Programmer",
  "hobbies" : ["rock climbing", "sipping coffee"]
}

To whittle down the fields via URL parameters, simply add ?fields=id,name,country to your requests to get back:

{
  "id" : 13322,
  "name" : "John Doe",
  "country" : {
    "name" : "United States",
    "population: 330000000
  }
}

Or, for more specificity, you can use dot-notation, ?fields=id,name,country.name:

{
  "id" : 13322,
  "name" : "John Doe",
  "country" : {
    "name" : "United States",
  }
}

Or, if you want to leave out the nested country object, do ?omit=country:

{
  "id" : 13322,
  "name" : "John Doe",
  "occupation" : "Programmer",
  "hobbies" : ["rock climbing", "sipping coffee"]
}

Reference serializer as a string (lazy evaluation)

To avoid circular import problems, it's possible to lazily evaluate a string reference to you serializer class using this syntax:

expandable_fields = {
    'record_set': ('<app_name>.RelatedSerializer', {'many': True})
}

Substitute the name of your Django app where the serializer is found for <app_name>.

Increased re-usability of serializers

The omit and fields options can be passed directly to serializers. Rather than defining a separate, slimmer version of a regular serializer, you can re-use the same serializer and declare which fields you want.

from rest_flex_fields import FlexFieldsModelSerializer

class CountrySerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    class Meta:
        model = Country
        fields = ['id', 'name', 'population', 'capital', 'square_miles']

class PersonSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
    country = CountrySerializer(fields=['id', 'name'])

    class Meta:
        model = Person
        fields = ['id', 'name', 'country']


serializer = PersonSerializer(person)
print(serializer.data)

>>>{
  "id": 13322,
  "name": "John Doe",
  "country": {
    "id": 1,
    "name": "United States",
  }
}

Serializer Options

Dynamic field options can be passed in the following ways:

  • from the request's query parameters; separate multiple values with a commma
  • as keyword arguments directly to the serializer class when its constructed
  • from a dictionary placed as the second element in a tuple when defining expandable_fields

Approach #1

GET /people?expand=friends.hobbies,employer&omit=age

Approach #2

serializer = PersonSerializer(
  person, 
  expand=["friends.hobbies", "employer"],
  omit="friends.age"
)

Approach #3

class PersonSerializer(FlexFieldsModelSerializer):
  // Your field definitions

  class Meta:
    model = Person
    fields = ["age", "hobbies", "name"]
    expandable_fields = {
      'friends': (
        'serializer.FriendSerializer',
        {'many': True, "expand": ["hobbies"], "omit": "friends.age"}
      )
    }
Option Description
expand Fields to expand; must be configured in the serializer's expandable_fields
fields Fields that should be included; all others will be excluded
omit Fields that should be excluded; all others will be included

Advanced

Serializer Introspection

When using an instance of FlexFieldsModelSerializer, you can examine the property expanded_fields to discover which fields, if any, have been dynamically expanded.

Use "~all" to Expand All Available Fields

You can set expand=~all to automatically expand all fields that are available for expansion. This will take effect only for the top-level serializer; if you need to also expand fields that are present on deeply nested models, then you will need to explicitly pass their values using dot notation.

Combining Sparse Fields and Field Expansion

You may be wondering how things work if you use both the expand and fields option, and there is overlap. For example, your serialized person model may look like the following by default:

{
  "id": 13322,
  "name": "John Doe",
  "country": {
    "name": "United States",
  }
}

However, you make the following request HTTP GET /person/13322?include=id,name&expand=country. You will get the following back:

{
  "id": 13322,
  "name": "John Doe"
}

The include field takes precedence over expand. That is, if a field is not among the set that is explicitly alllowed, it cannot be expanded. If such a conflict occurs, you will not pay for the extra database queries - the expanded field will be silently abandoned.

Query optimization (experimental)

An experimental filter backend is available to help you automatically reduce the number of SQL queries and their transfer size. This feature has not been tested thorougly and any help testing and reporting bugs is greatly appreciated. You can add FlexFieldFilterBackend to DEFAULT_FILTER_BACKENDS in the settings:

# settings.py

REST_FRAMEWORK = {
    'DEFAULT_FILTER_BACKENDS': (
        'rest_flex_fields.filter_backends.FlexFieldsFilterBackend',
        # ...        
    ),
    # ...
}

It will automatically call select_related and prefetch_related on the current QuerySet by determining which fields are needed from many-to-many and foreign key-related models. For sparse fields requests (?omit=fieldX,fieldY or ?fields=fieldX,fieldY), the backend will automatically call only(*field_names) using only the fields needed for serialization.

WARNING: The optimization currently works only for one nesting level.

Changelog

0.7.5 (February 2020)

  • Simplifies declaration of expandable_fields
    • If using a tuple, the second element - to define the serializer settings - is now optional.
    • Instead of a tuple, you can now just use the serializer class or a string to lazily reference that class.
    • Updates documentation.

0.7.0 (February 2020)

  • Adds support for different ways of passing arrays in query strings. Thanks @sentyaev!
  • Fixes attribute error when map is supplied to split levels utility function. Thanks @hemache!

0.6.1 (September 2019)

  • Adds experimental support for automatically SQL query optimization via a FlexFieldsFilterBackend. Thanks ADR-007!
  • Adds CircleCI config file. Thanks mikeIFTS!
  • Moves declaration of expandable_fields to Meta class on serialzer for consistency with DRF (will continue to support declaration as class property)
  • Python 2 is no longer supported. If you need Python 2 support, you can continue to use older versions of this package.

0.5.0 (April 2019)

  • Added support for omit keyword for field exclusion. Code clean up and improved test coverage.

0.3.4 (May 2018)

  • Handle case where request is None when accessing request object from serializer. Thanks @jsatt!

0.3.3 (April 2018)

  • Exposes FlexFieldsSerializerMixin in addition to FlexFieldsModelSerializer. Thanks @jsatt!

Testing

Tests are found in a simplified DRF project in the /tests folder. Install the project requirements and do ./manage.py test to run them.

License

See License.

Project details


Download files

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

Files for drf-flex-fields, version 0.7.5
Filename, size File type Python version Upload date Hashes
Filename, size drf-flex-fields-0.7.5.tar.gz (20.5 kB) File type Source Python version None Upload date Hashes View hashes

Supported by

Elastic Elastic Search Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Google Google BigQuery Sentry Sentry Error logging AWS AWS Cloud computing DataDog DataDog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN DigiCert DigiCert EV certificate StatusPage StatusPage Status page