Skip to main content

JSON API tools for Flask

Project description

Build Status Pythons

Flask JsonTools

JSON API tools for Flask

Table of Contents

View Utilities


Decorate a view function that talks JSON.

Such function can return:

  • tuples of (response, status[, headers]): to set custom status code and optionally - headers
  • Instances of JsonResponse
  • The result of helper function make_json_response


from flask.ext.jsontools import jsonapi

def list_users():
    return [
        {'id': 1, 'login': 'kolypto'},

@app.route('/user/<int:id>', methods=['DELETE'])
def delete_user(id):
    return {'error': 'Access denied'}, 403


Extends flask.Request and encodes the response with JSON. Views decorated with @jsonapi return these objects.


  • response: response data
  • status: status code. Optional, defaults to 200
  • headers: additional headers dict. Optional.
  • **kwargs: additional argumets for Response


  • preprocess_response_data(response): Override to get custom response behavior.
  • get_json(): Get the original response data.
  • __getitem__(key): Get an item from the response data

The extra methods allows to reuse views:

from flask.ext.jsontools import jsonapi

@app.route('/user', methods=['GET'])
def list_users():
    return [ { 1: 'first', 2: 'second' } ]

@app.route('/user/<int:id>', methods=['GET'])
def get_user(id):
    return list_users().get_json()[id]  # Long form
    return list_users()[id]  # Shortcut


Helper function that actually preprocesses view return value into JsonResponse.

Accepts rv as any of:

  • tuple of (response, status[, headers])
  • Object to encode as JSON


FlaskJsonClient is a JSON-aware test client: it can post JSON and parse JSON responses into JsonResponse.

from myapplication import Application
from flask.ext.jsontools import FlaskJsonClient

def JsonTest(unittest.TestCase):
    def setUp(self): = Application(__name__) = FlaskJsonClient

    def testCreateUser(self):
        with as c:
            rv ='/user/', json={'name': 'kolypto'})
            # rv is JsonResponse
            rv.get_json()['user']  # Long form for the previous
            rv['user']  # Shortcut for the previous

Formatting Utils


In python, de-facto standard for encoding objects of custom classes is the __json__() method which returns the representation of the object.

DynamicJSONEncoder is the implementation of this protocol: if an object has the __json__() method, its result if used for the representation.

You'll definitely want to subclass it to support other types, e.g. dates and times:

from flask.ext.jsontools import DynamicJSONEncoder

class ApiJSONEncoder(DynamicJSONEncoder):
    def default(self, o):
        # Custom formats
        if isinstance(o, datetime.datetime):
            return o.isoformat(' ')
        if isinstance(o,
            return o.isoformat()
        if isinstance(o, set):
            return list(o)

        # Fallback
        return super(ApiJSONEncoder, self).default(o)

Now, just install the encoder to your Flask:

from flask import Flask

app = Flask(__name__)
app.json_encoder = DynamicJSONEncoder


Serializing SqlAlchemy models to JSON is a headache: if an attribute is present on an instance, this does not mean it's loaded from the database.

JsonSerializableBase is a mixin for SqlAlchemy Declarative Base that adds a magic __json__() method, compatible with DynamicJSONEncoder. When serializing, it makes sure that entity serialization will never issue additional requests.


from sqlalchemy.ext.declarative import declarative_base
from flask.ext.jsontools import JsonSerializableBase

Base = declarative_base(cls=(JsonSerializableBase,))

class User(Base):

Now, you can safely respond with SqlAlchemy models in your JSON views, and jsontools will handle the rest :)

Class-Based Views

Module flask.ext.jsontools.views contains a couple of classes that allow to build class-based views which dispatch to different methods.

In contrast to MethodView, this gives much higher flexibility.


Using MethodView class for methods, decorate them with @methodview(), which takes the following arguments:

  • methods=(): Iterable of HTTP methods to use with this method.
  • ifnset=None: Conditional matching. List of route parameter names that should not be set for this method to match.
  • ifset=None: Conditional matching. List of route parameter names that should be set for this method to match.

This allows to map HTTP methods to class methods, and in addition define when individual methods should match.

Quick example:

from flask.ext.jsontools import jsonapi, MethodView, methodview

class UserView(MethodView):
    # Canonical way to specify decorators for class-based views
    decorators = (jsonapi, )

    def list(self):
        """ List users """
        return db.query(User).all()

    def get(self, user_id):
        """ Load a user by id """
        return db.query(User).get(user_id)

userview = CrudView.as_view('user')
app.add_url_rule('/user/', view_func=userview)
app.add_url_rule('/user/<int:user_id>', view_func=userview)

Now, GET HTTP method is routed to two different methods depending on conditions. Keep defining more methods to get good routing :)

To simplify the last step of creating the view, there's a helper:

UserView.route_as_view(app, 'user', ('/user/', '/user/<int:user_id>'))


Since MethodView is mostly useful to expose APIs over collections of entities, there is a RESTful helper which automatically decorates some special methods with @methodview.

View method HTTP method URL
list() GET /
create() POST /
get() GET /<pk>
replace() PUT /<pk>
update() POST /<pk>
delete() DELETE /<pk>

By subclassing RestfulView and implementing some of these methods, you'll get a complete API endpoint with a single class.

It's also required to define the list of primary key fields by defining the primary_key property:

from flask.ext.jsontools import jsonapi, RestfulView

class User(RestfulView):
    decorators = (jsonapi, )
    primary_key = ('id',)

    #region Operation on the collection

    def list():
        return db.query(User).all()

    def create():
        return user


    #region Operation on entities

    def get(id):
        return db.query(User).get(id)

    def replace(id):, id)

    def update(id):

    def delete(id):


When a class like this is defined, its metaclass goes through the methods and decorates them with @methodview. This way, list() gets @methodview('GET', ifnset=('id',)), and get() gets @methodview('GET', ifset=('id',)).

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

flask_jsontools-0.1.7.tar.gz (14.3 kB view hashes)

Uploaded Source

Built Distribution

flask_jsontools-0.1.7-py2.py3-none-any.whl (12.7 kB view hashes)

Uploaded Python 2 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