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Project Description

A distributed, versioned data store for Python

python-gitmodel is a framework for persisting objects using Git for versioning and remote syncing.


According to Git’s README, Git is a “stupid content tracker”. That means you aren’t limited to storing source code in git. The goal of this project is to provide an object-level interface to use git as a schema-less data store, as well as tools that take advantage of git’s powerful versioning capabilities.

python-gitmodel allows you to model your data using python, and provides an easy-to-use interface for storing that data as git objects.

python-gitmodel is based on libgit2, a pure C implementation of the Git core methods. This means that instead of calling git commands via shell, we get to use git at native speed.

What’s so great about it?

  • Schema-less data store
  • Never lose data. History is kept forever and can be restored using git tools.
  • Branch and merge your production data
    • python-gitmodel can work with different branches
    • branch or tag snapshots of your data
    • experiment on production data using branches, for example, to test a migration
  • Ideal for content-driven applications

Example usage

Below we’ll cover a use-case for a basic flat-page CMS.

Basic model creation:

from gitmodel.workspace import Workspace
from gitmodel import fields

ws = Workspace('path/to/my-repo/.git')

class Page(ws.GitModel):
    slug = fields.SlugField()
    title = fields.CharField()
    content = fields.CharField()
    published = fields.BooleanField(default=True)

The Workspace can be thought of as your git working directory. It also acts as the “porcelain” layer to pygit2’s “plumbing”. In contrast to a working directory, the Workspace class does not make use of the repository’s INDEX and HEAD files, and instead keeps track of these in memory.

Saving objects:

page = Page(slug='example-page', title='Example Page')
page.content = '<h2>Here is an Example</h2><p>Lorem Ipsum</p>'

# abc99c394ab546dd9d6e3381f9c0fb4b

By default, objects get an auto-ID field which saves as a python UUID hex (don’t confuse these with git hashes). You can easily customize which field in your model acts as the ID field, for example:

class Page(ws.GitModel):
    slug = fields.SlugField(id=True)

# OR

class Page(ws.GitModel):
    slug = fields.SlugField()

    class Meta:
        id_field = 'slug'

Objects are not committed to the repository by default. They are, however, written into the object database as trees and blobs. The Workspace.index object is a pygit2.Tree that holds the uncommitted data. It’s analagous to Git’s index, except that the pointer is stored in memory.

Creating commits is simple:

oid =, message='Added an example page')
commit = ws.repo[oid] # a pygit2.Commit object

You can access previous commits using pygit2, and even view diffs between two versions of an object.

# walking commits
for commit in ws.walk():
    print("{}: {}".format(commit.hex, commit.message))

# get a diff between two commits
head_commit = ws.branch.commit
prev_commit_oid = head_commit.parents[0]

Objects can be easily retrieved by their id:

page = Page.get('example-page')

Caveat Emptor

Git doesn’t perform very well on its own. If you need your git-backed data to perform well in a production environment, you need to get it a “wingman”. Since python-gitmodel can be used in a variety of ways, it’s up to you to decide the best way to optimize it.


This project is under heavy development, and the API will likely change drastically before a 1.0 release. Currently only basic model creation and saving instances will work.


  • Caching?
  • Indexing?
  • Query API?
  • Full documentation

python-gitmodel was inspired by Rick Olson’s talk, “Git, the Stupid NoSQL Database” and Paul Downman’s GitModel for ruby.

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