The queryset-refactor branch

This branch was used to develop a major refactoring of the django.db.models.query.QuerySet class to fix a group of SQL problems and make SQL generation easier for database backends requiring customization.


The branch was created on 13 September, 2007, and merged into trunk on 26 April, 2008 (in [7477]).

New features

Along with, and as part of, all the bug fixes mentioned above there are a number of new features in the branch. A number of these features are purely internal details, but there are a few that add extra public functionality.

  1. Ordering querysets across related models has a new syntax that is the same as the way you specify relations in a filter: field1__field2__field3, etc. The new syntax is more natural and consistent, as well as helping solve a few bugs. See the order_by() documentation for more information and some examples.
  1. Model inheritance is now possible. Both abstract base classes and multi-table inheritance are possible. See the model-api documentation for details.
  1. The __iter__() method on querysets does not pull all the results into memory immediately. This reduces memory usage for large querysets where you don't end up accessing all the results. Queryset caching still occurs, though, so a single queryset object will only hit the database once. This change means that testing the boolean value of a queryset will only pull in the first few rows of the result, not all of them.
  2. Slicing a queryset from a particular value to the end of a queryset is possible.
  3. Querysets have a reverse() method that reverses whatever the current ordering is.
  4. The queryset values() method can retrieve fields that are related via a ForeignKey or OneToOneField relation.
  5. A new values_list() method has been added to querysets. This is similar to values() except that it returns a list of tuples, rather than a list of dictionaries.
  6. You can specify a list of related fields to traverse in a select_related() call. This provides a way to select only the related data you are interested in. Only single-valued relations can be selected in this way, however (not ManyToManyFields).
  7. Filtering a queryset by checking if a field attribute is None is equivalent to testing if the corresponding database column is NULL. So qs.filter(foo=None) is now identical to qs.filter(foo__isnull=True).
  8. An update() method has been added to querysets to allow multiple objects to have an attribute updated in a single SQL query.
  9. Q classes now fully support &, | and ~ to combine them in pairs as conjunctions or disjunctions or to negate the sense of a filter, respectively (& and | were previously supported, but returned a different type of class). Thus the QAnd, QOr and QNot classes are no longer required and have been deprecated. Using them raises a warning (although they still work as before).

Backwards incompatible changes

A few backwards incompatible changes are created by the changes in this branch. Most people won't be affected by many of these, and porting code is reasonably straightforward.

Most visible

  • The OneToOneField class has finally been updated, as the documentation has indicated would be happening for a long while. There are few externally visible changes, with one exception: a OneToOneField is no longer automatically the primary key for a model that includes it. It still accepts the primary_key attribute, however, so you should add primary_key=True to the declaration of any existing OneToOneField instances in your code to preserve backwards compatibility.
  • If you pass a bad field name into a filter or order_by(), Django now raises FieldError (from django.core.exceptions), rather than Python's built in TypeError. Also, the list of legal field names is now sorted alphabetically for easier searching. This should have no effect on most production code, however some test suites may need to be updated to accommodate the changed traceback output.
  • There is a slight difference between these two filter statements
    qs.objects.filter(f1, f2)
    This difference only applies when f1 and f2 are referencing the same multi-valued relationship (a ManyToManyField or reverse ForeignKey). The first version allows filtering against different items from the relationship (things that match f1 on one object in the related table as well as f2 on another object in the related table), whereas the second version's filters will be applied to the same item. See the database api documentation for details.
  • It is possible to use extra select fields -- those included via extra(select=...) -- for ordering the results. Previously, those fields could be specified to the order_by() method. Due to increased error checking, that is no longer practical. Instead, pass those extra columns to the order_by argument of the extra() method:
    qs.extra(select={'a': ...}).order_by('a')     # Old style
    qs.extra(select={'a': ...}, order_by=('a',))   # New style
    This only applies to ordering by items in an extra(select={...}) dictionary. Normal ordering is still done with the order_by() method to querysets, there have been no changes there. So this change will affect relatively few people.
  • A couple of changes to order_by():
    • Previously, if you passed no arguments to order_by(), it did nothing. Now, it clears the ordering (previously there was no way to remove any existing ordering). So if you are expecting the "do nothing" behaviour, make sure to check the arguments you are passing to order_by() and don't call it if you have no arguments.
    • order_by() will raise an error if you try to order by a related model and resolving that model's standard ordering leads to an infinite loop (ordering by a related model tacks the target model's default ordering onto the end). This commonly comes up when ordering by a ForeignKey to "self". The previous code wouldn't raise an error here, but the results weren't particularly intuitive. However, if you still want the old behaviour, specify the ordering constraint explicitly so that it ends in a non-related field. For the "reference to self" case, you could make this change:
      class Tag(models.Model):
         parent = models.ForeignKey('self', blank=True, null=True)
         class Meta:
            # ordering = ('parent',)        # Old code now causes an infinite loop.
            ordering = ('parent__id',)      # Last field is a non-relation. No problem.


  • The Options.get_order_sql() method is now gone in django.db.models.options. There appears to be no use for this method any longer.
  • Q objects have changed internally. This is only relevant if you have created custom Q-like objects. You would have created a get_sql() method that returned a data structure that was inserted into the query. In the new code, you create a add_to_query() method that accepts two arguments -- the django.db.models.sql.query.Query instance for the current query and a set of aliases used in the current filter() call. Your Q-like object can then add to the various attributes of this class (select, where, etc) to have whatever effect it likes on the result. Note that the add_to_query() method is called when the object is added to the Query object and more changes may be made before it is turned into SQL and executed against the database.
  • Still on extra(select=...)... if you want to substitute parameters into these extra selection columns, use the select_params argument to extra(). The params argument is only applied to the extra where conditions.
  • select_related(False) is no longer possible. Don't worry. You didn't know this existed, so you won't miss it. It was never part of the official API.
  • The internal method DatabaseOperations.limit_offset_sql() has been dropped (as of r7732 on trunk).

Things to Note

  • Model inheritance has not been integrated into the existing admin. It will eventually be implemented in the newforms-admin branch.
  • OneToOneField in the admin interface has a similar status.
Last modified 14 years ago Last modified on 10/29/09 11:56:02
Back to Top