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Django Custom Managers and Querysets

Defining a basic manager using Querysets and `as_manager` method

Django manger is an interface through which the django model queries the database. The objects field used in most django queries is actually the default manager created for us by django (this is only created if we don't define custom managers).

Why would we define a custom manager/queryset?

To avoid writing common queries all over our codebase and instead referring them using an easier to remember abstraction. Example: Decide for yourself which version is more readable :

  • Only get all the active users : User.objects.filter(is_active=True) vs
  • Get all active dermatologists on our plaform : User.objects.filter(is_active=True).filter(is_doctor=True).filter(specialization='Dermatology') vs User.manager.doctors.with_specialization('Dermatology')

Another benefit is that if tomorrow we decide all psychologists are also dermatologists, we can easily modify the query in our Manager and be done with it.

Below is an example of creating a custom Manager defined by creating a QuerySet and using the as_manager method.

from django.db.models.query import QuerySet

class ProfileQuerySet(QuerySet):
    def doctors(self):
        return self.filter(user_type="Doctor", user__is_active=True)

    def with_specializations(self, specialization):
        return self.filter(specializations=specialization)

    def users(self):
        return self.filter(user_type="Customer", user__is_active=True)

ProfileManager = ProfileQuerySet.as_manager

We will add it to our model as below:

class Profile(models.Model):
    manager = ProfileManager()

NOTE : Once we've defined a manager on our model, objects won't be defined for the model anymore.

Model with ForeignKey

We will work with these models :

from django.db import models

class Book(models.Model):
 name= models.CharField(max_length=50)
 author = models.ForeignKey(Author)

class Author(models.Model):
 name = models.CharField(max_length=50)

Suppose we often (always) access

In view

We could use the following, each time,

books = Book.objects.select_related('author').all()

But this is not DRY.

Custom Manager

class BookManager(models.Manager):

    def get_queryset(self):
        qs = super().get_queryset()
        return qs.select_related('author')

class Book(models.Model):
    objects = BookManager()

Note : the call to super must be changed for python 2.x

Now all we have to use in views is

books = Book.objects.all()

and no additional queries will be made in template/view.

Define custom managers

Very often it happens to deal with models which have something like a published field. Such kind of fields are almost always used when retrieving objects, so that you will find yourself to write something like:

my_news = News.objects.filter(published=True)

too many times. You can use custom managers to deal with these situations, so that you can then write something like:

my_news = News.objects.published()

which is nicer and more easy to read by other developers too.

Create a file in your app directory, and define a new models.Manager class:

from django.db import models

class NewsManager(models.Manager):

    def published(self, **kwargs):
        # the method accepts **kwargs, so that it is possible to filter
        # published news
        # i.e: News.objects.published(
        return self.filter(published=True, **kwargs)

use this class by redefining the objects property in the model class:

from django.db import models

# import the created manager
from .managers import NewsManager

class News(models.Model):
    """ News model
    insertion_date = models.DateTimeField('insertion date', auto_now_add=True)
    title = models.CharField('title', max_length=255)
    # some other fields here
    published = models.BooleanField('published')

    # assign the manager class to the objects property
    objects = NewsManager()

Now you can get your published news simply this way:

my_news = News.objects.published()

and you can also perform more filtering:

my_news = News.objects.published(title__icontains='meow')

Got any Django Question?