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One-to-many relationships with SQLAlchemy

from db import db

class ItemModel(db.Model):
__tablename__ = "items"

id = db.Column(db.Integer, primary_key=True)
name = db.Column(db.String(80), unique=True, nullable=False)
price = db.Column(db.Float(precision=2), unique=False, nullable=False)

store_id = db.Column(
db.Integer, db.ForeignKey(""), unique=False, nullable=False
store = db.relationship("StoreModel", back_populates="items")
from db import db

class StoreModel(db.Model):
__tablename__ = "stores"

id = db.Column(db.Integer, primary_key=True)
name = db.Column(db.String(80), unique=True, nullable=False)

items = db.relationship("ItemModel", back_populates="store", lazy="dynamic")

To make it easier to import and use the models, I'll also create a models/ file that imports the models from their files:

from import StoreModel
from models.item import ItemModel

What is lazy="dynamic"?

Without lazy="dynamic", the items attribute of the StoreModel resolves to a list of ItemModel objects.

With lazy="dynamic", the items attribute resolves to a SQLAlchemy query, which has some benefits and drawbacks:

  • A key benefit is load speed. Because SQLAlchemy doesn't have to go to the items table and load items, stores will load faster.
  • A key drawback is accessing the items of a store isn't as easy.
    • However this has another hidden benefit, which is that when you do load items, you can do things like filtering before loading.

Here's how you could get all the items, giving you a list of ItemModel objects. Assume store is a StoreModel instance:


And here's how you would do some filtering:


Updating our marshmallow schemas

Now that the models have these relationships, we can modify our marshmallow schemas so they will return some or all of the information about the related models.

We do this with the Nested marshmallow field.


Something to be careful about is having schema A which has a nested schema B, which has a nested schema A.

This will lead to an infinite nesting, which is obviously never what you want!

To avoid infinite nesting, we are renaming our schemas which don't use nested fields to Plain, such as PlainItemSchema and PlainStoreSchema.

Then the schemas that do use nesting can be called ItemSchema and StoreSchema, and they inherit from the plain schemas. This reduces duplication and prevents infinite nesting.
from marshmallow import Schema, fields

class PlainItemSchema(Schema):
id = fields.Int(dump_only=True)
name = fields.Str(required=True)
price = fields.Float(required=True)

class PlainStoreSchema(Schema):
id = fields.Int(dump_only=True)
name = fields.Str()

class ItemSchema(PlainItemSchema):
store_id = fields.Int(required=True, load_only=True)
store = fields.Nested(PlainStoreSchema(), dump_only=True)

class ItemUpdateSchema(Schema):
name = fields.Str()
price = fields.Float()

class StoreSchema(PlainStoreSchema):
items = fields.List(fields.Nested(PlainItemSchema()), dump_only=True)