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003: Make entity_models optional arguments




Some applications need to do operations on all or a subset of entity types in the repository, for example for the get, search, all, first or last.

Right now the entity_model is a mandatory argument for these methods, that means that the code calling the repository needs to be aware of all the entity models inside the repository and call the methods for each of them.


To solve it, we should change the entity_model an argument to a more flexible type Union[Type[Entity], List[Type[Entity]], None]. That change carries some side effects:

  • We need to add logic at repository level to process one, a subset or all the entity types.
  • Some repositories (tinydb and pypika) used the entity_model to build the entity, if it's not specified, we need to build the logic that lets them build the entities from their data.
  • The calls to the methods without specifying the entity_model can have a worse performance.

Build the Entities from their data

To build the entities from the data we need those methods to be able to link that data to a model type, we can either:

  • Delegate that functionality to the application using the repository.
  • Configure the repositories in a way that we can deduce the model from the data stored in itself.

The first solution means that each application will need to implement and maintain that code, which will lead to more maintenance and duplicated code, but a simpler repository configuration.

The second solution will mean that the code for the methods is more complex and/or the repository initialization needs more arguments.

We already store the key information that tells which model does the data belong to. In the tinydb repo it's stored as an attribute _model_type, and in the pypika repo is stored as tables names. The fake repo doesn't have this problem.

If we initialize the repository with a models optional argument, with a list of the entity models, we can create an internal models attribute that holds a dictionary with the key equal to the value stored in the repos, and the value the model type. If the user doesn't provide this argument at repo initialization, it will be supposed that it will give the entity_model on each of the repo methods that require it, otherwise an error will be shown.

Performance loss

The entity_model acted as a filter on the amount of data to perform the operations, if the user doesn't specify it, the repo needs to work with more data and therefore be slower. Maybe some of the methods like all, first, or last will work faster on some repositories based on how they or their libraries work, but the get and search will definitely go slower.

In the case of get we can mitigate it with an optional callable argument that can run regexps on the id to select the subset of entity models that contain id's of that type.


Change the signatures of the get, search, all, first and last methods to accept one, many or no Entity subclasses. If none is given, it will assume that the repository was initialized with the models argument, where the user gives the repo the model of the data it holds.

For the sake of cleanness, we're renaming entity_models for models in the function arguments.


The change makes the library more usable while it retains the performance of the previous code base.

Two breaking changes were introduced though:

  • The argument entity_model is no longer the first one for the methods get and search, but the second.
  • The argument database_url is no longer the first argument in the load_repository function, but the second, being the first the models.

Last update: 2021-05-02