A collection of simple reusable Django utility modules.


Keywords
example, documentation, tutorial
License
BSD-3-Clause
Install
pip install microdev==0.0.11

Documentation

microdev

A collection of reusable Django utility modules.

This is mostly for my own uses as I build more projects in Django. Whenever I create a bit of functionality that I'll probably need to re-use later, I'll add it here.

ChangeLoggerMixin

The microdev.models.ChangeLoggerMixin provides per-field change logging for any Django model.

The database can only keep track of a model instance's latest state, but there are plenty of use cases where it's important or useful to keep track of previous states. There are basic auditing uses but, more interestingly, tracking previous states opens up new avenues for data analysis.

For example, if you were running a dating site, you could average all users' popularity before and after changing their smoker status to "I quit".

Integration

Here's a simple Django model:

class MyModel(models.Model):
    favorite_color = models.CharField(max_length=128)
    favorite_number = models.IntegerField()

Next we define a trivial ChangeLog implementation class and add ChangeLoggerMixin to our model:

from microdev.models import ChangeLog
from microdev.models import ChangeLoggerMixin

class MyModelChangeLog(ChangeLog):
    pass

class MyModel(models.Model, ChangeLoggerMixin):
    favorite_color = models.CharField(max_length=128)
    favorite_number = models.IntegerField()

    # Overrides from ChangeLoggerMixin
    _change_logger_mixin__change_log_class = MyModelChangeLog

The _change_logger_mixin__change_log_class variable needs to point to a ChangeLog implementation class so that the mix-in will know where to write the log entries. You don't have to have a dedicated ChangeLog implementation class for each model that you're logging. You could have all models write to the same ChangeLog implementation class, but it seems cleaner to me for each model to have its own separate set of logs. The mix-in supports either approach.

Remember to run:

./manage.py syncdb

This will add the MyModelChangeLog table to your database.

Usage

Now in your client code you can activate ChangeLoggerMixin logging with two simple calls: track_changes() and log_changes():

def do_something(request):
    # Create an instance just to have some initial data...
    my_model = MyModel()
    my_model.favorite_color = 'blue'
    my_model.favorite_number = 3
    my_model.save()

    # Now activate change tracking
    my_model.track_changes()

    # Make changes
    my_model.favorite_color = 'purple'
    my_model.favorite_number = 9
    my_model.save()

    # Log the changes
    my_model.log_changes(request.user)

The design assumes a specific Django User is driving these changes and expects the User to be passed in.

Output

You'll see two new MyModelChangeLog entries:

2012-10-16 22:20:19+00:00 | User 1001 | MyModel 5 | favorite_color: blue -> purple
2012-10-16 22:20:19+00:00 | User 1001 | MyModel 5 | favorite_number: 3 -> 7

That's the __unicode__ output. The actual ChangeLog keeps all the data separated out to make it easy to run queries against it later. Here's the ChangeLog structure:

class ChangeLog(models.Model):
    VALUE_MAX_LENGTH = 1024

    date_created = CreationDateTimeField()
    user = models.ForeignKey(User)
    model = models.CharField(max_length=128)
    obj_id = models.IntegerField()
    field_name = models.CharField(max_length=128)
    original_value = models.CharField(max_length=VALUE_MAX_LENGTH)
    updated_value = models.CharField(max_length=VALUE_MAX_LENGTH)

And obviously the ChangeLog will only log the fields that have changed. Unchanged fields are ignored and won't appear in the log.

Customization

Let's say your model has a field that always changes but you don't want to track it. No prob, just override the ignore_list:

class MyModel(models.Model, ChangeLoggerMixin):
    favorite_color = models.CharField(max_length=128)
    favorite_number = models.IntegerField()
    date_updated = models.DateTimeField()

    # Overrides from ChangeLoggerMixin
    _change_logger_mixin__ignore_list = ['date_updated',]
    _change_logger_mixin__change_log_class = MyModelChangeLog

Now any changes to the date_updated field will not be logged.

Acknowledgments

The ChangeLoggerMixin was adapted from Armin's original suggestion at: http://stackoverflow.com/a/111364/1639020