Smarter data structures

pip install squema==0.0.1



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Type annotations help your IDE understand your code and warn you of potential errors as you type. Squema wields this information to provide automatic data conversion, allowing you to write simpler and cleaner code when interacting with databases and other external APIs that require a non-native data formats such as JSON.

Disclaimer: this module is a proof of concept. Updates may include breaking changes.


$ pip install squema

Basic usage

Declare your data structures as subclasses of Squema with annotated attributes.

from uuid import UUID
from enum import Enum
from squema import Squema
from datetime import date
from typing import NewType

Gender = Enum('Gender', ['male', 'female', 'other'])
Password = NewType('Password', str)

class Info(Squema):
    name: str
    gender: Gender
    married: bool
    birthday: date

class User(Squema):
    id: UUID
    password: Password
    info: Info
    credit: int = 0

user = User(
    info={'gender': 3, 'married': True, 'birthday': '1723-05-09'},


The script above is functional and will print the following two lines:

User(id=UUID('00112233-4455-6677-8899-aabbccddeeff'), password='pa5sw0rd', info=Info(gender=<Gender.other: 3>, married=True, birthday=datetime.date(1723, 5, 9)), credit=0)
{"id": "00112233-4455-6677-8899-aabbccddeeff", "password": "pa5sw0rd", "info": {"gender": 3, "married": true, "birthday": "1723-05-09"}, "credit": 0}

Here's what's going on:

  • The data structure User is defined and instantiated as user
  • Arguments are converted to their corresponding types:
    • id is converted to a UUID entity
    • name is not defined as a field of User and its value is silently ignored
    • password remains as a string, but type checkers will identify it as being of type Password
  • info is a nested squema with its own values loaded from a mapping
  • Info.name doesn't receive a value and therefore is not included in the output
  • credit is declared with a default value, so it is always included in the output

Squema values can be accessed as object attributes and dictionary keys.

assert user.id is user['id']

They also behave like dictionaries, but only fields defined at the class level and with annotations can be treated as dictionary keys. Squemas work like normal objects otherwise.

assert user.name is user['name']
user.age = 25
assert 'age' not in user
assert user.age == 25
assert user.get('age') is None

This is to allow squemas to be used as a type-safe alternative to dictionaries while at the same time keeping the versatility and convenience of normal objects.


Squemas can be configured for custom behaviour. To do so, simply assign squema.Config object initialized with the desired arguments as the Squema.__config__ attribute at the class level.

class Document(Squema):
    __config__ = Config(strict=True, mutable=True)
    pages: int
    public: bool


Default: False

Strict mode enforces the instantiation of squemas with all the non-default values. Missing and extra fields raise a ValueError.

Assigning extra attributes to the object is also forbidden.


Default: False

This option allows squema values to be changed after initialization. The behaviour of custom attributes is not affected.

user = User(password='pa5sw0rd')
user.password = 'pwd'
assert user.password == 'pwd'
del user['password']
assert 'password' not in user


You can configure your own encoders for data conversion on instantiation. The encoders argument of the squema configuration extends and overwrites the default encoding dictionary, mapping field types to functions.

In the example below, the field deadline is declared to be of type datetime. To enable the creation of Report objects by providing a custom value, such as a timestamp, an enconding function is defined in the configuration to convert these values to their corresponding types.

from datetime import datetime

class Report(Squema):
    __config__ = Config(encoders={datetime: datetime.from_timestamp})
    deadline: datetime

report = Report(deadline=1234567890)
assert report.deadline == datetime(2009, 2, 14, 0, 31, 30)

This feature could be used for data validation too. However, this module is intended to be as simple and lightweight as possible. Other libraries offer more versatility for this kind of purposes (see pydantic).


Decoders work similarly to encoders, but are meant to convert native values to valid JSON data structures.

from datetime import datetime

class Report(Squema):
    __config__ = Config(decoders={datetime: lambda d: d.strftime('%d.%m.%Y')})
    deadline: datetime

report = Report(deadline='2000-12-31')
assert str(report) == '{"deadline": "31.12.2000"}'