How to jsonify objects from sqlalchemy?

I'm using Flask, SQLAlchemy and javascript. I need to pass the results of my query to javascript in the json format, through AJAX, but I keep getting this error:

raise TypeError(repr(o) + " is not JSON serializable")
TypeError: <model.Cloud object at 0x7f72e40c5910> is not JSON serializable'

My code is as follows:

@app.route('/past/<user_id>')
def get_past_clouds(user_id):
    if user_id:
        clouds = model_session.query(model.User).filter_by(id=user_id).first().clouds
        if clouds != "":
            clouds_d = {}
            for idx, cloud in enumerate(clouds):
                clouds_d[idx] = cloud
            return jsonify(json_list=clouds_d)
    return None

Ignore my previous comment, that allowed the request to work but all the objects returned were undefined.

This is how I did it in the end:

clouds_d = dict( (cloud.name, [ photo.to_dict() for photo in cloud.photos ]) for cloud in clouds )
return jsonify(clouds_d)

Answers:

Answer

As you’ve discovered, SQLAlchemy models are not natively serializable to JSON.

The approach you adopted - to manually construct a dict from your model instance’s properties - gets the job done, but if you need to jsonify multiple models, deal with value conversions on serialization, or support deserialization (converting JSON back to a SQLAlchemy model instance) you’ll find yourself writing a lot of tedious code.

A better solution is to use a serialization/deserialization extension library for SQLAlchemy, such as either SQLAthanor or Marshmallow-SQLAlchemy (full disclosure: I am the author of SQLAthanor).

Using either of these libraries, you can basically serialize and deserialize SQLAlchemy models to other formats or deserialize them back into SQLAlchemy model instances.

In the case of SQLAthanor, you can basically get the job done with one method call:

json_result = model_instance.dump_to_json()

or (with some more configuration that gives you more fine-grained control):

json_result = model_instance.to_json()

You can also serialize to dict, or YAML, or CSV.

The reverse process is:

model_instance = ModelClass.new_from_json(json_result)

Hope this helps!

Answer

Like the error message says, you cannot call jsonify on a SQLAlchemy model object (I don't think you can pickle them either). Try:

clouds_d[idx] = dict((k, cloud.__dict__[k]) for k in cloud.__dict__ if k[0] != '_')

or better yet, be explicit:

clouds_d[idx] = {
    'id': cloud.id,
    'other_attrs': '...',
}
Answer

After some more fiddling around, I fixed it, here's how:

@app.route('/past/<user_id>')
def get_past_clouds(user_id):
    if user_id:
        clouds = model_session.query(model.User).filter_by(id=user_id).first().clouds
        if clouds != "":
            clouds_d = {}
            for idx, cloud in enumerate(clouds):
                clouds_d[idx] = [ photo.path + photo.filename for photo in cloud.photos ]
            print "clouds: ", clouds_d
            return json.dumps(clouds_d)
    return None

It looks like SQLAlchemy objects are not serializable, so I had to get out exactly what I wanted from the objects it was returning.

Answer

Based on TypeError: <model.Cloud object at 0x7f72e40c5910> is not JSON serializable' it seems in your clouds_d dictionary has a Cloud object nested inside. please like print clouds_d

Answer

Here is my solution written in python:

step 1: custom JSON.encoder

import json
import uuid
from pprint import pformat
from datetime import datetime
from collections import OrderedDict

class CustomJSONEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
    def default(self, obj):
        # cls = self.__class__
        if isinstance(obj, datetime):
            return obj.strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S.%f')
        elif isinstance(obj, uuid.UUID):
            return str(obj)
        elif hasattr(obj, '__html__'):
            return str(obj.__html__())
        elif isinstance(obj, OrderedDict):
            m = json.dumps(obj)
        elif hasattr(obj, 'to_dict'):
            return obj.to_dict()
        else:
            mp = pformat(obj, indent=2)
            print("JsonEncodeError", type(obj), mp)
            m = json.JSONEncoder.default(self, obj)
        return m

step 2: override flask_app.json_encoder

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)
app.json_encoder = CustomJSONEncoder

step 3: Custom A Helper Class for metaclass of sqlalchemy

class CoModel():
    """
    A `Helper Class` for `metaclass` of sqlalchemy
    usage 1 : flask_sqlalchemy

        from flask_sqlalchemy import SQLAlchemy
        db = SQLAlchemy(session_options=session_options)
        class TableName(db.Model, CoModel):
            pass


    usage 2: sqlalchemy

        from sqlalchemy.ext.declarative import declarative_base
        Base = declarative_base()
        class TableName(Base, CoModel):
            __tablename__ = 'table_name'
    """

    def to_dict(self):
        result = {}
        columns = self.columns()
        for col in columns:
            name = col.name
            value = getattr(self, name)
            result[name] = value
        return result

    @classmethod
    def columns(cls):
        tbl = getattr(cls, "__table__", None)
        if tbl is None:
            raise NameError('use sample: class TableName(db.Model, CoModel)')
        else:
            return tbl.columns

Finally, if you response with flask.jsonify, it will be auto encoded by CoModel.to_dict()

Of course, you can use json.dumps(sqlalchmey_object,cls=CustomJSONEncoder) as well.

Answer

Using marshmallow-sqlalchemy schemas, I'm generating an object and returning the serializable JSON object as a native method for the model. Here is an example for a class of Customer in SQLAlchemy model.

from models import db
import datetime
from marshmallow_sqlalchemy import ModelSchema

class Customer(db.Model):
    __tablename__ = 'customers'
    __table_args__ = {'schema': 'abc_schema'}
    id = db.Column(db.String(255), primary_key=True)
    created_at = db.Column(db.DateTime, default=datetime.datetime.utcnow)
    firstName = db.Column(db.String())
    lastName = db.Column(db.String())
    def __getitem__(self, item):
        return getattr(self, item)

    ## Making the sql alchemy object JSON serailizable
    def JSONSerializableObj(self):
        class BaseSchema(ModelSchema): 
            def on_bind_field(self, field_name, field_obj):
                field_obj.allow_none = True

        class ObjectSchema(BaseSchema): 
            class Meta:
                model = self

        object_schema = ObjectSchema()
        return object_schema.dump(self).data

This way, I'm just reusing this snippet for all models and using the JSONSerializableObj

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