Mastering the Django ORM

Sunday 1:30 pm, Balboa I & II

About This Tutorial

This tutorial will cover the Django ORM in depth; it’s designed to be accessible to anyone who’s worked through an introductory Django tutorial, but intermediate/slightly more experienced users of Django will probably get the most out of it.

This is a lecture-format tutorial, and will cover topics including:

  • Elements of good database design: normalization and common patterns
  • Best practices for model classes: how much business logic is too much, and how big should a model class get?
  • “Thinking in ORM”: how to approach situations where you know the SQL you’d like to execute, but aren’t sure how to have the ORM do it
  • When and how best to use custom managers and QuerySets
  • Model inheritance and its pitfalls
  • Implementing custom model field types and validation, and their advantages/disadvantages
  • Working with users: Django’s default User model, custom user models, and implementing different types of users
  • Performing complex queries, and how to take advantage of annotation and aggregation features
  • The SQL expression API: wrapping arbitrary SQL and database features with ORM constructs for easier queries
  • Migrations: understanding exactly what’s tracked, how the migration operations work, and when and how to use them manually
  • Explanations of how the various layers and sub-components of the ORM work, and work together, to support each feature or API being discussed

Attendees will come away with a comprehensive knowledge of the Django ORM, guidelines for when and how to use its advanced features and customization points, and a deep understanding of how all its various parts fit together.


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James Bennett

James is a philosopher turned web geek who fell in love with Django very early on. He picked up a commit bit while working at the Lawrence Journal-World and was Django’s release manager for several years. Now he serves on Django’s security team and the board of directors of the Django Software Foundation, and occasionally rants about interviewing and other issues in the culture of the tech community. He thinks you should be using Python 3.