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Creating a database object


Python 3 Essential Training

with Bill Weinman

Video: Creating a database object

When you are writing an application that uses a database, sometimes it's a good idea to create a class that handles that particular schema. Let's take a look at an example of how you can do that in Python. We'll start by making a working copy of, and we will call it, and we'll go ahead and open up that working copy. And here we have a complete working example of a class. It's very simple. It's just a few lines of code, and how we access that class through this interface.
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  1. 5m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 32s
    2. Understanding prerequisites for Python
      2m 4s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 38s
  2. 33m 29s
    1. Getting started with "Hello World"
      4m 43s
    2. Selecting code with conditionals
      4m 45s
    3. Repeating code with a loop
      4m 13s
    4. Reusing code with a function
      2m 43s
    5. Creating sequences with generator functions
      2m 46s
    6. Reusing code and data with a class
      4m 39s
    7. Greater reusability with inheritance and polymorphism
      7m 17s
    8. Handling errors with exceptions
      2m 23s
  3. 22m 32s
    1. Installing Python 3 and Eclipse for Windows
      11m 24s
    2. Installing Python 3 and Eclipse for Mac
      11m 8s
  4. 28m 0s
    1. Creating a main script
      3m 27s
    2. Understanding whitespace in Python
      4m 8s
    3. Commenting code
      3m 28s
    4. Assigning values
      3m 37s
    5. Selecting code and values with conditionals
      4m 46s
    6. Creating and using functions
      3m 54s
    7. Creating and using objects
      4m 40s
  5. 31m 23s
    1. Understanding variables and objects in Python
      2m 46s
    2. Distinguishing mutable and immutable objects
      2m 41s
    3. Using numbers
      3m 34s
    4. Using strings
      6m 38s
    5. Aggregating values with lists and tuples
      4m 55s
    6. Creating associative lists with dictionaries
      4m 24s
    7. Finding the type and identity of a variable
      4m 45s
    8. Specifying logical values with True and False
      1m 40s
  6. 9m 42s
    1. Selecting code with if and else conditional statements
      2m 22s
    2. Setting multiple choices with elif
      2m 14s
    3. Understanding other strategies for multiple choices
      2m 38s
    4. Using the conditional expression
      2m 28s
  7. 11m 26s
    1. Creating loops with while
      1m 27s
    2. Iterating with for
      3m 54s
    3. Enumerating iterators
      3m 22s
    4. Controlling loop flow with break, continue, and else
      2m 43s
  8. 23m 28s
    1. Performing simple arithmetic
      2m 14s
    2. Operating on bitwise values
      3m 30s
    3. Comparing values
      3m 32s
    4. Operating on Boolean values
      2m 59s
    5. Operating on parts of a container with the slice operator
      6m 52s
    6. Understanding operator precedence
      4m 21s
  9. 11m 34s
    1. Using the re module
      1m 4s
    2. Searching with regular expressions
      3m 12s
    3. Replacing with regular expressions
      3m 29s
    4. Reusing regular expressions with re.compile
      3m 49s
  10. 9m 10s
    1. Learning how exceptions work
      1m 18s
    2. Handling exceptions
      4m 15s
    3. Raising exceptions
      3m 37s
  11. 23m 1s
    1. Defining functions
      6m 23s
    2. Using lists of arguments
      2m 26s
    3. Using named function arguments
      4m 32s
    4. Returning values from functions
      1m 55s
    5. Creating a sequence with a generator function
      7m 45s
  12. 47m 29s
    1. Understanding classes and objects
      5m 12s
    2. Using methods
      6m 12s
    3. Using object data
      10m 4s
    4. Understanding inheritance
      5m 11s
    5. Applying polymorphism to classes
      7m 13s
    6. Using generators
      9m 48s
    7. Using decorators
      3m 49s
  13. 18m 54s
    1. Understanding strings as objects
      3m 25s
    2. Working with common string methods
      5m 24s
    3. Formatting strings with str.format
      5m 31s
    4. Splitting and joining strings
      2m 49s
    5. Finding and using standard string methods
      1m 45s
  14. 25m 27s
    1. Creating sequences with tuples and lists
      4m 6s
    2. Operating on sequences with built-in methods
      5m 50s
    3. Organizing data with dictionaries
      4m 56s
    4. Operating on character data with bytes and byte arrays
      10m 35s
  15. 11m 46s
    1. Opening files
      2m 4s
    2. Reading and writing text files
      4m 33s
    3. Reading and writing binary files
      5m 9s
  16. 21m 27s
    1. Creating a database with SQLite 3
      6m 56s
    2. Creating, retrieving, updating, and deleting records
      7m 31s
    3. Creating a database object
      7m 0s
  17. 18m 27s
    1. Using standard library modules
      8m 0s
    2. Finding third-party modules
      5m 47s
    3. Creating a module
      4m 40s
  18. 23m 11s
    1. Dealing with syntax errors
      8m 19s
    2. Dealing with runtime errors
      4m 0s
    3. Dealing with logical errors
      4m 22s
    4. Using unit tests
      6m 30s
  19. 19m 56s
    1. Normalizing a database interface
      6m 39s
    2. Deconstructing a database application
      8m 9s
    3. Displaying random entries from a database
      5m 8s
  20. 29s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Python 3 Essential Training
6h 36m Beginner Jul 29, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Due to its power, simplicity, and complete object model, Python has become the scripting language of choice for many large organizations, including Google, Yahoo, and IBM. In Python 3 Essential Training, Bill Weinman demonstrates how to use Python 3 to create well-designed scripts and maintain existing projects. This course covers the basics of the language syntax and usage, as well as advanced features such as objects, generators, and exceptions. Example projects include a normalized database interface and a complete working CRUD application. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • A Python 3 quick start for experienced developers
  • Creating functions and objects
  • Using Python’s built-in objects and classes
  • Repeating code with loops and iterators
  • Understanding and using conditional expressions
  • Creating sequences with generators
  • Reusing code with objects and libraries
  • Handling errors with exceptions
Developer Web
Bill Weinman

Creating a database object

When you are writing an application that uses a database, sometimes it's a good idea to create a class that handles that particular schema. Let's take a look at an example of how you can do that in Python. We'll start by making a working copy of, and we will call it, and we'll go ahead and open up that working copy. And here we have a complete working example of a class. It's very simple. It's just a few lines of code, and how we access that class through this interface.

We'll go ahead and run it and you can see what it does. This is just an example of testing this particular class, so it creates a table test and it creates some rows and retrieves the rows. It tests these four functions of the database. So if we look at our interface, we create our object by passing in a file name and a table name, and that will actually initialize the database. And then we create the table using some sql. Then we insert some rows using dictionary objects.

Then we retrieve rows, just using keys, and it will retrieve dictionary objects. And retrieve test, there is our dictionary objects. We update a couple of rows, again, using dictionary objects, and there they are. These dictionary objects could instead be specific classes that you've created for your database application. And we delete rows with keys. And you'll notice that every time we do one of these operations, we're printing out all the rows in a database using the database handle itself as an iterator.

So this is a nice little convenient interface. First of all, the constructor takes these two arguments as named arguments using the kwargs pattern. And the first one is the filename and it assigns it to a filename property. And the second one is the table and it assigns it to a table property. And you'll notice that these do not have underscores, because these are meant to be accessible to the outside world. Down here, I use the property decorator to allow the filename to be assigned like that, and when it gets assigned it actually connects to the database and it sets up the row_factory.

And when you delete the file name, it actually closes the database. And so this allows you to use this kind of a pattern for assigning the filename, and you can even do this on the object level, using the object, and it will go ahead and initialize the database like that. Likewise, with the table, it sets the table name and that one is just really simply setting this _table variable, and if you delete it, it defaults to test, so that there is always a table name. Because it will kind of break the code here if there isn't a table name, if the table name is blank, and you'll see that as we go through.

So the insert function is very simple, and you'll notice it goes off the end of the screen here. So I'll just go ahead and reformat that. So the sql, insert into it, and you'll notice that we have to use a replacement in the string using format, because the question mark pattern doesn't work for the table name. That's true across the board in every database entry that I have ever used. If you want to use the positional parameters, you cannot do that for the table name, and so I allow the table name to be set using the format here and it uses the underscore table.

And then, the row is passed in as a dictionary object and here we make a tuple out of the two parameters that we are inserting, the values t1 and i1, and they are positional like that in order. So insert looks like that. Retrieve looks like this. It returns a dictionary object using the fetch 1 method of the database cursor and the sql is just a simple select * from the table name. We are replacing the table name using format and we are using positional arguments over here for the key, and again, this is single element tuple and so it has to have that comma. Because the comma is what creates the tuple, not the parenthesis.

Update, it takes a row as a dictionary object and it passes the menu using that tuple, and the same pattern here. We're replacing the table name using the string format method, and delete uses a key and there is the single element tuple there, and all of these methods that change the database, they all have this db.commit. There is a display rows method that we are not actually using, which does what we were doing in our other examples. It simply prints them out using a print function.

But here is how we are looking at the data in this example. We are using this iter method. That's a special method in Python. If you put this in your class, it allows your object to be used as an iterator. So it has two underscores __iter__ for its name, and other than that, it works just like any method. And it's a generator because it uses yield, and this allows it to operate as an iterator. So it simply yields a dictionary of the row, and that allows us to call it like this, for row in db:print(row), and we get these results.

So we'll go ahead and we'll save this and we'll run it again, and we see there we have our results. Finally, it's worth noting that because of this pattern down here at the bottom, if __name__="__main__": main(), this entire file will work just fine as a module in Python. You could simply say import sqlite3-class-working and you would have access to this class and be able to use this in another file.

And this main function down here will be completely ignored, because when you import it that way, this is no longer true and so main will not be called. So it's a useful pattern to be able to write a module like this and to have a class that you are going to use throughout a project or even to distribute it to the world. And to test it using a main function that is really just there for testing purposes. So this is a useful pattern and it's one that you'll probably use.

Here we have a custom class for working with a specific database, and a lot of different techniques that you can use in building a class like that for yourself. It does the major four functions and it does a couple of other things. The object itself is useable as an iterator, because we included an iterator method. It uses properties for setting the filename that make it easy to change files if you want to. So here we have an example of how you can create a custom class for your own database schema, for your own project, using Python's object-oriented features to make your programming task a lot easier.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Python 3 Essential Training .

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Q: The installation process for the PyDev Eclipse plug-in doesn’t work as described in the videos. What should I do?
A: The version of Eclipse used in the recording of Python 3 Essential Training was Eclipse 3.5.2 (Galileo SR2) and the version of PyDev was 1.5.7. Soon after recording, the Eclipse project was updated to version 3.6, called Helios. As of this writing, the current version of Eclipse is 3.6.1 (Helios SR1).
Around the same time as these updates were being released, the PyDev project was updated as well. As of this writing, the current version of PyDev is 1.6.2. If you are using these most recent versions, the procedure for installing Eclipse itself has not changed, but the process documented in the videos for installing PyDev may not work.

We will be releasing new versions of the videos soon, but the author has posted a document describing the new installation procedure at:
Q: How do you install the pydev-interpreter in Eclipse Indigo on Mac OS X Lion? It's significantly different than what's shown in the video "Installing Python 3 and Eclipse for Mac."
A: Since this course was publishing, there have been upgrades to Mac OS X and Eclipse. In this scenario, after installing Python and Eclipse and the Pydev interpreter, there is a different directory to go to when modifying the preferences. As instructed in the movie (at around 6:40) restart Eclipse and then go to Eclipse > Preferences and drill down to Pydev > Interpreter - Python in the sidebar. Click New and in the Select interpreter dialog that opens, click Browse.

The Open dialog box will open, but does not appear to display your hard drive. You must press and hold the Command+Shift+Period keys. This will display all hidden files on your system. Navigate to the new path ~/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/versions/3.2/bin/python 3.2 and click Open.

You should be able to proceed normally from there.
Q: When I try to install PyDev, it's not showing up in the Available Software window.
A:  This can happen if the site is down.
    You can manually download PyDev from the web site, or from my site here:

    Installation is simple. I've included instructions on my web site above.
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