Eloquent 0.3 is now out. This is the first official release of the ORM.

What is Eloquent

The Eloquent ORM provides a simple and beautiful ActiveRecord implementation for Python.

It is inspired by the database part of the Laravel framework but largely modified to be more pythonic.

The full documentation is available here:


I started Eloquent because of a personal need for simplicity when defining models and accessing databases, which is one of the things that i find quite appealing in a framework like Ruby On Rails.

So I wanted Eloquent to follow the ActiveRecord pattern which provides less configuration and verbosity compared to the data mapper pattern which pretty much all of the Python ORMs follow.

I also wanted it to be really simple to read and write, with useful features out of the box (like timestampable models, soft deletes, protection against mass assigment, model events). Some of these features are not ready yet.


You can install Eloquent in 2 different ways:

  • The easier and more straightforward is to use pip
pip install eloquent
  • Install from source using the official repository (

The different dbapi packages are not part of the package dependencies, so you must install them in order to connect to corresponding databases:

  • Postgres: pyscopg2
  • MySQL: PyMySQL or MySQL-python
  • Sqlite: The sqlite3 module is bundled with Python by default

Basic Usage


All you need to get you started is the configuration describing your database connections and passing it to a DatabaseManager instance.

from eloquent import DatabaseManager, Model

config = {
    'mysql': {
        'driver': 'mysql',
        'host': 'localhost',
        'database': 'database',
        'username': 'root',
        'password': '',
        'prefix': ''

db = DatabaseManager(config)

Defining a model

class User(Model):

Note that we did not tell the ORM which table to use for the User model. The plural "snake case" name of the class name will be used as the table name unless another name is explicitly specified. In this case, the ORM will assume the User model stores records in the users table. You can specify a custom table by defining a __table__ property on your model:

class User(Model):

    __table__ = 'my_users'

The ORM will also assume that each table has a primary key column named ``id``. You can define a __primary_key__ property to override this convention. Likewise, you can define a __connection__ property to override the name of the database connection that should be used when using the model.

Once a model is defined, you are ready to start retrieving and creating records in your table. Note that you will need to place updated_at and created_at columns on your table by default. If you do not wish to have these columns automatically maintained, set the __timestamps__ property on your model to False.

Retrieving all models

users = User.all()

Retrieving a record by primary key

user = User.find(1)

Querying using models

users = User.where('votes', '>', 100).take(10).get()

for user in users:


You can also use the query builder aggregate functions:

count = User.where('votes', '>', 100).count()

If you feel limited by the builder's fluent interface, you can use the where_raw method:

users = User.where_raw('age > ? and votes = 100', [25]).get()

Chunking Results

If you need to process a lot of records, you can use the chunk method to avoid consuming a lot of RAM:

for users in User.chunk(100):
    for user in users:
        # ...

Specifying the query connection

You can specify which database connection to use when querying a model by using the on method:

user = User.on('connection-name').find(1)

If you are using read / write connections, you can force the query to use the "write" connection with the following method:

user = User.on_write_connection().find(1)

Mass assignment

When creating a new model, you pass attributes to the model constructor. These attributes are then assigned to the model via mass-assignment. Though convenient, this can be a serious security concern when passing user input into a model, since the user is then free to modify any and all of the model's attributes. For this reason, all models protect against mass-assignment by default.

To get started, set the __fillable__ or __guarded__ properties on your model.

Defining fillable attributes on a model

The __fillable__ property specifies which attributes can be mass-assigned.

class User(Model):

    __fillable__ = ['first_name', 'last_name', 'email']

Defining guarded attributes on a model

The __guarded__ is the inverse and acts as "blacklist".

class User(Model):

    __guarded__ = ['id', 'password']

You can also block all attributes from mass-assignment:

__guarded__ = ['*']

Insert, update and delete

Saving a new model

To create a new record in the database, simply create a new model instance and call the save method.

user = User() = 'John'

You can also use the create method to save a model in a single line, but you will need to specify either the __fillable__ or __guarded__ property on the model since all models are protected against mass-assigment by default.

After saving or creating a new model with auto-incrementing IDs, you can retrieve the ID by accessing the object's id attribute:

inserted_id =

Using the create method

# Create a new user in the database
user = User.create(name='John')

# Retrieve the user by attributes, or create it if it does not exist
user = User.first_or_create(name='John')

# Retrieve the user by attributes, or instantiate it if it does not exist
user = User.first_or_new(name='John')

Updating a retrieved model

user = User.find(1) = 'Foo'

You can also run updates as queries against a set of models:

affected_rows = User.where('votes', '>', 100).update(status=2)

Deleting an existing model

To delete a model, simply call the delete model:

user = User.find(1)


Deleting an existing model by key


User.destroy(1, 2, 3)

You can also run a delete query on a set of models:

affected_rows = User.where('votes', '>' 100).delete()

Updating only the model's timestamps

If you want to only update the timestamps on a model, you can use the touch method:



By default, the ORM will maintain the created_at and updated_at columns on your database table automatically. Simply add these timestamp columns to your table. If you do not wish for the ORM to maintain these columns, just add the __timestamps__ property:

class User(Model):

    __timestamps__ = False

Converting to dictionaries / JSON

Converting a model to a dictionary

When building JSON APIs, you may often need to convert your models and relationships to dictionaries or JSON. So, Eloquent includes methods for doing so. To convert a model and its loaded relationship to a dictionary, you may use the to_dict method:

user = User.with_('roles').first()

return user.to_dict()

Note that entire collections of models can also be converted to dictionaries:

return User.all().to_dict()

Converting a model to JSON

To convert a model to JSON, you can use the to_json method:

return User.find(1).to_json()

There is a lot more you can do with Eloquent, just give a look at the documentation to see all available features.

And if you are interested by how it all works, you can just check out the Github Repository, and feel free to contribute.

And, finally, here are some features targeted for the 0.4 version:

  • A schema builder to create and modify tables:
from eloquent import SchemaBuilder

schema = SchemaBuilder()

with schema.create('users') as table:
  • Support for soft delete and other mixins:
class User(Model, SoftDeletesMixin):

You can check the advancement on the Github project

Sébastien Eustace

Sébastien Eustace

Born & raised in France, and currently living in the beautiful city of Quito, Ecuador, I'm a software engineer, proud pythonista (but knowledgeable in other languages and technologies as well) but overall an open source lover.

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