Using Tastypie With Non-ORM Data Sources

Much of this documentation demonstrates the use of Tastypie with Django’s ORM. You might think that Tastypie depended on the ORM, when in fact, it was purpose-built to handle non-ORM data. This documentation should help you get started providing APIs using other data sources.

Virtually all of the code that makes Tastypie actually process requests & return data is within the Resource class. ModelResource is actually a light wrapper around Resource that provides ORM-specific access. The methods that ModelResource overrides are the same ones you’ll need to override when hooking up your data source.


When working with Resource, many things are handled for you. All the authentication/authorization/caching/serialization/throttling bits should work as normal and Tastypie can support all the REST-style methods. Schemas & discovery views all work the same as well.

What you don’t get out of the box are the fields you’re choosing to expose & the lowest level data access methods. If you want a full read-write API, there are nine methods you need to implement. They are:

  • detail_uri_kwargs
  • get_object_list
  • obj_get_list
  • obj_get
  • obj_create
  • obj_update
  • obj_delete_list
  • obj_delete
  • rollback

If read-only is all you’re exposing, you can cut that down to four methods to override.

Using Riak for MessageResource

As an example, we’ll take integrating with Riak (a Dynamo-like NoSQL store) since it has both a simple API and demonstrate what hooking up to a non-relational datastore looks like:

from tastypie import fields
from tastypie.authorization import Authorization
from tastypie.resources import Resource

# We need a generic object to shove data in/get data from.
# Riak generally just tosses around dictionaries, so we'll lightly
# wrap that.
class RiakObject(object):
    def __init__(self, initial=None):
        self.__dict__['_data'] = {}

        if hasattr(initial, 'items'):
            self.__dict__['_data'] = initial

    def __getattr__(self, name):
        return self._data.get(name, None)

    def __setattr__(self, name, value):
        self.__dict__['_data'][name] = value

    def to_dict(self):
        return self._data

class MessageResource(Resource):
    # Just like a Django ``Form`` or ``Model``, we're defining all the
    # fields we're going to handle with the API here.
    uuid = fields.CharField(attribute='uuid')
    user_uuid = fields.CharField(attribute='user_uuid')
    message = fields.CharField(attribute='message')
    created = fields.IntegerField(attribute='created')

    class Meta:
        resource_name = 'riak'
        object_class = RiakObject
        authorization = Authorization()

    # Specific to this resource, just to get the needed Riak bits.
    def _client(self):
        return riak.RiakClient()

    def _bucket(self):
        client = self._client()
        # Note that we're hard-coding the bucket to use. Fine for
        # example purposes, but you'll want to abstract this.
        return client.bucket('messages')

    # The following methods will need overriding regardless of your
    # data source.
    def detail_uri_kwargs(self, bundle_or_obj):
        kwargs = {}

        if isinstance(bundle_or_obj, Bundle):
            kwargs['pk'] = bundle_or_obj.obj.uuid
            kwargs['pk'] = bundle_or_obj.uuid

        return kwargs

    def get_object_list(self, request):
        query = self._client().add('messages')"function(v) { var data = JSON.parse(v.values[0].data); return [[v.key, data]]; }")
        results = []

        for result in
            new_obj = RiakObject(initial=result[1])
            new_obj.uuid = result[0]

        return results

    def obj_get_list(self, bundle, **kwargs):
        # Filtering disabled for brevity...
        return self.get_object_list(bundle.request)

    def obj_get(self, bundle, **kwargs):
        bucket = self._bucket()
        message = bucket.get(kwargs['pk'])
        return RiakObject(initial=message.get_data())

    def obj_create(self, bundle, **kwargs):
        bundle.obj = RiakObject(initial=kwargs)
        bundle = self.full_hydrate(bundle)
        bucket = self._bucket()
        new_message =, data=bundle.obj.to_dict())
        return bundle

    def obj_update(self, bundle, **kwargs):
        return self.obj_create(bundle, **kwargs)

    def obj_delete_list(self, bundle, **kwargs):
        bucket = self._bucket()

        for key in bucket.get_keys():
            obj = bucket.get(key)

    def obj_delete(self, bundle, **kwargs):
        bucket = self._bucket()
        obj = bucket.get(kwargs['pk'])

    def rollback(self, bundles):

This represents a full, working, Riak-powered API endpoint. All REST-style actions (GET/POST/PUT/DELETE) all work correctly. The only shortcut taken in this example was skipping filter-abilty, as adding in the MapReduce bits would have decreased readability.

All said and done, just nine methods needed overriding, eight of which were highly specific to how data access is done.