Type annotations for Django models

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I’m working on a Django project. Since this is a new project, I want to have it fully annotated with python 3.6+ type annotations. I’m trying to annotate models, but I struggle to find a good method for that.

Let’s take the IntegerField as an example. I see two choices for annotating it:

# number 1
int_field: int = models.IntegerField()

# number 2
int_field: models.IntegerField = models.IntegerField()

Number 1 fails in mypy:

Incompatible types in assignment (expression has type "IntegerField[<nothing>, <nothing>]", variable has type "int")

Number 2 is OK for mypy, but IDE’s as PyCharm are not able to resolve it and are often complaining about wrong types used.

Are there any best practices to correctly annotate the models, which will satisfy mypy and IDE’s?

Django models (and other components) are hard to annotate because there is a lot of magic behind them, good news is that a group of cool developers have already done the hard work for us.

django-stubs provides a set of stubs and mypy plugins which provide static types and type inference for Django.

For instance, having the following model:

from django.contrib.auth import get_user_model
from django.db import models

User = get_user_model()

class Post(models.Model):
    title = models.CharField(max_length=255)
    pubdate = models.DateTimeField()
    author = models.ForeignKey(User, on_delete=models.CASCADE)

mypy would complain saying:

demo$ mypy .
demo/models.py:9: error: Need type annotation for 'title'
demo/models.py:10: error: Need type annotation for 'pubdate'
demo/models.py:11: error: Need type annotation for 'author'
Found 3 errors in 1 file (checked 5 source files)

To fix it, it’s enough to install the package

pip install django-stubs

and create a setup.cfg file with the following:

[mypy]
plugins =
    mypy_django_plugin.main

strict_optional = True

[mypy.plugins.django-stubs]
django_settings_module = demo.settings

(Don’t forget to update django_settings_module according to your settings module)

Once this is done, mypy will be able to infer and check annotations for Django models (and other components).

demo$ mypy .
Success: no issues found in 5 source files

Here is an example of the usage in a small view:

from django.db.models.query import QuerySet
from django.http import HttpRequest, HttpResponse
from django.shortcuts import render

from demo.models import Post

def _get_posts() -> 'QuerySet[Post]':
    return Post.objects.all()

def posts(request: HttpRequest, template: str="posts.html") -> HttpResponse:
    return render(request, template, {'posts': _get_posts()})

Once again, mypy is happy with the provided annotations:

demo$ mypy .
Success: no issues found in 7 source files

On the same note, a package for Django Rest Framework is also available: djangorestframework-stubs.


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