Table Of Contents

Using Your Model Outside of TurboGears Applications

Sometimes you want to use classes in your data model outside your TurboGears application.

For example, you might want to write a script to:

  • Initialize your database
  • Perform scheduled maintenance tasks
  • Insert or update data based on external events, like an email responder.

If you just try to import your, you may get a traceback message that ends with this error:

KeyError: 'No database configuration found!'

The problem is that you haven’t told SQLObject where to find your database; this information is in your application’s configuration files.

Getting the Database Configuration

To use your database from outside the application, create a script that looks like this:

import turbogears

# import your model and have full access to your model
# If you make any changes, you need to manually commit them before exiting.

from myapp import model

s =

model.hub.begin() # some other transaction
r = model.SomeClass.get(1)
r.some_attribute = 5
model.hub.rollback() # I don't like the change

This script assumes that the script will be run from your top-level project directory and will hook up SQLObject to your database configuration from dev.cfg. If you want to use the database configuration for the production environment instead, change the configfile parameter in the call to update_config to prod.cfg.

The value for modulename should be of the for <packagename>.config, i.e. if your application’s Python package was called mypackage the value should be mypackage.config.

If you want the script to be able to run from any directory, you will have to provide a full path to your configuration file and set your PYTHONPATH to include your project’s top-level directory so that the model import succeeds. You can also do this inside you script, just before importing your model:

import sys
sys.path.insert(1, '/path/to/YourProject/yourpackage')

Using SQLAlchemy

To get this working with SQLAlchemy, you need to add the line:


SQLite Caveats

Avoiding Running Into Write-locks

Trying to update/insert records to a SQLite database from within a scheduled job doesn’t work when the application writes to the database itself. A scheduled task runs on it’s own thread, and SQLite doesn’t allow other threads but the main one to change the database.

The workaround is to open a new database connection in the scheduler thread like this:

from turbogears.database import PackageHub

hub = PackageHub("myapp") con = connectionForURI(hub.uri)
MyClass._connection = con

Long-running Tasks

Note that if you’re using SQLite for your database, a long-running script outside your application can lock the database for long periods of time. To avoid this, isolate your database access from your expensive operations:

# Script to periodically do expensive things.

import turbogears
from myapp.model import *

def read_from_db():
    calculations =
    return [(, calc.what_to_do) for calc in calculations]

def write_to_db(results):
    for calc_id, result in results:
        calc = ScheduledCalculation.get(calc_id)
        calc.result = result

# Get the list of what to do from the database.  The result list we get
# should not include any SQLObject-derived objects.
calculations = read_from_db()

# Now we can do the expensive calculations, since there won't be any
# live objects locking the database.
results = []
for calc_id, what_to_do in calculations:
  results.append((calc_id, do_expensive_calc(what_to_do))

# Now write them all to the database