A model is a python class representing a CQL table. Models derive from Model, and define basic table properties and columns for a table.

Columns in your models map to columns in your CQL table. You define CQL columns by defining column attributes on your model classes. For a model to be valid it needs at least one primary key column and one non-primary key column. Just as in CQL, the order you define your columns in is important, and is the same order they are defined in on a model’s corresponding table.

Some basic examples defining models are shown below. Consult the Model API docs and Column API docs for complete details.

Example Definitions

This example defines a Person table, with the columns first_name and last_name

from cassandra.cqlengine import columns
from cassandra.cqlengine.models import Model

 class Person(Model):
     id = columns.UUID(primary_key=True)
     first_name  = columns.Text()
     last_name = columns.Text()

The Person model would create this CQL table:

CREATE TABLE cqlengine.person (
    id uuid,
    first_name text,
    last_name text,
    PRIMARY KEY (id)

Here’s an example of a comment table created with clustering keys, in descending order:

from cassandra.cqlengine import columns
from cassandra.cqlengine.models import Model

class Comment(Model):
    photo_id = columns.UUID(primary_key=True)
    comment_id = columns.TimeUUID(primary_key=True, clustering_order="DESC")
    comment = columns.Text()

The Comment model’s create table would look like the following:

CREATE TABLE comment (
  photo_id uuid,
  comment_id timeuuid,
  comment text,
  PRIMARY KEY (photo_id, comment_id)

To sync the models to the database, you may do the following*:

from import sync_table

*Note: synchronizing models causes schema changes, and should be done with caution. Please see the discussion in - Schema management for cqlengine for considerations.

For examples on manipulating data and creating queries, see Making Queries

Manipulating model instances as dictionaries

Model instances can be accessed like dictionaries.

class Person(Model):
    first_name  = columns.Text()
    last_name = columns.Text()

kevin = Person.create(first_name="Kevin", last_name="Deldycke")
dict(kevin)  # returns {'first_name': 'Kevin', 'last_name': 'Deldycke'}
kevin['first_name']  # returns 'Kevin'
kevin.keys()  # returns ['first_name', 'last_name']
kevin.values()  # returns ['Kevin', 'Deldycke']
kevin.items()  # returns [('first_name', 'Kevin'), ('last_name', 'Deldycke')]

kevin['first_name'] = 'KEVIN5000'  # changes the models first name

Extending Model Validation

Each time you save a model instance in cqlengine, the data in the model is validated against the schema you’ve defined for your model. Most of the validation is fairly straightforward, it basically checks that you’re not trying to do something like save text into an integer column, and it enforces the required flag set on column definitions. It also performs any transformations needed to save the data properly.

However, there are often additional constraints or transformations you want to impose on your data, beyond simply making sure that Cassandra won’t complain when you try to insert it. To define additional validation on a model, extend the model’s validation method:

class Member(Model):
    person_id = UUID(primary_key=True)
    name = Text(required=True)

    def validate(self):
        super(Member, self).validate()
        if == 'jon':
            raise ValidationError('no jon\'s allowed')

Note: while not required, the convention is to raise a ValidationError (from cassandra.cqlengine import ValidationError) if validation fails.

Model Inheritance

It is possible to save and load different model classes using a single CQL table. This is useful in situations where you have different object types that you want to store in a single cassandra row.

For instance, suppose you want a table that stores rows of pets owned by an owner:

class Pet(Model):
    __table_name__ = 'pet'
    owner_id = UUID(primary_key=True)
    pet_id = UUID(primary_key=True)
    pet_type = Text(discriminator_column=True)
    name = Text()

    def eat(self, food):

    def sleep(self, time):

class Cat(Pet):
    __discriminator_value__ = 'cat'
    cuteness = Float()

    def tear_up_couch(self):

class Dog(Pet):
    __discriminator_value__ = 'dog'
    fierceness = Float()

    def bark_all_night(self):

After calling sync_table on each of these tables, the columns defined in each model will be added to the pet table. Additionally, saving Cat and Dog models will save the meta data needed to identify each row as either a cat or dog.

To setup a model structure with inheritance, follow these steps

  1. Create a base model with a column set as the distriminator (distriminator_column=True in the column definition)

  2. Create subclass models, and define a unique __discriminator_value__ value on each

  3. Run sync_table on each of the sub tables

About the discriminator value

The discriminator value is what cqlengine uses under the covers to map logical cql rows to the appropriate model type. The base model maintains a map of discriminator values to subclasses. When a specialized model is saved, its discriminator value is automatically saved into the discriminator column. The discriminator column may be any column type except counter and container types. Additionally, if you set index=True on your discriminator column, you can execute queries against specialized subclasses, and a WHERE clause will be automatically added to your query, returning only rows of that type. Note that you must define a unique __discriminator_value__ to each subclass, and that you can only assign a single discriminator column per model.

User Defined Types

cqlengine models User Defined Types (UDTs) much like tables, with fields defined by column type attributes. However, UDT instances are only created, presisted, and queried via table Models. A short example to introduce the pattern:

from cassandra.cqlengine.columns import *
from cassandra.cqlengine.models import Model
from cassandra.cqlengine.usertype import UserType

class address(UserType):
    street = Text()
    zipcode = Integer()

class users(Model):
    __keyspace__ = 'account'
    name = Text(primary_key=True)
    addr = UserDefinedType(address)

users.create(name="Joe", addr=address(street="Easy St.", zipcode=99999))
user = users.objects(name="Joe")[0]
print, user.addr
# Joe address(street=u'Easy St.', zipcode=99999)

UDTs are modeled by inheriting UserType, and setting column type attributes. Types are then used in defining models by declaring a column of type UserDefinedType, with the UserType class as a parameter.

sync_table will implicitly synchronize any types contained in the table. Alternatively sync_type() can be used to create/alter types explicitly.

Upon declaration, types are automatically registered with the driver, so query results return instances of your UserType class*.

*Note: UDTs were not added to the native protocol until v3. When setting up the cqlengine connection, be sure to specify protocol_version=3. If using an earlier version, UDT queries will still work, but the returned type will be a namedtuple.