[Fixed]-How to serialize Django models with nested objects (Django REST Framework)


Important sidenote: It looks like you are using the old User/Profile methodology. Since Django 1.5 there is no seperation of the default User and your custom Profile models. You have to create your own user model and use that instead of the default one: Custom User Profile @ Django Docs


I want to present you a different approach to serialize and restore models. All model objects can be serialized by using the following snippet:

from django.core import serializers
serialized_data = serializers.serialize("json", myInstance)

or to serialize more than one object:

serialized_data = serializers.serialize("json", User.objects.all())

Foreign keys and m2m relations are then stored in an array of ids.

If you want only a subset of fields to be serialized:

serialized_data = serializers.serialize("json", myUserInstance, fields=('first_name ','last_name ','email ','password '))

To save the user profile you would just write:

serialized_data = serializers.serialize("json", myUserProfileInstance)

The user id is saved in the serialized data and looks like this:

    "pk": 1,
    "model": "profile.UserProfile",
    "fields": {
        "bio": "self-taught couch potato",
        "user": 1

If you want related user fields in the serialization too, you need to modify your User model:

class UserManager(models.Manager):
    def get_by_natural_key(self, first_name, last_name):
        return self.get(first_name=first_name, last_name=last_name)

class User(models.Model):
    objects = UserManager()

    first_name = models.CharField(max_length=100)
    last_name = models.CharField(max_length=100)

    def natural_key(self):
        return (self.first_name, self.last_name)

    class Meta:
        unique_together = (('first_name', 'last_name'),)

When serializing with natural keys you need to add the use_natural_keys argument:

serialized_data = serializers.serialize("json", myUserProfileInstance, use_natural_keys=True)

Which leads to the following output:

    "pk": 2,
    "model": "profile.UserProfile",
    "fields": {
        "bio": "time-traveling smartass",
        "user": ["Dr.", "Who"]


Deserializing and saving is just as easy as:

for deserialized_object in serializers.deserialize("json", serialized_data):

More information can be found in the Django docs: Serializing Django objects


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