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Create Models with a Many-to-Many Link

We'll now support many-to-many relationships using a link table like this:

many-to-many table relationships

Let's start by defining the class models, including the link table model.

As we want to support a many-to-many relationship, now we need a link table to connect them.

We can create it just as any other SQLModel:

from typing import List, Optional

from sqlmodel import Field, Relationship, Session, SQLModel, create_engine


class HeroTeamLink(SQLModel, table=True):
    team_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="team.id", primary_key=True
    )
    hero_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="hero.id", primary_key=True
    )

# Code below omitted ๐Ÿ‘‡
๐Ÿ‘€ Full file preview
from typing import List, Optional

from sqlmodel import Field, Relationship, Session, SQLModel, create_engine


class HeroTeamLink(SQLModel, table=True):
    team_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="team.id", primary_key=True
    )
    hero_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="hero.id", primary_key=True
    )


class Team(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    headquarters: str

    heroes: List["Hero"] = Relationship(back_populates="teams", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


class Hero(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    secret_name: str
    age: Optional[int] = None

    teams: List[Team] = Relationship(back_populates="heroes", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


sqlite_file_name = "database.db"
sqlite_url = f"sqlite:///{sqlite_file_name}"

engine = create_engine(sqlite_url, echo=True)


def create_db_and_tables():
    SQLModel.metadata.create_all(engine)


def create_heroes():
    with Session(engine) as session:
        team_preventers = Team(name="Preventers", headquarters="Sharp Tower")
        team_z_force = Team(name="Z-Force", headquarters="Sister Margaretโ€™s Bar")

        hero_deadpond = Hero(
            name="Deadpond",
            secret_name="Dive Wilson",
            teams=[team_z_force, team_preventers],
        )
        hero_rusty_man = Hero(
            name="Rusty-Man",
            secret_name="Tommy Sharp",
            age=48,
            teams=[team_preventers],
        )
        hero_spider_boy = Hero(
            name="Spider-Boy", secret_name="Pedro Parqueador", teams=[team_preventers]
        )
        session.add(hero_deadpond)
        session.add(hero_rusty_man)
        session.add(hero_spider_boy)
        session.commit()

        session.refresh(hero_deadpond)
        session.refresh(hero_rusty_man)
        session.refresh(hero_spider_boy)

        print("Deadpond:", hero_deadpond)
        print("Deadpond teams:", hero_deadpond.teams)
        print("Rusty-Man:", hero_rusty_man)
        print("Rusty-Man Teams:", hero_rusty_man.teams)
        print("Spider-Boy:", hero_spider_boy)
        print("Spider-Boy Teams:", hero_spider_boy.teams)


def main():
    create_db_and_tables()
    create_heroes()


if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()

This is a SQLModel class model table like any other.

It has two fields, team_id and hero_id.

They are both foreign keys to their respective tables. We'll create those models in a second, but you already know how that works.

And both fields are primary keys. We hadn't used this before. ๐Ÿค“

Team Model

Let's see the Team model, it's almost identical as before, but with a little change:

# Code above ommited ๐Ÿ‘†

class Team(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    headquarters: str

    heroes: List["Hero"] = Relationship(back_populates="teams", link_model=HeroTeamLink)

# Code below omitted ๐Ÿ‘‡
๐Ÿ‘€ Full file preview
from typing import List, Optional

from sqlmodel import Field, Relationship, Session, SQLModel, create_engine


class HeroTeamLink(SQLModel, table=True):
    team_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="team.id", primary_key=True
    )
    hero_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="hero.id", primary_key=True
    )


class Team(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    headquarters: str

    heroes: List["Hero"] = Relationship(back_populates="teams", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


class Hero(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    secret_name: str
    age: Optional[int] = None

    teams: List[Team] = Relationship(back_populates="heroes", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


sqlite_file_name = "database.db"
sqlite_url = f"sqlite:///{sqlite_file_name}"

engine = create_engine(sqlite_url, echo=True)


def create_db_and_tables():
    SQLModel.metadata.create_all(engine)


def create_heroes():
    with Session(engine) as session:
        team_preventers = Team(name="Preventers", headquarters="Sharp Tower")
        team_z_force = Team(name="Z-Force", headquarters="Sister Margaretโ€™s Bar")

        hero_deadpond = Hero(
            name="Deadpond",
            secret_name="Dive Wilson",
            teams=[team_z_force, team_preventers],
        )
        hero_rusty_man = Hero(
            name="Rusty-Man",
            secret_name="Tommy Sharp",
            age=48,
            teams=[team_preventers],
        )
        hero_spider_boy = Hero(
            name="Spider-Boy", secret_name="Pedro Parqueador", teams=[team_preventers]
        )
        session.add(hero_deadpond)
        session.add(hero_rusty_man)
        session.add(hero_spider_boy)
        session.commit()

        session.refresh(hero_deadpond)
        session.refresh(hero_rusty_man)
        session.refresh(hero_spider_boy)

        print("Deadpond:", hero_deadpond)
        print("Deadpond teams:", hero_deadpond.teams)
        print("Rusty-Man:", hero_rusty_man)
        print("Rusty-Man Teams:", hero_rusty_man.teams)
        print("Spider-Boy:", hero_spider_boy)
        print("Spider-Boy Teams:", hero_spider_boy.teams)


def main():
    create_db_and_tables()
    create_heroes()


if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()

The relationship attribute heroes is still a list of heroes, annotatted as List["Hero"]. Again, we use "Hero" in quotes because we haven't declared that class yet by this point in the code (but as you know, editors and SQLModel understand that).

We use the same Relationship() function.

We use back_populates="teams". Before we referenced an attribute team, but as now we can have many, we'll rename it to teams when creating the Hero model.

And here's the important part to allow the many-to-many relationship, we use link_model=HeroTeamLink. That's it. โœจ

Hero Model

Let's see the other side, here's the Hero model:

# Code above ommited ๐Ÿ‘†

class Hero(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    secret_name: str
    age: Optional[int] = None

    teams: List[Team] = Relationship(back_populates="heroes", link_model=HeroTeamLink)

# Code below omitted ๐Ÿ‘‡
๐Ÿ‘€ Full file preview
from typing import List, Optional

from sqlmodel import Field, Relationship, Session, SQLModel, create_engine


class HeroTeamLink(SQLModel, table=True):
    team_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="team.id", primary_key=True
    )
    hero_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="hero.id", primary_key=True
    )


class Team(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    headquarters: str

    heroes: List["Hero"] = Relationship(back_populates="teams", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


class Hero(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    secret_name: str
    age: Optional[int] = None

    teams: List[Team] = Relationship(back_populates="heroes", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


sqlite_file_name = "database.db"
sqlite_url = f"sqlite:///{sqlite_file_name}"

engine = create_engine(sqlite_url, echo=True)


def create_db_and_tables():
    SQLModel.metadata.create_all(engine)


def create_heroes():
    with Session(engine) as session:
        team_preventers = Team(name="Preventers", headquarters="Sharp Tower")
        team_z_force = Team(name="Z-Force", headquarters="Sister Margaretโ€™s Bar")

        hero_deadpond = Hero(
            name="Deadpond",
            secret_name="Dive Wilson",
            teams=[team_z_force, team_preventers],
        )
        hero_rusty_man = Hero(
            name="Rusty-Man",
            secret_name="Tommy Sharp",
            age=48,
            teams=[team_preventers],
        )
        hero_spider_boy = Hero(
            name="Spider-Boy", secret_name="Pedro Parqueador", teams=[team_preventers]
        )
        session.add(hero_deadpond)
        session.add(hero_rusty_man)
        session.add(hero_spider_boy)
        session.commit()

        session.refresh(hero_deadpond)
        session.refresh(hero_rusty_man)
        session.refresh(hero_spider_boy)

        print("Deadpond:", hero_deadpond)
        print("Deadpond teams:", hero_deadpond.teams)
        print("Rusty-Man:", hero_rusty_man)
        print("Rusty-Man Teams:", hero_rusty_man.teams)
        print("Spider-Boy:", hero_spider_boy)
        print("Spider-Boy Teams:", hero_spider_boy.teams)


def main():
    create_db_and_tables()
    create_heroes()


if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()

We removed the previous team_id field (column) because now the relationship is done via the link table. ๐Ÿ”ฅ

The relationship attribute is now named teams instead of team, as now we support multiple teams.

It is no longer an Optional[Team] but a list of teams, annotated as List[Team].

We are using the Relationship() here too.

We still have back_populates="heroes" as before.

And now we have a link_model=HeroTeamLink. โœจ

Create the Tables

The same as before, we will have the rest of the code to create the engine, and a function to create all the tables create_db_and_tables().

# Code above ommited ๐Ÿ‘†

sqlite_file_name = "database.db"
sqlite_url = f"sqlite:///{sqlite_file_name}"

engine = create_engine(sqlite_url, echo=True)


def create_db_and_tables():
    SQLModel.metadata.create_all(engine)

# Code below omitted ๐Ÿ‘‡
๐Ÿ‘€ Full file preview
from typing import List, Optional

from sqlmodel import Field, Relationship, Session, SQLModel, create_engine


class HeroTeamLink(SQLModel, table=True):
    team_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="team.id", primary_key=True
    )
    hero_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="hero.id", primary_key=True
    )


class Team(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    headquarters: str

    heroes: List["Hero"] = Relationship(back_populates="teams", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


class Hero(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    secret_name: str
    age: Optional[int] = None

    teams: List[Team] = Relationship(back_populates="heroes", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


sqlite_file_name = "database.db"
sqlite_url = f"sqlite:///{sqlite_file_name}"

engine = create_engine(sqlite_url, echo=True)


def create_db_and_tables():
    SQLModel.metadata.create_all(engine)


def create_heroes():
    with Session(engine) as session:
        team_preventers = Team(name="Preventers", headquarters="Sharp Tower")
        team_z_force = Team(name="Z-Force", headquarters="Sister Margaretโ€™s Bar")

        hero_deadpond = Hero(
            name="Deadpond",
            secret_name="Dive Wilson",
            teams=[team_z_force, team_preventers],
        )
        hero_rusty_man = Hero(
            name="Rusty-Man",
            secret_name="Tommy Sharp",
            age=48,
            teams=[team_preventers],
        )
        hero_spider_boy = Hero(
            name="Spider-Boy", secret_name="Pedro Parqueador", teams=[team_preventers]
        )
        session.add(hero_deadpond)
        session.add(hero_rusty_man)
        session.add(hero_spider_boy)
        session.commit()

        session.refresh(hero_deadpond)
        session.refresh(hero_rusty_man)
        session.refresh(hero_spider_boy)

        print("Deadpond:", hero_deadpond)
        print("Deadpond teams:", hero_deadpond.teams)
        print("Rusty-Man:", hero_rusty_man)
        print("Rusty-Man Teams:", hero_rusty_man.teams)
        print("Spider-Boy:", hero_spider_boy)
        print("Spider-Boy Teams:", hero_spider_boy.teams)


def main():
    create_db_and_tables()
    create_heroes()


if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()

And as in previous examples, we will add that function to a function main(), and we will call that main() function in the main block:

# Code above ommited ๐Ÿ‘†

def main():
    create_db_and_tables()
    # We will do more stuff here later ๐Ÿ‘ˆ

if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()
๐Ÿ‘€ Full file preview
from typing import List, Optional

from sqlmodel import Field, Relationship, Session, SQLModel, create_engine


class HeroTeamLink(SQLModel, table=True):
    team_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="team.id", primary_key=True
    )
    hero_id: Optional[int] = Field(
        default=None, foreign_key="hero.id", primary_key=True
    )


class Team(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    headquarters: str

    heroes: List["Hero"] = Relationship(back_populates="teams", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


class Hero(SQLModel, table=True):
    id: Optional[int] = Field(default=None, primary_key=True)
    name: str
    secret_name: str
    age: Optional[int] = None

    teams: List[Team] = Relationship(back_populates="heroes", link_model=HeroTeamLink)


sqlite_file_name = "database.db"
sqlite_url = f"sqlite:///{sqlite_file_name}"

engine = create_engine(sqlite_url, echo=True)


def create_db_and_tables():
    SQLModel.metadata.create_all(engine)


def create_heroes():
    with Session(engine) as session:
        team_preventers = Team(name="Preventers", headquarters="Sharp Tower")
        team_z_force = Team(name="Z-Force", headquarters="Sister Margaretโ€™s Bar")

        hero_deadpond = Hero(
            name="Deadpond",
            secret_name="Dive Wilson",
            teams=[team_z_force, team_preventers],
        )
        hero_rusty_man = Hero(
            name="Rusty-Man",
            secret_name="Tommy Sharp",
            age=48,
            teams=[team_preventers],
        )
        hero_spider_boy = Hero(
            name="Spider-Boy", secret_name="Pedro Parqueador", teams=[team_preventers]
        )
        session.add(hero_deadpond)
        session.add(hero_rusty_man)
        session.add(hero_spider_boy)
        session.commit()

        session.refresh(hero_deadpond)
        session.refresh(hero_rusty_man)
        session.refresh(hero_spider_boy)

        print("Deadpond:", hero_deadpond)
        print("Deadpond teams:", hero_deadpond.teams)
        print("Rusty-Man:", hero_rusty_man)
        print("Rusty-Man Teams:", hero_rusty_man.teams)
        print("Spider-Boy:", hero_spider_boy)
        print("Spider-Boy Teams:", hero_spider_boy.teams)


def main():
    create_db_and_tables()
    create_heroes()


if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()

Run the Code

If you run the code in the command line, it would output:

$ python app.py

// Boilerplate ommited ๐Ÿ˜‰

INFO Engine 
CREATE TABLE team (
        id INTEGER, 
        name VARCHAR NOT NULL, 
        headquarters VARCHAR NOT NULL, 
        PRIMARY KEY (id)
)


INFO Engine [no key 0.00033s] ()
INFO Engine 
CREATE TABLE hero (
        id INTEGER, 
        name VARCHAR NOT NULL, 
        secret_name VARCHAR NOT NULL, 
        age INTEGER, 
        PRIMARY KEY (id)
)


INFO Engine [no key 0.00016s] ()
INFO Engine 

// Our shinny new link table โœจ
CREATE TABLE heroteamlink (
        team_id INTEGER, 
        hero_id INTEGER, 
        PRIMARY KEY (team_id, hero_id), 
        FOREIGN KEY(team_id) REFERENCES team (id), 
        FOREIGN KEY(hero_id) REFERENCES hero (id)
)


INFO Engine [no key 0.00031s] ()
INFO Engine COMMIT

Recap

We can support many-to-many relationships between tables by declaring a link table.

We can create it the same way as with other SQLModel classes, and then use it in the link_model parameter to Relationship().

Now let's work with data using these models in the next chapters. ๐Ÿค“