Using both SQLAlchemy and MongoDB

TurboGears since version 2.3.8 allows to enable both Ming and SQLAlchemy into the same project. This can be achieved by specifying both the use_ming=True and use_sqlalchemy=True options in AppConfig.

By Default the SQLAlchemy session is considered the primary and is installed as config['DBSession'] unless it’s explicitly set in AppConfig. When a new project is created, the quickstart will automatically set this according to the --ming or --sqlalchemy option, so you usually are ensured that the primary database is the one you quickstarted the project with.

Both databases will call model.init_model with their engine, according to the engine type you can take proper action and return the right database session.

To configure both Ming and SQLAlchemy sessions your model/ will probably look like:

from sqlalchemy.engine import Engine

# SQLAlchemy Configuration
from zope.sqlalchemy import ZopeTransactionExtension
from sqlalchemy.orm import scoped_session, sessionmaker
from sqlalchemy.ext.declarative import declarative_base

maker = sessionmaker(autoflush=True, autocommit=False,
DBSession = scoped_session(maker)
DeclarativeBase = declarative_base()
metadata = DeclarativeBase.metadata

# Ming Configuration
from ming import Session
from ming.orm import ThreadLocalORMSession

mingsession = Session()
ODMSession = ThreadLocalORMSession(mingsession)

def init_model(engine):
    if isinstance(engine, Engine):
        # SQLAlchemy
        return DBSession
        # Ming
        mingsession.bind = engine
        return ODMSession

The returned session will be available as config['MingSession'] and config['SQLASession'] according to the initialized engine. You just have to ensure your models use the right session.

Using Multiple Databases In TurboGears


The goal of this tutorial is to configure TurboGears to use multiple databases. In this tutorial we will simply set up two different databases engines that will use db session handlers of DBSession and DBSession2, db metadata names of metadata and metadata2, and DeclarativeBase objects of DeclarativeBase and DeclarativeBase2.


When using multiple databases you won’t be able to create relations (foreign keys) between tables on two different databases.


Most plugins and extensions will take for granted that you have a single database connection, and might not work properly when multiple databases are used.

Define your database urls in the [app:main] section of your .ini file(s)

The first thing you will need to do is edit your .ini file to specify multiple url options for the sqlalchemy configuration.

In myapp/development.ini (or production.ini, or whatever.ini you are using), comment out the original sqlalchemy.url assignment and add the multiple config options:

# We need two different connection URLs for the two engines,
# so we comment the default one to avoid unexpected usages.
# sqlalchemy.url = sqlite:///%(here)s/devdata.db

sqlalchemy.first.url = sqlite:///%(here)s/database_1.db
sqlalchemy.second.url = sqlite:///%(here)s/database_2.db

Change The Way Your App Loads The Database Engines

Now we need to instruct the app configurator to load the multiple databases correctly. This requires telling base_config (in to load our own custom AppConfig with the proper multi-db assignments and a call to the model’s init_model method (more on that in the next step).

In myapp/config/

# make sure these imports are added to the top
from tg.configuration import AppConfig
from myapp import model

# add this before base_config =
class MultiDBAppConfig(AppConfig):
   def _setup_sqlalchemy(self, conf):
      from sqlalchemy import engine_from_config
      engine1 = engine_from_config(conf, 'sqlalchemy.first.')
      engine2 = engine_from_config(conf, 'sqlalchemy.second.')

      # We will consider engine1 the "default" engine
      conf['tg.app_globals'].sa_engine = engine1
      conf['tg.app_globals'].sa_engine2 = engine2

      # Pass the engines to init_model, to be able to introspect tables
      model.init_model(engine1, engine2)
      conf['SQLASession'] = conf['DBSession'] = model.DBSession
      conf['SQLASession2'] = conf['DBSession2'] = model.DBSession2

   def _add_sqlalchemy_middleware(self, conf, app):
      # We need to ensure that both sessions are closed at the end of a request.
      from import DBSessionRemoverMiddleware
      dbsession = conf.get('SQLASession')
      app = DBSessionRemoverMiddleware(dbsession, app)
      dbsession2 = conf.get('SQLASession2')
      app = DBSessionRemoverMiddleware(dbsession2, app)
      return app

# base_config = AppConfig()
base_config = MultiDBAppConfig()

Update Your Model’s __init__ To Handle Multiple Sessions And Metadata

Switching the model’s init from a single-db config to a multi-db simply means we have to duplicate our DBSession and metata assignments, and then update the init_model method to assign/configure each engine correctly.

In myapp/model/

# after the first maker/DBSession assignment, add a 2nd one
maker2 = sessionmaker(autoflush=True, autocommit=False,
DBSession2 = scoped_session(maker2)

# after the first DeclarativeBase assignment, add a 2nd one
DeclarativeBase2 = declarative_base()

# uncomment the metadata2 line and assign it to DeclarativeBase2.metadata
metadata2 = DeclarativeBase2.metadata

# finally, modify the init_model method to allow both engines to be passed (see previous step)
# and assign the sessions and metadata to each engine
def init_model(engine1, engine2):
  """Call me before using any of the tables or classes in the model."""

   #    DBSession.configure(bind=engine)

   metadata.bind = engine1
   metadata2.bind = engine2

Tell Your Models Which Engine To Use

Now that the configuration has all been taken care of, you can instruct your models to inherit from either the first or second DeclarativeBase depending on which DB engine you want it to use.

For example, in myapp/model/ (uses engine1):

from sqlalchemy import Table, ForeignKey, Column
from sqlalchemy.types import Integer, Unicode, Boolean
from myapp.model import DeclarativeBase

class Spam(DeclarativeBase):
    __tablename__ = 'spam'

    def __init__(self, id, variety): = id
        self.variety = variety

    id = Column(Integer, autoincrement=True, primary_key=True)
    variety = Column(Unicode(50), nullable=False)

And then in myapp/model/ (uses engine2):

from sqlalchemy import Table, ForeignKey, Column
from sqlalchemy.types import Integer, Unicode, Boolean
from myapp.model import DeclarativeBase2

class Eggs(DeclarativeBase2):
    __tablename__ = 'eggs'

    def __init__(self, id, pkg_qty): = id
        self.pkg_qty = pkg_qty

    id = Column(Integer, autoincrement=True, primary_key=True)
    pkg_qty = Column(Integer, default=12)

If you needed to use the DBSession here (or in your controllers), you would use DBSession for the 1st engine and DBSession2 for the 2nd (see the previous and next sections).

Create And Populate Each Database In Websetup

If you want your setup_app method to populate each database with data, simply use the appropriate metadata/DBSession objects as you would in a single-db setup.

In myapp/websetup/

def setup_schema(command, conf, vars):
    from tgmultidb import model
    print("Creating tables")

In myapp/websetup/

def setup_app(command, conf, vars):
   from sqlalchemy.exc import IntegrityError
     # populate spam table
     spam = [model.Spam(1, u'Classic'), model.Spam(2, u'Golden Honey Grail')]
     # DBSession is bound to the spam table

     # populate eggs table
     eggs = [model.Eggs(1, 12), model.Eggs(2, 6)]
     # DBSession2 is bound to the eggs table

     print "Successfully setup"
   except IntegrityError:
      print('Warning, there was a problem adding your auth data, '
           'it may have already been added:')
      import traceback
      print('Continuing with bootstrapping...')

Additional Support

There are some additional features that TurboGears2 provides out of the box for single databases that might require change when multiple DBs are involved.


Your User/Group/Permission and support tables usually need to be all in the same database. In case this database is not the one managed by primary DeclarativeBase and primary DBSession you need to provide to base_config.sa_auth.dbsession the right session.


The default turbogears admin is mounted to handle all the models through DBSession. If you moved any mode to DBSession2 you will have to accordingly configure two admins:

class RootController(BaseController):
    admin = AdminController([model.Spam], DBSession, config_type=TGAdminConfig)
    admin2 = AdminController([model.Eggs], DBSession2, config_type=TGAdminConfig)


Code in myapp/websetup/ that initializes the migrations will have to be duplicated to allow migrations for both DB1 and DB2:

print('Initializing Primary Migrations')
import alembic.config
alembic_cfg = alembic.config.Config()
alembic_cfg.set_main_option("script_location", "migration1")
alembic_cfg.set_main_option("sqlalchemy.url", config['sqlalchemy.first.url'])
import alembic.command
alembic.command.stamp(alembic_cfg, "head")

print('Initializing Secondary Migrations')
import alembic.config
alembic_cfg = alembic.config.Config()
alembic_cfg.set_main_option("script_location", "migration2")
alembic_cfg.set_main_option("sqlalchemy.url", config['sqlalchemy.second.url'])
import alembic.command
alembic.command.stamp(alembic_cfg, "head")

You will need also to provide two different migration repositories for the two db. The easiest way is usually to take the migration directory and rename it to migration1 and migration2, then make sure to update references to sqlchemy. inside the two directories migration1/ and migration2/ so that they point to sqlalchemy.first. and sqlalchemy.second..

You can then choose for which database run the migrations by providing the --location option to gearbox migrate command:

$ gearbox migrate -l migration1 db_version
198f81ba8170 (head)
$ gearbox migrate -l migration2 db_version
350269a5537c (head)