Correct way to handle default model fields.

With Kong, I have been trying to figure out a way to provide overridden model defaults. At work, our pythonpath’s default to /home/code, however your setup is probably different. It would be useful if there was a simple way to let you override the defaults for your Kong installation.

pythonpath = models.CharField(max_length=255, default="/home/code")

I received a pull request that put a KONG_PYTHONPATH_DEFAULT setting, which would be read in as the default. However, it seems like this doesn’t scale particularly well, and would be annoying if you have 5-10 fields to make defaults for.

So I thought up a couple of different approaches to this problem, and am curious if people have input, or a better way to solve this.

One Big Setting

This would allow for a setting, but it would only be one setting for all of the kong defaults. I’m thinking about a dict, where the key is the model_field name, or just the field name. The key would obviously be the default (or a callable that returns the default).

    'servername': '',
    'pythonpath': '/home/code',

This would keep things in the settings, but not cause a huge amount of settings bloat.

Specify a place to hold your defaults

Specify a setting along the lines of KONG_DEFAULT_PATH, which would be a module on the pythonpath. I would import this module and then try and pull the name of defaults from there. I would provide a sane default in Kong for this, that would be an example of how to do it.

KONG_DEFAULT_PATH = 'kong.defaults'

pythonpath = '/home/code'
servername = ''

So you could set KONG_DEFALUT_PATH, and then redefine the values there. This is basically defining a convention for setting the default values on a model.

However, this is basically the same problem/solution as some kind of application specific settings. I really think this would be valuable, allowing reusable apps to specify default settings, and then letting users override them

Storing it in the database

I could create a super simple model that would hold defaults for my fields. This would allow the user to set the defaults in the database, and then I could pass a callable to the default, which would check for the existence of the model in the DB. This doesn’t seem like a very good option, but would at least allow for configurable changes without touching the code.

I’m probably DOIN’ IT WRONG

It seems like a subset of a larger problem, which is that it isn’t easy to define application specific information. That is an ongoing Django problem, without a good solution. I am imagining a third party application that might make this process easier. Does anyone have a good solution to this?

Hey there! I'm Eric and I work on communities in the world of software documentation. Feel free to email me if you have comments on this post!