Larger Applications

For larger applications it’s a good idea to use a package instead of a module. That is quite simple. Imagine a small application looks like this:

/yourapplication
    /yourapplication.py
    /static
        /style.css
    /templates
        layout.html
        index.html
        login.html
        ...

Simple Packages

To convert that into a larger one, just create a new folder yourapplication inside the existing one and move everything below it. Then rename yourapplication.py to __init__.py. (Make sure to delete all .pyc files first, otherwise things would most likely break)

You should then end up with something like that:

/yourapplication
    /yourapplication
        /__init__.py
        /static
            /style.css
        /templates
            layout.html
            index.html
            login.html
            ...

But how do you run your application now? The naive python yourapplication/__init__.py will not work. Let’s just say that Python does not want modules in packages to be the startup file. But that is not a big problem, just add a new file called runserver.py next to the inner yourapplication folder with the following contents:

from yourapplication import app
app.run(debug=True)

What did we gain from this? Now we can restructure the application a bit into multiple modules. The only thing you have to remember is the following quick checklist:

  1. the Flask application object creation has to be in the __init__.py file. That way each module can import it safely and the __name__ variable will resolve to the correct package.
  2. all the view functions (the ones with a route() decorator on top) have to be imported in the __init__.py file. Not the object itself, but the module it is in. Import the view module after the application object is created.

Here’s an example __init__.py:

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)

import yourapplication.views

And this is what views.py would look like:

from yourapplication import app

@app.route('/')
def index():
    return 'Hello World!'

You should then end up with something like that:

/yourapplication
    /runserver.py
    /yourapplication
        /__init__.py
        /views.py
        /static
            /style.css
        /templates
            layout.html
            index.html
            login.html
            ...

Circular Imports

Every Python programmer hates them, and yet we just added some: circular imports (That’s when two modules depend on each other. In this case views.py depends on __init__.py). Be advised that this is a bad idea in general but here it is actually fine. The reason for this is that we are not actually using the views in __init__.py and just ensuring the module is imported and we are doing that at the bottom of the file.

There are still some problems with that approach but if you want to use decorators there is no way around that. Check out the Becoming Big section for some inspiration how to deal with that.

Working with Blueprints

If you have larger applications it’s recommended to divide them into smaller groups where each group is implemented with the help of a blueprint. For a gentle introduction into this topic refer to the Modular Applications with Blueprints chapter of the documentation.

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