Step 4: Request Database ConnectionsΒΆ

Now we know how we can open database connections and use them for scripts, but how can we elegantly do that for requests? We will need the database connection in all our functions so it makes sense to initialize them before each request and shut them down afterwards.

Flask allows us to do that with the before_request(), after_request() and teardown_request() decorators:

@app.before_request
def before_request():
    g.db = connect_db()

@app.teardown_request
def teardown_request(exception):
    db = getattr(g, 'db', None)
    if db is not None:
        db.close()

Functions marked with before_request() are called before a request and passed no arguments. Functions marked with after_request() are called after a request and passed the response that will be sent to the client. They have to return that response object or a different one. They are however not guaranteed to be executed if an exception is raised, this is where functions marked with teardown_request() come in. They get called after the response has been constructed. They are not allowed to modify the request, and their return values are ignored. If an exception occurred while the request was being processed, it is passed to each function; otherwise, None is passed in.

We store our current database connection on the special g object that Flask provides for us. This object stores information for one request only and is available from within each function. Never store such things on other objects because this would not work with threaded environments. That special g object does some magic behind the scenes to ensure it does the right thing.

For an even better way to handle such resources see the Using SQLite 3 with Flask documentation.

Continue to Step 5: The View Functions.

Hint

Where do I put this code?

If you’ve been following along in this tutorial, you might be wondering where to put the code from this step and the next. A logical place is to group these module-level functions together, and put your new before_request and teardown_request functions below your existing init_db function (following the tutorial line-by-line).

If you need a moment to find your bearings, take a look at how the example source is organized. In Flask, you can put all of your application code into a single Python module. You don’t have to, and if your app grows larger, it’s a good idea not to.

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