Classes as Dependencies

Before diving deeper into the Dependency Injection system, let's upgrade the previous example.

A dict from the previous example

In the previous example, we where returning a dict from our dependency ("dependable"):

from fastapi import Depends, FastAPI

app = FastAPI()


async def common_parameters(q: str = None, skip: int = 0, limit: int = 100):
    return {"q": q, "skip": skip, "limit": limit}


@app.get("/items/")
async def read_items(commons: dict = Depends(common_parameters)):
    return commons


@app.get("/users/")
async def read_users(commons: dict = Depends(common_parameters)):
    return commons

But then we get a dict in the parameter commons of the path operation function.

And we know that editors can't provide a lot of support (like completion) for dicts, because they can't know their keys and value types.

We can do better...

What makes a dependency

Up to now you have seen dependencies declared as functions.

But that's not the only way to declare dependencies (although it would probably be the more common).

The key factor is that a dependency should be a "callable".

A "callable" in Python is anything that Python can "call" like a function.

So, if you have an object something (that might not be a function) and you can "call" it (execute it) like:

something()

or

something(some_argument, some_keyword_argument="foo")

then it is a "callable".

Classes as dependencies

You might notice that to create an instance of a Python class, you use that same syntax.

For example:

class Cat:
    def __init__(self, name: str):
        self.name = name


fluffy = Cat(name="Mr Fluffy")

In this case, fluffy is an instance of the class Cat.

And to create fluffy, you are "calling" Cat.

So, a Python class is also a callable.

Then, in FastAPI, you could use a Python class as a dependency.

What FastAPI actually checks is that it is a "callable" (function, class or anything else) and the parameters defined.

If you pass a "callable" as a dependency in FastAPI, it will analyze the parameters for that "callable", and process them in the same way as the parameters for a path operation function. Including sub-dependencies.

That also applies to callables with no parameters at all. The same as it would be for path operation functions with no parameters.

Then, we can change the dependency "dependable" common_parameters from above to the class CommonQueryParameters:

from fastapi import Depends, FastAPI

app = FastAPI()


fake_items_db = [{"item_name": "Foo"}, {"item_name": "Bar"}, {"item_name": "Baz"}]


class CommonQueryParams:
    def __init__(self, q: str = None, skip: int = 0, limit: int = 100):
        self.q = q
        self.skip = skip
        self.limit = limit


@app.get("/items/")
async def read_items(commons: CommonQueryParams = Depends(CommonQueryParams)):
    response = {}
    if commons.q:
        response.update({"q": commons.q})
    items = fake_items_db[commons.skip : commons.skip + commons.limit]
    response.update({"items": items})
    return response

Pay attention to the __init__ method used to create the instance of the class:

from fastapi import Depends, FastAPI

app = FastAPI()


fake_items_db = [{"item_name": "Foo"}, {"item_name": "Bar"}, {"item_name": "Baz"}]


class CommonQueryParams:
    def __init__(self, q: str = None, skip: int = 0, limit: int = 100):
        self.q = q
        self.skip = skip
        self.limit = limit


@app.get("/items/")
async def read_items(commons: CommonQueryParams = Depends(CommonQueryParams)):
    response = {}
    if commons.q:
        response.update({"q": commons.q})
    items = fake_items_db[commons.skip : commons.skip + commons.limit]
    response.update({"items": items})
    return response

...it has the same parameters as our previous common_parameters:

from fastapi import Depends, FastAPI

app = FastAPI()


async def common_parameters(q: str = None, skip: int = 0, limit: int = 100):
    return {"q": q, "skip": skip, "limit": limit}


@app.get("/items/")
async def read_items(commons: dict = Depends(common_parameters)):
    return commons


@app.get("/users/")
async def read_users(commons: dict = Depends(common_parameters)):
    return commons

Those parameters are what FastAPI will use to "solve" the dependency.

In both cases, it will have:

  • an optional q query parameter.
  • a skip query parameter, with a default of 0.
  • a limit query parameter, with a default of 100.

In both cases the data will be converted, validated, documented on the OpenAPI schema, etc.

Use it

Now you can declare your dependency using this class.

And as when FastAPI calls that class the value that will be passed as commons to your function will be an "instance" of the class, you can declare that parameter commons to be of type of the class, CommonQueryParams.

from fastapi import Depends, FastAPI

app = FastAPI()


fake_items_db = [{"item_name": "Foo"}, {"item_name": "Bar"}, {"item_name": "Baz"}]


class CommonQueryParams:
    def __init__(self, q: str = None, skip: int = 0, limit: int = 100):
        self.q = q
        self.skip = skip
        self.limit = limit


@app.get("/items/")
async def read_items(commons: CommonQueryParams = Depends(CommonQueryParams)):
    response = {}
    if commons.q:
        response.update({"q": commons.q})
    items = fake_items_db[commons.skip : commons.skip + commons.limit]
    response.update({"items": items})
    return response

Type annotation vs Depends

In the code above, you are declaring commons as:

commons: CommonQueryParams = Depends(CommonQueryParams)

The last CommonQueryParams, in:

... = Depends(CommonQueryParams)

...is what FastAPI will actually use to know what is the dependency.

From it is that FastAPI will extract the declared parameters and that is what FastAPI will actually call.


In this case, the first CommonQueryParams, in:

commons: CommonQueryParams ...

...doesn't have any special meaning for FastAPI. FastAPI won't use it for data conversion, validation, etc. (as it is using the = Depends(CommonQueryParams) for that).

You could actually write just:

commons = Depends(CommonQueryParams)

..as in:

from fastapi import Depends, FastAPI

app = FastAPI()


fake_items_db = [{"item_name": "Foo"}, {"item_name": "Bar"}, {"item_name": "Baz"}]


class CommonQueryParams:
    def __init__(self, q: str = None, skip: int = 0, limit: int = 100):
        self.q = q
        self.skip = skip
        self.limit = limit


@app.get("/items/")
async def read_items(commons=Depends(CommonQueryParams)):
    response = {}
    if commons.q:
        response.update({"q": commons.q})
    items = fake_items_db[commons.skip : commons.skip + commons.limit]
    response.update({"items": items})
    return response

But declaring the type is encouraged as that way your editor will know what will be passed as the parameter commons, and then it can help you with code completion, type checks, etc:

Shortcut

But you see that we are having some code repetition here, writing CommonQueryParams twice:

commons: CommonQueryParams = Depends(CommonQueryParams)

FastAPI provides a shortcut for these cases, in where the dependency is specifically a class that FastAPI will "call" to create an instance of the class itself.

For those specific cases, you can do the following:

Instead of writing:

commons: CommonQueryParams = Depends(CommonQueryParams)

...you write:

commons: CommonQueryParams = Depends()

So, you can declare the dependency as the type of the variable, and use Depends() as the "default" value, without any parameter, instead of having to write the full class again inside of Depends(CommonQueryParams).

So, the same example would look like:

from fastapi import Depends, FastAPI

app = FastAPI()


fake_items_db = [{"item_name": "Foo"}, {"item_name": "Bar"}, {"item_name": "Baz"}]


class CommonQueryParams:
    def __init__(self, q: str = None, skip: int = 0, limit: int = 100):
        self.q = q
        self.skip = skip
        self.limit = limit


@app.get("/items/")
async def read_items(commons: CommonQueryParams = Depends()):
    response = {}
    if commons.q:
        response.update({"q": commons.q})
    items = fake_items_db[commons.skip : commons.skip + commons.limit]
    response.update({"items": items})
    return response

...and FastAPI will know what to do.

Tip

If all that seems more confusing than helpful, disregard it, you don't need it.

It is just a shortcut. Because FastAPI cares about helping you minimize code repetition.