Auto Logging to SqlAlchemy and Turbogears 2

I've been playing with Turbogear2 (TG2) for some personal tools that help me get work done. One of the things I've run into is an important missing feature that my work code has that isn't in my TG2 application yet. In my PHP5 app for work, I use the Doctrine ORM and I have post insert, update, delete hooks that will actually go in and log changes to the system. It works great and I can build up a history of an object over time to see who changes which fields and such.

With my TG2 app doing inserts and updates I initiall just faked the log events by manually saving Log() objects from within my controllers as I do the work that needs to be done.

This sucks though since the point is that I don't have to think about things. Anytime code changes something it's logged. So I had to start searching the SqlAlchemy (SA) docs to figure out how to duplicate this in TG2. I wanted something that's pretty invisible. In my PHP5 code I have a custom method I can put onto my Models in case I want to override the default logged messages and such.

I found part of what I'm looking for in the SA MapperExtension. This blog post got me looking in the right direction. The MapperExtension providers a set of methods to hook a function into. The hooks I'm interested in are the 'after_delete', 'after_insert', 'after_update' method. These are passed in the instance of the object and a connection object so I can generate an SQL query to manually save the log entry for the object.

So I have something that looks a little bit like this:

[sourcecode lang="python"] from sqlalchemy.orm.interfaces import MapperExtension

class LogChanges(MapperExtension):

def after_insert(self, mapper, connection, instance): query = "INSERT INTO log ( username, \ type, \ client_ip, \ application ) VALUES( '%s', %d, '%s', '%s')" % ( u"rick", 4, u'', u'my_app')

connection.execute(query) [/sourcecode]

Then I pass that into my declarative model as:

[sourcecode lang="python"] __mapper_args__ = {'extension': LogChanges()} [/sourcecode]

This is very cool and all, but it's not all the way where I want to head. First, the manual SQL logging query kind of sucks. I have an AppLog() model that I just want to pass in some values to to create a log entry. I'm thinking what I really should do is find a different way to do the logging itself. I'm debating between actually doing a separate logging application that I would call with the objects details.

The problem with this is that one of the things I do in my current app is store the old values of the object. This way I can loop through them and see which values actually changed and generate that in the log message. This is pretty darn useful.

The other downside is that I don't have a good way to have a custom logging message generator is I just call a Logging app API.

So I think I might try out the double db connection methods that SA and TG2 support. This way I could actually try to use the second db instance with a Logging() object to write out the changes without messing up the current session/unit of work.

The missing part here is that I'm still not really sure how to get the 'old' object values in order to generate a list of fields that have been changed. Guess I have some more hacking to do.