Krzysztof Żuraw

Ports and Adapters in python - part one

  • #django
  • #python
  • #design_patterns

Welcome! Today I’m going to start series about how to use port and adapter design pattern in simple django application.

Let me explain a little bit what exactly ports and adapters design pattern is. According to this article (which by the way I strongly recommend to read) it is a way to separate business logic from user code.

What I mean by that? Let pretend that you want to create simple django application which connects to reddit using its API. Then app retrieves the content of search query provided by the user. After that user can save for later founded link. In this blog post, I will focus only on reddit API part. Normally you will write some module using request for retrieving search results from reddit. But what when it comes to testing such code? You just mock requests calls or use responses library.

How do you do it in ports and adapters way? You will have one thing called port for all external connections. Throught this all requests to external APIs will be done because who knows if the reddit will not change to duckduckgo? In such case you just add DuckDuckGo Adapter and you are all set. Because port don’t care if there is Reddit adapter or DuckDuckGo adapter as long as it provides necessary methods. As I mentioned before, port is communicating only with adapters. And what is adapter? It is part of code designed only for calling in this case Reddit API and passing results. To test port you need fake adapter with all methods that original has. But how you test adapter? You will have to write integration tests.

Such design pattern is also called hexagonal architecture.

Hexagonal architecutre

This is a picture presenting adapters and ports in my application.

As you can see in above picture all connections to external APIs are made using ExternalAPIPort so this class in python knows only about the adapter and that it should have some search method for searching. How is it translating to code?


class ExternalAPIPort(object):

    def __init__(self, adapter):
        self.adapter = adapter

    def search(self, query, *args, **kwargs):
        return, *args, **kwargs)

As you can see port takes adapter in __init__. Then in search it uses adapter method for searching and passing results. I only needed the title of a post that comes from search so I generate them using generator expression. Moreover here we have contract that tell us that adapter has to have such method as search that uses query arguments (at least).

And how adapter look like?

import requests
import requests.auth

class RedditAdapter(object):
    def __init__(
        self, reddit_client_id, reddit_client_secret,
        reddit_username, reddit_password
        self.reddit_client_id = reddit_client_id
        self.reddit_client_secret = reddit_client_secret
        self.reddit_username = reddit_username
        self.reddit_password = reddit_password
        self.reddit_token = None

    def authorize(self):
        client_auth = requests.auth.HTTPBasicAuth(
         post_data = {
              "grant_type": "password",
              "username": self.reddit_username,
              "password": self.reddit_password
         headers = {"User-Agent": "RedditAdapter/0.1 by Krzysztof Zuraw"}
         response =
         self.reddit_token = response.json()['access_token']

     def search(self, query, subreddit=None):
         headers = {
             "Authorization": "bearer {token}".format(token=self.reddit_token),
             "User-Agent": "RedditAdapter/0.1 by Krzysztof Zuraw"
         response = requests.get(
                 restrict='on' if subreddit else 'off'
         return response.json()

         search_result = []
         for result in raw_response['data']['children']:

         return search_result

What is happening here? Start from init (line 6) which takes reddit_client_id and reddit_client_secret arguments. There are created by going to apps tab under preferences:

Reddit apps

After that click on create new application on the end of the page and you will see something like this:

Reddit application creation

By clicking create app you will see that reddit_client_secret is secret and reddit_client_id is string under personal use script.

Reddit application secrets

After initialization, there is method called authorize (line 16) which takes care of proper authorization via Oauth2.

Lastly, there is search (line 35) which retrieves JSON response from reddit API from given subreddit or globally from all subreddits.

So how to test it?

First by creating FakeRedditAdapter:

         "kind": "Listing",
         "data": {
             "facets": {},
             "modhash": "",
             "children": [
                     "kind": "t3",
                     "data": {
                         "domain": "domain",
                         "banned_by": None,
                         "media_embed": {},
                         "subreddit": "django",
                         "selftext_html": None,
                         "selftext": "",
                         "likes": None,
                         "suggested_sort": None,
                         "user_reports": [],
                         "secure_media": None,
                         "link_flair_text": None,
                         "id": "id123",
                         "from_kind": None,
                         "gilded": 0,
                         "archived": False,
                         "clicked": False,
                         "report_reasons": None,
                         "author": "author",
                         "media": None,
                         "score": 20,
                         "approved_by": None,
                         "over_18": False,
                         "hidden": False,
                         "num_comments": 4,
                         "thumbnail": "",
                         "subreddit_id": "id_sub",
                         "hide_score": False,
                         "edited": False,
                         "link_flair_css_class": None,
                         "author_flair_css_class": None,
                         "downs": 0,
                         "secure_media_embed": {},
                         "saved": False,
                         "removal_reason": None,
                         "stickied": False,
                         "from": None,
                         "is_self": False,
                         "from_id": None,
                         "permalink": "/r/django/comments/link",
                         "locked": False,
                         "name": "t3_4b7lzf",
                         "created": 1458511233,
                         "url": "",
                         "author_flair_text": None,
                         "quarantine": False,
                         "title": "Post title",
                         "created_utc": 1458482433,
                         "distinguished": None,
                         "mod_reports": [],
                         "visited": False,
                         "num_reports": None,
                         "ups": 20
         "after": None,
         "before": None

class FakeRedditAdapter(object):
    def authorize(self):
        return 'oauth2-authorized-key'

    def search(self, query, subreddit=None):
        search_result = []
        for result in REDDIT_RESPONSE['data']['children']:
        return search_result

As you can see FakeRedditAdapter returns hardcoded response from reddit API that can be used in test:

import pytest

from tests.utils import FakeRedditAdapter

from reddit_stars.external_api_port import ExternalAPIPort

def reddit_port():
    port = ExternalAPIPort(adapter=FakeRedditAdapter())
    return port

def test_reddit_search(reddit_port):
    assert list('test_search')) == ['Post title']

That’s all for today. In the next post, I will show how to combine these ports and adapters with django application. Code for this you can find under this repo.

Changes from 23.05.16:

  • Removing coupling from ExternalAPIPort
  • Adding new test
  • Adding word about contracts