# 21.9. Programming with multiple tables¶

We will now redo the Twitter spider program using two tables, the primary keys, and the key references as described above. Here is the code for the new version of the program:

import json
import sqlite3
import tweepy
import os

api = tweepy.API(auth, wait_on_rate_limit=True)

# set up the database tables
dir = os.path.dirname(__file__) + os.sep
conn = sqlite3.connect(dir + 'friends.db')
cur = conn.cursor()
cur.execute('''CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS People
(id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY, name TEXT UNIQUE, retrieved INTEGER)''')
cur.execute('''CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS Follows
(from_id INTEGER, to_id INTEGER, UNIQUE(from_id, to_id))''')

# Loop till the user enters quit
while True:
acct = input('Enter a Twitter screen name, or hit enter, or type quit: ')
if (acct == 'quit'): break # user entered quit, so stop
if (len(acct) < 1): # user hit enter, pick someone to visit

# select a screen name that hasn't been visited yet
cur.execute('SELECT id, name FROM People WHERE retrieved = 0 LIMIT 1')
try:
(id, acct) = cur.fetchone()
except:
continue

# See if the screen name (acct) is in the database
cur.execute('SELECT id FROM People WHERE name = ? LIMIT 1',
(acct, ))
try:
# it is so get the key (id)
id = cur.fetchone()[0]
except:
# not there so add it
cur.execute('''INSERT OR IGNORE INTO People
(name, retrieved) VALUES (?, 0)''', (acct, ))
conn.commit()
if cur.rowcount != 1:
print('Error inserting account:', acct)
continue
id = cur.lastrowid

print('Retrieving account', acct)

try:
idList = api.get_friend_ids(screen_name=acct)

except Exception as err:
print('Failed to Retrieve', err)
break

# Update the database to show that we have retrieved
cur.execute('UPDATE People SET retrieved=1 WHERE name = ?', (acct, ))

# loop through the idList
countnew = 0
countold = 0
highest = min(len(idList), 5) # in case have less than 5 friends
for i in range(highest):
currId = idList[i]
friend = api.get_user(user_id=currId)
screenName = friend.screen_name

# get the key for this screen name
cur.execute('SELECT id FROM People WHERE name = ? LIMIT 1',
(screenName, ))

# if found it then add one to count old
try:
friend_id = cur.fetchone()[0]
countold = countold + 1

# if didn't find it insert it
except:
cur.execute('''INSERT OR IGNORE INTO People (name, retrieved)
VALUES (?, 0)''', (screenName, ))
conn.commit()
if cur.rowcount != 1:
print('Error inserting account:', screenName)
continue
friend_id = cur.lastrowid
countnew = countnew + 1
cur.execute('''INSERT OR IGNORE INTO Follows (from_id, to_id)
VALUES (?, ?)''', (id, friend_id))
print('New accounts=', countnew, ' revisited=', countold)
conn.commit()
cur.close()


This program is starting to get a bit complicated, but it illustrates the patterns that we need to use when we are using integer keys to link tables. The basic patterns are:

• Create tables with primary keys and constraints.

• When we have a logical key for a person (i.e., account name) and we need the id value for the person, depending on whether or not the person is already in the People table we either need to: (1) look up the person in the People table and retrieve the id value for the person or (2) add the person to the People table and get the id value for the newly added row.

• Insert the row that captures the “follows” relationship.

We will cover each of these in turn.

## 21.9.1. Constraints in database tables¶

As we design our table structures, we can tell the database system that we would like it to enforce a few rules on us. These rules help us from making mistakes and introducing incorrect data into out tables. When we create our tables:

cur.execute('''CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS People
(id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY, name TEXT UNIQUE, retrieved INTEGER)''')
cur.execute('''CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS Follows
(from_id INTEGER, to_id INTEGER, UNIQUE(from_id, to_id))''')


We indicate that the name column in the People table must be UNIQUE. We also indicate that the combination of the two numbers in each row of the Follows table must be unique. These constraints keep us from making mistakes such as adding the same relationship more than once.

We can take advantage of these constraints in the following code:

cur.execute('''INSERT OR IGNORE INTO People (name, retrieved)
VALUES ( ?, 0)''', ( friend, ) )


We add the OR IGNORE clause to our INSERT statement to indicate that if this particular INSERT would cause a violation of the “name must be unique” rule, the database system is allowed to ignore the INSERT. We are using the database constraint as a safety net to make sure we don’t inadvertently do something incorrect.

Similarly, the following code ensures that we don’t add the exact same Follows relationship twice.

cur.execute('''INSERT OR IGNORE INTO Follows
(from_id, to_id) VALUES (?, ?)''', (id, friend_id) )


Again, we simply tell the database to ignore our attempted INSERT if it would violate the uniqueness constraint that we specified for the Follows rows.

## 21.9.2. Retrieve and/or insert a record¶

When we prompt the user for a Twitter account, if the account exists, we must look up its id value. If the account does not yet exist in the People table, we must insert the record and get the id value from the inserted row.

This is a very common pattern and is done twice in the program above. This code shows how we look up the id for a friend’s account when we have extracted a screen_name from a user node in the retrieved Twitter JSON.

Since over time it will be increasingly likely that the account will already be in the database, we first check to see if the People record exists using a SELECT statement.

If all goes well 1 inside the try section, we retrieve the record using fetchone() and then retrieve the first (and only) element of the returned tuple and store it in friend_id.

If the SELECT fails, the fetchone()[0] code will fail and control will transfer into the except section.

friend = api.get_user(user_id=currId)
screenName = friend.screen_name

# get the key for this screen name
cur.execute('SELECT id FROM People WHERE name = ? LIMIT 1',
(screenName, ))

# if found it then add one to count old
try:
friend_id = cur.fetchone()[0]
countold = countold + 1

# if didn't find it insert it
except:
cur.execute('''INSERT OR IGNORE INTO People (name, retrieved)
VALUES (?, 0)''', (screenName, ))
conn.commit()
if cur.rowcount != 1:
print('Error inserting account:', screenName)
continue
friend_id = cur.lastrowid
countnew = countnew + 1


If we end up in the except code, it simply means that the row was not found, so we must insert the row. We use INSERT OR IGNORE just to avoid errors and then call conn.commit() to force the database to really be updated. After the write is done, we can check the cur.rowcount to see how many rows were affected. Since we are attempting to insert a single row, if the number of affected rows is something other than 1, it is an error.

If the INSERT is successful, we can look at cur.lastrowid to find out what value the database assigned to the id column in our newly created row.

## 21.9.3. Storing the friend relationship¶

Once we know the key value for both the Twitter user and the friend in the JSON, it is a simple matter to insert the two numbers into the Follows table with the following code:

cur.execute('''INSERT OR IGNORE INTO Follows (from_id, to_id)
VALUES (?, ?)''', (id, friend_id))


Notice that we let the database take care of keeping us from “double-inserting” a relationship by creating the table with a uniqueness constraint and then adding OR IGNORE to our INSERT statement.

Here is a sample execution of this program:

Enter a Twitter screen name, or hit enter, or type quit: drchuck
Retrieving account drchuck
New accounts= 5  revisited= 0
Enter a Twitter screen name, or hit enter, or type quit:
Retrieving account ravenmaster1
New accounts= 5  revisited= 0
Enter a Twitter screen name, or hit enter, or type quit:
Retrieving account BrentSeverance
New accounts= 4  revisited= 1
Enter a Twitter screen name, or hit enter, or type quit: quit


We started with the drchuck account and then let the program automatically use the next two accounts to retrieve and add to our database.

The following is the first few rows in the People and Follows tables after this run is completed:

People:
People:
(1, 'drchuck', 1)
(2, 'ravenmaster1', 1)
(3, 'BrentSeverance', 1)
(4, 'prairycat', 0)
(5, 'lionelrobertjr', 0)
...
15 rows.
Follows:
(1, 2)
(1, 3)
(1, 4)
(1, 5)
(1, 6)
...
15 rows.


You can see the id, name, and visited fields in the People table and you see the numbers of both ends of the relationship in the Follows table. In the People table, we can see that the first three people have been visited and their data has been retrieved. The data in the Follows table indicates that drchuck (user 1) is a friend to all of the people shown in the first five rows. This makes sense because the first data we retrieved and stored was the Twitter friends of drchuck. If you were to print more rows from the Follows table, you would see the friends of users 2 and 3 as well.

1

In general, when a sentence starts with “if all goes well” you will find that the code needs to use try/except.