populate a newly made subclass

This is a bit of a hack but I created a subclass* named FacultyMember and wanted to back-link it with existing records in the Person class: (* This subclass falls under Multi-table inheritance.)

class Person(models.Model):
    lname = models.CharField('Last Name', max_length=75)
    fname = models.CharField('First Name', max_length=75)
    affiliation = models.ForeignKey(PersonAffiliation)
    appointment =  models.ForeignKey(AppointmentType)
    # (20+  other fields)
Newly made subclass.
class FacultyMember(Person):
    research_statement = models.TextField()
    journal_articles = models.ManyToManyField(JournalArticle)
    # (approx 6 fields, several of which are FKs)

(Note, the original FacultyMember model was made 2 years before the Person model. The subclassing is a bit of clean-up.)

There are 581 Person objects, 43 of which are faculty members. It wasn’t obvious to me how to create FacultyMember objects from the existing Person objects. One hack was to do the following.

>>> # (1) retrieve a person who is a faculty member
>>> p = Person.objects.get(lname='Smith', fname='John')
>>> p
>>> <FacultyMember: Smith, John>
>>> # (2) copy the Person object's dictionary
>>> p_dict = p.__dict__.copy()
>>> p_dict
{'grad_program_id': None, 'title_id': 203L, '_state': , 'second_phone': u'',
 'visible': True, 'appointment_id': 22L, 'long_title': u'', 'id': 1607L,
'minitial': u'', 'primary_lab_id': 48L, 'slug': u'john-smith', 'affiliation_id': 11L,
 'room': u'Room 123', 'phone': u'123-456-7890', 'alt_search_term': u'', 'lname': u'Smith',
 'office_id': None, 'second_email': u'', 'fname': u'John', 'grad_year_id': None, 
 'building_id': 1L, 'email': u'jsmith@university.edu'}
>>> # (3) remove the '_state' key/value from the dictionary
>>> p_dict.pop('_state')
>>> # (4) use the dictionary to make/start creating a new FacultyMember
>>> f = FacultyMember(**p_dict)
>>> # (5) link the Person object to the new FacultyMember via the 'ptr' attribute
>>> f.ptr = p
>>> f.save()
>>> f
>>> <FacultyMember: Smith, John>

That’s it.  I made the test above into a short script and it worked.  Initially I tried to instantiate the FacultyMember using the “ptr” attribute or the associated id.  I may try that again…


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Notes while working in a large academic organization.

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