Differentiating Treants

Treants can be used to develop “fire-and-forget” analysis routines. Large numbers of Treants can be fed to an analysis routine, with individual Treants handled according to their characteristics. To make it possible to write code that tailors its approach according to the Treant it encounters, we can use tags and categories.

Using tags

Tags are individual strings that describe a Treant. Using our Treant sprout as an example, we can add many tags at once

>>> from datreant import Treant
>>> s = Treant('sprout')
>>> s.tags.add('elm', 'mirky', 'misty')
>>> s.tags
<Tags(['elm', 'mirky', 'misty'])>

They can be iterated through as well

>>> for tag in s.tags:
>>>     print tag

Or checked for membership

>>> 'mirky' in s.tags

Tags function as sets

Since the tags of a Treant behave as a set, we can do set operations directly, such as subset comparisons:

>>> {'elm', 'misty'} < s.tags


>>> {'moldy', 'misty'} | s.tags
{'elm', 'mirky', 'misty', 'moldy'}


>>> {'elm', 'moldy'} & s.tags


>>> s.tags - {'moldy', 'misty'}
{'elm', 'mirky'}

or symmetric differences:

>>> s.tags ^ {'moldy', 'misty'}
{u'elm', u'mirky', 'moldy'}

It is also possible to set the tags directly:

>>> s.tags = s.tags | {'moldy', 'misty'}
>>> s.tags
<Tags(['elm', 'mirky', 'misty', 'moldy'])>

API Reference: Tags

See the Tags API reference for more details.

Using categories

Categories are key-value pairs. They are particularly useful as switches for analysis code. For example, if we have Treants with different shades of bark (say, “dark” and “light”), we can make a category that reflects this. In this case, we categorize sprout as “dark”

>>> s.categories['bark'] = 'dark'
>>> s.categories
<Categories({'bark': 'dark'})>

Perhaps we’ve written some analysis code that will take both “dark” and “light” Treants as input but needs to handle them differently. It can see what variety of Treant it is working with using

>>> s.categories['bark']

The keys for categories must be strings, but the values may be strings, numbers (floats, ints), or booleans (True, False).


None may not be used as a category value since this is used in aggregations (see Coordinating Treants with Bundles) to indicate keys that are absent.

API Reference: Categories

See the Categories API reference for more details.

Filtering and grouping on tags and categories

Tags and categories are especially useful for filtering and grouping Treants. See Coordinating Treants with Bundles for the details on how to flexibly do this.