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Amazon DynamoDB
Getting Started Guide (API Version 2012-08-10)

Step 3: Create, Read, Update, and Delete an Item

In this step, you perform read and write operations on an item in the Movies table.

To learn more about reading and writing data, see Working with Items in the Amazon DynamoDB Developer Guide.

Step 3.1: Create a New Item

In this step, you add a new item to the Movies table.

  1. Copy the following program into a file named MoviesItemOps01.py.

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    import json
    import decimal
    
    # Helper class to convert a DynamoDB item to JSON.
    class DecimalEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
        def default(self, o):
            if isinstance(o, decimal.Decimal):
                if o % 1 > 0:
                    return float(o)
                else:
                    return int(o)
            return super(DecimalEncoder, self).default(o)
    
    dynamodb = boto3.resource('dynamodb', region_name='us-west-2', endpoint_url="http://localhost:8000")
    
    table = dynamodb.Table('Movies')
    
    title = "The Big New Movie"
    year = 2015
    
    response = table.put_item(
       Item={
            'year': year,
            'title': title,
            'info': {
                'plot':"Nothing happens at all.",
                'rating': decimal.Decimal(0)
            }
        }
    )
    
    print("PutItem succeeded:")
    print(json.dumps(response, indent=4, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    

    Note

    • The primary key is required. This code adds an item that has primary key (year, title) and info attributes. The info attribute stores sample JSON that provides more information about the movie.

    • The DecimalEncoder class is used to print out numbers stored using the Decimal class. The Boto SDK uses the Decimal class to hold DynamoDB number values.

  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesItemOps01.py

Step 3.2: Read an Item

In the previous program, you added the following item to the table:

{
   year: 2015,
   title: "The Big New Movie",
   info: { 
        plot: "Nothing happens at all.",
        rating: 0
   }
}

You can use the get_item method to read the item from the Movies table. You must specify the primary key values, so you can read any item from Movies if you know its year and title.

  1. Copy the following program into a file named MoviesItemOps02.py.

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    import json
    import decimal
    from boto3.dynamodb.conditions import Key, Attr
    from botocore.exceptions import ClientError
    
    # Helper class to convert a DynamoDB item to JSON.
    class DecimalEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
        def default(self, o):
            if isinstance(o, decimal.Decimal):
                if o % 1 > 0:
                    return float(o)
                else:
                    return int(o)
            return super(DecimalEncoder, self).default(o)
    
    dynamodb = boto3.resource("dynamodb", region_name='us-west-2', endpoint_url="http://localhost:8000")
    
    table = dynamodb.Table('Movies')
    
    title = "The Big New Movie"
    year = 2015
    
    try:
        response = table.get_item(
            Key={
                'year': year,
                'title': title
            }
        )
    except ClientError as e:
        print(e.response['Error']['Message'])
    else:
        item = response['Item']
        print("GetItem succeeded:")
        print(json.dumps(item, indent=4, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    
  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesItemOps02.py

Step 3.3: Update an Item

You can use the update_item method to modify an existing item. You can update values of existing attributes, add new attributes, or remove attributes.

In this example, you perform the following updates:

  • Change the value of the existing attributes (rating, plot).

  • Add a new list attribute (actors) to the existing info map.

The item changes from:

{
   year: 2015,
   title: "The Big New Movie",
   info: { 
        plot: "Nothing happens at all.",
        rating: 0
   }
}

To the following:

{
   year: 2015,
   title: "The Big New Movie",
   info: { 
           plot: "Everything happens all at once.",
           rating: 5.5,
           actors: ["Larry", "Moe", "Curly"]
   }
}

  1. Copy the following program into a file named MoviesItemOps03.py.

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    import json
    import decimal
    
    # Helper class to convert a DynamoDB item to JSON.
    class DecimalEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
        def default(self, o):
            if isinstance(o, decimal.Decimal):
                if o % 1 > 0:
                    return float(o)
                else:
                    return int(o)
            return super(DecimalEncoder, self).default(o)
    
    dynamodb = boto3.resource('dynamodb', region_name='us-west-2', endpoint_url="http://localhost:8000")
    
    table = dynamodb.Table('Movies')
    
    title = "The Big New Movie"
    year = 2015
    
    response = table.update_item(
        Key={
            'year': year,
            'title': title
        },
        UpdateExpression="set info.rating = :r, info.plot=:p, info.actors=:a",
        ExpressionAttributeValues={
            ':r': decimal.Decimal(5.5),
            ':p': "Everything happens all at once.",
            ':a': ["Larry", "Moe", "Curly"]
        },
        ReturnValues="UPDATED_NEW"
    )
    
    print("UpdateItem succeeded:")
    print(json.dumps(response, indent=4, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    

    Note

    This program uses UpdateExpression to describe all updates you want to perform on the specified item.

    The ReturnValues parameter instructs DynamoDB to return only the updated attributes (UPDATED_NEW).

  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesItemOps03.py

Step 3.4: Increment an Atomic Counter

DynamoDB supports atomic counters, where you use the update_item method to increment or decrement the value of an existing attribute without interfering with other write requests. (All write requests are applied in the order in which they were received.)

The following program shows how to increment the rating for a movie. Each time you run it, the program increments this attribute by one.

  1. Copy the following program into a file named MoviesItemOps04.py.

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    import json
    import decimal
    
    # Helper class to convert a DynamoDB item to JSON.
    class DecimalEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
        def default(self, o):
            if isinstance(o, decimal.Decimal):
                if o % 1 > 0:
                    return float(o)
                else:
                    return int(o)
            return super(DecimalEncoder, self).default(o)
    
    dynamodb = boto3.resource('dynamodb', region_name='us-west-2', endpoint_url="http://localhost:8000")
    
    table = dynamodb.Table('Movies')
    
    title = "The Big New Movie"
    year = 2015
    
    response = table.update_item(
        Key={
            'year': year,
            'title': title
        },
        UpdateExpression="set info.rating = info.rating + :val",
        ExpressionAttributeValues={
            ':val': decimal.Decimal(1)
        },
        ReturnValues="UPDATED_NEW"
    )
    
    print("UpdateItem succeeded:")
    print(json.dumps(response, indent=4, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    
    
  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesItemOps04.py

Step 3.5: Update an Item (Conditionally)

The following program shows how to use UpdateItem with a condition. If the condition evaluates to true, the update succeeds; otherwise, the update is not performed.

In this case, the item is only updated if there are more than three actors.

  1. Copy the following program into a file named MoviesItemOps05.py.

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    from botocore.exceptions import ClientError
    import json
    import decimal
    
    # Helper class to convert a DynamoDB item to JSON.
    class DecimalEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
        def default(self, o):
            if isinstance(o, decimal.Decimal):
                if o % 1 > 0:
                    return float(o)
                else:
                    return int(o)
            return super(DecimalEncoder, self).default(o)
    
    dynamodb = boto3.resource('dynamodb', region_name='us-west-2', endpoint_url="http://localhost:8000")
    
    table = dynamodb.Table('Movies')
    
    title = "The Big New Movie"
    year = 2015
    
    # Conditional update (will fail)
    print("Attempting conditional update...")
    
    try:
        response = table.update_item(
            Key={
                'year': year,
                'title': title
            },
            UpdateExpression="remove info.actors[0]",
            ConditionExpression="size(info.actors) > :num",
            ExpressionAttributeValues={
                ':num': 3
            },
            ReturnValues="UPDATED_NEW"
        )
    except ClientError as e:
        if e.response['Error']['Code'] == "ConditionalCheckFailedException":
            print(e.response['Error']['Message'])
        else:
            raise
    else:
        print("UpdateItem succeeded:")
        print(json.dumps(response, indent=4, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    
  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesItemOps05.py

    The program should fail with the following message:

    The conditional request failed

    This is because the movie has three actors in it, but the condition is checking for greater than three actors.

  3. Modify the program so that the ConditionExpression looks like this:

    
        ConditionExpression="size(info.actors) >= :num",
    

    The condition is now greater than or equal to 3 instead of greater than 3.

  4. Run the program again. The UpdateItem operation should now succeed.

Step 3.6: Delete an Item

You can use the delete_item method to delete one item by specifying its primary key. You can optionally provide a ConditionExpression to prevent item deletion if the condition is not met.

In the following example, you try to delete a specific movie item if its rating is 5 or less.

  1. Copy the following program into a file named MoviesItemOps06.py.

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    from botocore.exceptions import ClientError
    import json
    import decimal
    
    # Helper class to convert a DynamoDB item to JSON.
    class DecimalEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
        def default(self, o):
            if isinstance(o, decimal.Decimal):
                if o % 1 > 0:
                    return float(o)
                else:
                    return int(o)
            return super(DecimalEncoder, self).default(o)
    
    dynamodb = boto3.resource('dynamodb', region_name='us-west-2', endpoint_url="http://localhost:8000")
    
    table = dynamodb.Table('Movies')
    
    title = "The Big New Movie"
    year = 2015
    
    print("Attempting a conditional delete...")
    
    try:
        response = table.delete_item(
            Key={
                'year': year,
                'title': title
            },
            ConditionExpression="info.rating <= :val",
            ExpressionAttributeValues= {
                ":val": decimal.Decimal(5)
            }
        )
    except ClientError as e:
        if e.response['Error']['Code'] == "ConditionalCheckFailedException":
            print(e.response['Error']['Message'])
        else:
            raise
    else:
        print("DeleteItem succeeded:")
        print(json.dumps(response, indent=4, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    
  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesItemOps06.py

    The program should fail with the following message:

    The conditional request failed

    This is because the rating for this particular move is greater than 5.

  3. Now, modify the program to remove the condition in table.delete_item.

    
    response = table.delete_item(
        Key={
            'year': year,
            'title': title
        }
    )
    
  4. Run the program. Now, the delete succeeds because you removed the condition.

Next Step

Step 4: Query and Scan the Data