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

Step 4: Query and Scan the Data

You can use the query method to retrieve data from a table. You must specify a partition key value; the sort key is optional.

The primary key for the Movies table is composed of the following:

  • year – The partition key. The attribute type is number. 

  • title – The sort key. The attribute type is string.

To find all movies released during a year, you need to specify only the year. You can also provide the title to retrieve a subset of movies based on some condition (on the sort key). For example, to find movies released in 2014 that have a title starting with the letter "A".

In addition to query, there is also a scan method that can retrieve all of the table data.

To learn more about querying and scanning data, see Query and Scan in the Amazon DynamoDB Developer Guide.

Step 4.1: Query - All Movies Released in a Year

The program included in this step retrieves all movies released in the year 1985.

  1. Copy the following program into a file named MoviesQuery01.py.

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    import json
    import decimal
    from boto3.dynamodb.conditions import Key, Attr
    
    # 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')
    
    print("Movies from 1985")
    
    response = table.query(
        KeyConditionExpression=Key('year').eq(1985)
    )
    
    for i in response['Items']:
        print(i['year'], ":", i['title'])
    

    Note

    The Boto 3 SDK constructs a ConditionExpression for you when you use the Key and Attr functions imported from boto3.dynamodb.conditions. You can also specify a ConditionExpression as a string.

    For a list of available conditions for DynamoDB, see the DynamoDB Conditions in AWS SDK for Python (Boto 3) Getting Started.

    For more information, see Condition Expressions in the Amazon DynamoDB Developer Guide.

  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesQuery01.py

Note

The preceding program shows how to query a table by its primary key attributes. In DynamoDB, you can optionally create one or more secondary indexes on a table, and query those indexes in the same way that you query a table. Secondary indexes give your applications additional flexibility by allowing queries on non-key attributes. For more information about secondary indexes, see Secondary Indexes in the Amazon DynamoDB Developer Guide.

Step 4.2: Query - All Movies Released in a Year with Certain Titles

The program included in this step retrieves all movies released in year 1992, with title beginning with the letter "A" through the letter "L".

  1. Copy the following program into a file named MoviesQuery02.py:

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    import json
    import decimal
    from boto3.dynamodb.conditions import Key, Attr
    
    # Helper class to convert a DynamoDB item to JSON.
    class DecimalEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
        def default(self, o):
            if isinstance(o, decimal.Decimal):
                return str(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')
    
    print("Movies from 1992 - titles A-L, with genres and lead actor")
    
    response = table.query(
        ProjectionExpression="#yr, title, info.genres, info.actors[0]",
        ExpressionAttributeNames={ "#yr": "year" }, # Expression Attribute Names for Projection Expression only.
        KeyConditionExpression=Key('year').eq(1992) & Key('title').between('A', 'L')
    )
    
    for i in response[u'Items']:
        print(json.dumps(i, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    
  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesQuery02.py

Step 4.3: Scan

The scan method reads every item in the entire table, and returns all of the data in the table. You can provide an optional filter_expression, so that only the items matching your criteria are returned. However, note that the filter is only applied after the entire table has been scanned.

The following program scans the entire Movies table, which contains approximately 5,000 items. The scan specifies the optional filter to retrieve only the movies from the 1950s (approximately 100 items), and discard all of the others.

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

    from __future__ import print_function # Python 2/3 compatibility
    import boto3
    import json
    import decimal
    from boto3.dynamodb.conditions import Key, Attr
    
    # 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')
    
    fe = Key('year').between(1950, 1959);
    pe = "#yr, title, info.rating"
    # Expression Attribute Names for Projection Expression only.
    ean = { "#yr": "year", }
    esk = None
    
    
    response = table.scan(
        FilterExpression=fe,
        ProjectionExpression=pe,
        ExpressionAttributeNames=ean
        )
    
    for i in response['Items']:
        print(json.dumps(i, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    
    while 'LastEvaluatedKey' in response:
        response = table.scan(
            ProjectionExpression=pe,
            FilterExpression=fe,
            ExpressionAttributeNames= ean,
            ExclusiveStartKey=response['LastEvaluatedKey']
            )
    
        for i in response['Items']:
            print(json.dumps(i, cls=DecimalEncoder))
    

    In the code, note the following:

    • ProjectionExpression specifies the attributes you want in the scan result.

    • FilterExpression specifies a condition that returns only items that satisfy the condition. All other items are discarded.

    • The scan method returns a subset of the the items each time, called a page. The LastEvaluatedKey value in the response is then passed to the scan method via the ExclusiveStartKey parameter. When the last page is returned, LastEvaluatedKey is not part of the response.

    Note

    • ExpressionAttributeNames provides name substitution. We use this because year is a reserved word in DynamoDB—you cannot use it directly in any expression, including KeyConditionExpression. We use the expression attribute name #yr to address this.

    • ExpressionAttributeValues provides value substitution. We use this because you cannot use literals in any expression, including KeyConditionExpression. We use the expression attribute value :yyyy to address this.

  2. Type the following command to run the program:

    python MoviesScan.py

Note

You can also use the Scan operation with any secondary indexes that you have created on the table. For more information about secondary indexes, see Secondary Indexes in the Amazon DynamoDB Developer Guide.

Next Step

Step 5: (Optional) Delete the Table