Sql expressions and functions with Django.

Django by default, provides a wide range of field types and generic lookups for queries. This in many cases is more than enough. But there are cases where you need to use types defined for yourself and search operators that are not defined in django lookups and another important case is to make searches requiring the execution of some function in WHERE clause.

djorm-ext-expressions tries to solve these problems, adding the ability to build complex expressions and use database functions through a simple API.

The current api exposes the following classes:

  • djorm_expressions.base.RawExpression
  • djorm_expressions.base.SqlExpression
  • djorm_expressions.base.SqlFunction
  • djorm_expressions.base.AND
  • djorm_expressions.base.OR
  • djorm_expressions.models.ExpressionQuerySetMixin
  • djorm_expressions.models.ExpressionManagerMixin
  • djorm_expressions.models.ExpressionQuerySet
  • djorm_expressions.models.ExpressionManager

Custom aggregate functions.

As I said before, native django orm annotations only supports predefined types that return integers or float. To solve this problem, djorm-ext-expressions introduces new method annotate_functions available on the custom manager and queryset, and SqlFunction class for define custom functions.

from django.db import models
from djorm_expressions.models import ExpressionManager
from djorm_expressions.base import SqlFunction

# Define a python class that represents a database function.

class BitLength(SqlFunction):
    sql_function = "bit_length"

class Person(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    objects = ExpressionManager()

And here, a simple usage example:

queryset = Person.objects.annotate_functions(
    bitlength = BitLength("name")

Each object of a queryset, now contains a bitlength attribute with corresponding value, without any limitation of aggregate subsystem of django.

Complex expressions using predefined functions

With the same model in the previous example, we imagine that we want to make a search using the bit_length function. With django standard API, we are required to write SQL for this case.

With djorm-ext-expressions we do not have that problem, and for that you have entered the method where() and class SqlExpression.

Here, simle query, using BitLength function class:

queryset = Person.objects.where(
    SqlExpression(BitLength("name"), ">", 20)

Obviously, you can no use the BitLength function, and perform a simple query:

queryset = Person.objects.where(
    SqlExpression("name", "=", u"pepe")

Additionally, it may increase the complexity of the query, using AND and OR expresions:

expression = OR(
    SqlExpression(BitLength("name"), ">", 20),
    SqlExpression(BitLength("name"), "<", 100),

queryset = Person.objects.where(expression)

NOTE: you can use the django double underscore notation on the field name for automaticaly setup joins.

Using expressions with custom operators not defined on django lookup subsystem

PostgreSQL has many types, in addition to the SQL standard, such as arrays. For arrays, there are several operators to perform complex searches. A clear example: search if an array is contained by the other.

SqlExpression helps us for this kind of search:

from django.db import models
from djorm_expressions.models import ExpressionManager
from djorm_pgarray.fields import ArrayField

class Register(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    points = ArrayField(dbtype="int")
    objects = ExpressionManager()

# Simple query using contains operator
qs = Register.objects.where(
    SqlExpression("points", "@>", [2,3])

NOTE: ArrayField is part of djorm-ext-pgarray module available in pypi.

And, finally can redefine the "SqlExpression" class, and make it more "object oriented":

class ArrayExpression(object):
    def __init__(self, field):
        self.field = field

    def contains(self, value):
        return SqlExpression(self.field, "@>", value)

    def overlap(self, value):
        return SqlExpression(self.field, "&&", value)

# search all register items that points field contains [2,3]
queryset = Register.objects.where(

How to install

You can clone the repo from github and install with simple python setup.py install command. Or use a pip, for install it from Python Package Index.

pip install djorm-ext-expressions