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How to use F() Expression

In this tutorial, we will learn about the query expression, the F expression, and how to use it in the QuerySet. Let's have a brief introduction to Query Expressions.

What is query expression?

Query expression signifies the value or a computational that can be a part of an update, create, filter, order by, annotation or aggregate. If an expression returns the outputs in Boolean, it may be used directly in filters. Django provides many built-in expressions that help us to write queries. Query expression can be nested or combined.

Class F() Expression

An F() object specifies the value of a model field, or it refers to the model field values directly in the database. Let's have a simple example, A Student class with a fees field, and we want to increase the 20 percent fees of the student.

It can be done as below.

We can do this in the single query with the use of F() expression.

We can also use the following method.

But take care with this kind of assignment. The F() object persist after saving the model.

After the update of the field, that particular field will contain an instance of django.db.models.expression.CombinedExpression, instead of actual result. We can access the result immediately as follows.

We can also use the annotation of the data.

Since fees is a DecimalField and rollno is an IntergerField, we need to wrap the expression inside an ExpressionWrapper object.

It can be used to filter data as well.

The F() expression can offer the following advantages.

  • It helps us to get the database, and restrict Python to access database.
  • It helps to reduce the number of queries for specific operation.

Avoiding race condition using F()

The F() expression also provides additional features like updating a field's value avoids a race condition.

Let's understand it in a better way - If two Python threads execute the code, the one thread could retrieve, increment, and save a field's value after the other threads have retrieved it from the database. The value that is saved by the thread will be based on the original value. The process of the first thread will be used.

Every time the database is involved in updating the field, the process will become more robust. The F() expression will update the field based on the value of the field in the database when the save() or update() is executed.

Using F() to sort null values

We can sort the null values using the F() and nulls_first or nulls_last keyword argument to asc() or desc() to control the ordering of a field's null values.

Let's see the below example to sort the students who haven't been paid fees after the new semester.

Func() Expression

Func() expression are involved in the database function such as COALESCE and LOWER or aggregates like SUM. We can use them directly.

Example -

Aggregate Expressions

The Aggregation expression is an important component of a Func() expression. It informs the query that a GROUP BY clause is required. All aggregates function inherits function inherits from Aggregate().

Example -

Value() Expression

A Value() object represents the smallest component of an expression. We can represent the integer, Boolean, or string values within the expression using the Value().

The Value() Expression is rarely used directly. When we write the expression F('field') + 1, Django implicitly wraps the 1 in the Value(), allowing simple values to be used in the more complex expression.

The value argument automatically includes the value in the expression, and these values can be 1, True, or None. Django converts these Python values into their corresponding database type. The output_field argument must be a model field instance such as IntegerField() or BooleanField().

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