[Solved]-How can I make a Django update with a conditional case?


You need to use conditional expressions, like this

from django.db.models import Case, When, F

object = MyData.objects.get(pk=dataID)
now = timezone.now()
object.targetTime = Case(
    When(targetTime__lt=now, then=now + timedelta(days=XX)),
    default=F('targetTime') + timedelta(days=XX)

For debugging, try running this right after save to see what SQL queries have just run:

import pprint
from django.db import connection
pprint.pprint(["queries", connection.queries])

I’ve tested this with integers and it works in Django 1.8, I haven’t tried dates yet so it might need some tweaking.



Django 1.9 added the Greatest and Least database functions. This is an adaptation of Benjamin Toueg‘s answer:

from django.db.models import F
from django.db.models.functions import Greatest

    targetTime=Greatest(F('targetTime'), timezone.now()) + timedelta(days=XX)


Simple Example for Django 3 and above:

from django.db.models import Case, Value, When, F

                    When(xyz__isnull=False, then=Value("this_value")),


If I understand correctly, you take the maximum time between now and the value in database.

If that is so, you can do it in one line with the max function:

from django.db.models import F
MyData.objects.filter(pk=dataID).update(targetTime=max(F('targetTime'),timezone.now()) + timedelta(days=XX))


Instead of using queryset.update(...), use obj.save(update_fields=['field_one', 'field_two']) (see https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/dev/ref/models/instances/#specifying-which-fields-to-save), which won’t overwrite your existing fields.

It’s not possible to do this without a select query first (get), because you’re doing two different things based on a conditional (i.e., you can’t pass that kind of logic to the database with Django – there are limits to what can be achieved with F), but at least this gets you a single insert/update.


I have figured out how to do it with a raw SQL statement:

cursor = connection.cursor()
cursor.execute("UPDATE `mydatabase_name` SET `targetTime` = CASE WHEN `targetTime` < %s THEN %s ELSE (`targetTime` + %s) END WHERE `dataID` = %s", [timezone.now(), timezone.now() + timedelta(days=XX), timedelta(days=XX), dataID])

I’m using this for now and it seems to be accomplishing what I want.

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