In Django, how does one filter a QuerySet with dynamic field lookups?


Given a class:

from django.db import models

class Person(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=20)

Is it possible, and if so how, to have a QuerySet that filters based on dynamic arguments? For example:

 # Instead of:
 # ... and:

 # ... is there some way, given:
 filter_by = '{0}__{1}'.format('name', 'startswith')
 filter_value = 'B'

 # ... that you can run the equivalent of this?
 # ... which will throw an exception, since `filter_by` is not
 # an attribute of `Person`.
12/25/2017 3:07:32 PM

Accepted Answer

Python's argument expansion may be used to solve this problem:

kwargs = {
    '{0}__{1}'.format('name', 'startswith'): 'A',
    '{0}__{1}'.format('name', 'endswith'): 'Z'


This is a very common and useful Python idiom.

2/17/2014 5:57:44 AM

A simplified example:

In a Django survey app, I wanted an HTML select list showing registered users. But because we have 5000 registered users, I needed a way to filter that list based on query criteria (such as just people who completed a certain workshop). In order for the survey element to be re-usable, I needed for the person creating the survey question to be able to attach those criteria to that question (don't want to hard-code the query into the app).

The solution I came up with isn't 100% user friendly (requires help from a tech person to create the query) but it does solve the problem. When creating the question, the editor can enter a dictionary into a custom field, e.g.:


That string is stored in the database. In the view code, it comes back in as self.question.custom_query . The value of that is a string that looks like a dictionary. We turn it back into a real dictionary with eval() and then stuff it into the queryset with **kwargs:

kwargs = eval(self.question.custom_query)
user_list = User.objects.filter(**kwargs).order_by("last_name")   

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