Django ORM: Filter by extra attribute


I want to filter some database objects by a concatenated string.

The normal SQL query would be:

SELECT concat(firstName, ' ', name) FROM person WHERE CONCAT(firstName, ' ', name) LIKE "a%";

In the model, I have created a manager called PersonObjects:

class PersonObjects(Manager):
    attrs = { 
        'fullName': "CONCAT(firstName, ' ', name)"

    def get_query_set(self):
        return super(PersonObjects, self).get_query_set().extra(

I also configured this in my model:

objects = managers.PersonObjects()

Now accessing fullName works for single objects:

>>> p = models.Person.objects.get(pk=4)
>>> p.fullName
u'Fred Borminski'

But it does not work in a filter:

>>> p = models.Person.objects.filter(fullName__startswith='Alexei')
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<console>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/db/models/", line 141, in filter
    return self.get_query_set().filter(*args, **kwargs)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/db/models/", line 550, in filter
    return self._filter_or_exclude(False, *args, **kwargs)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/db/models/", line 568, in _filter_or_exclude
    clone.query.add_q(Q(*args, **kwargs))
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/db/models/sql/", line 1128, in add_q
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/db/models/sql/", line 1026, in add_filter
    negate=negate, process_extras=process_extras)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/db/models/sql/", line 1191, in setup_joins
    "Choices are: %s" % (name, ", ".join(names)))
FieldError: Cannot resolve keyword 'fullName' into field. Choices are: firstName, gender, name, (...)

Is this a bug or a feature? How can I fix this?


12/19/2015 8:28:59 AM

Accepted Answer

It's not a bug. filter() only inspects model definitions, so it doesn't recognize fullName as a declared field (because it's not - it's an extra argument in a query).

You can add the fullName to WHERE using extra():

Person.objects.extra(where=["fullName LIKE %s"], params=["Alexei%"])
12/3/2010 6:40:36 PM

I solved this by implementing a custom Aggregate function. In this case I needed to concatenate individual fields into a street address to be able to filter/search for matches. The following aggregate function allows to specify a field and one or more others to perform a SQL CONCAT_WS.

Edit 3 Aug 2015:

A better implementation with details gleaned from The previous implementation would fail if the queryset was used in a subquery. The table names are now correct, although I note that this just works for concatenation of columns from the same table.

from django.db.models import Aggregate
from django.db.models.sql.aggregates import Aggregate as SQLAggregate

class SqlAggregate(SQLAggregate):
    sql_function = 'CONCAT_WS'
    sql_template = u'%(function)s(" ", %(field)s, %(columns_to_concatenate)s)'

    def as_sql(self, qn, connection):
        self.extra['columns_to_concatenate'] = ', '.join(
        ['.'.join([qn(self.col[0]), qn(c.strip())]) for c in self.extra['with_columns'].split(',')])
        return super(SqlAggregate, self).as_sql(qn, connection)

class Concatenate(Aggregate):
    sql = SqlAggregate

    def __init__(self, expression, **extra):
        super(Concatenate, self).__init__(

    def add_to_query(self, query, alias, col, source, is_summary):

        aggregate = self.sql(col,

        query.aggregates[alias] = aggregate

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