Get an Item

Getting an item requires knowing its composite primary key (PK and SK) .

Suppose we want to retrieve the date of an order by a user and we know the order id. Then if we have the following data in the table:

PK SK CreatedOn
USER#alice ORDER#1 2020-02-24

We can get the item with Table.get as follows:

import dokklib_db as db

class User(db.EntityName):
    """User entity name.

    Key value: unique user name, eg. 'alice'.
    Example key: 'USER#alice'.


class Order(db.EntityName):
    """Order entity name.

    Key value: unique order id.
    Example key: 'ORDER#1'.


table = db.Table('SingleTable')

pk = db.PartitionKey(User, 'alice')
sk = db.SortKey(Order, '1')
item = table.get(pk, sk, attributes=['CreatedOn'])
# {'CreatedOn': '2020-02-24'}

Table.get corresponds to the GetItem DynamoDB API operation which is eventually consistent by default. This means that we are not guaranteed to read the latest version of an item, but if we repeat the read and no write occurs, we will eventually receive the latest version. If we need to read the latest version of the item, we can set consistent=True in Table.get:

item = table.get(pk, sk, consistent=True)

This is called a strongly consistent read. The downside of a strongly consistent read is that it takes longer, costs more and may fail due to a temporary degradation in DynamoDB when an eventually consistent read would still succeed.


Check out the Table Setup documentation to learn more about primary keys and entity names.

Last update: March 29, 2020