A simple CRUD wrapper around Amazon DynamoDB
Latest commit b9ba3dd Feb 6, 2016 @garnaat garnaat bumping version



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A simple CRUD wrapper around Amazon DynamoDB.


$ pip install cruddy

Getting Started

The first thing to do is to create a CRUD handler for your DynamoDB table. The constructor for the CRUD class takes a number of parameters to help configure the handler for your application. The full list of parameters are:

  • table_name - name of the backing DynamoDB table (required)
  • profile_name - name of the AWS credential profile to use when creating the boto3 Session
  • region_name - name of the AWS region to use when creating the boto3 Session
  • prototype - a dictionary that describes the prototypical object stored in your table (see below)
  • supported_ops - a list of operations supported by the CRUD handler (choices are list, get, create, update, delete, search, increment_counter)
  • encrypted_attributes - a list of lists or tuples where the first item is the name of the attribute that should be encrypted and the second item is the KMS master key ID to use for encrypting/decrypting the value.
  • debug - if not False this will cause the raw_response to be left in the response dictionary


A prototype is a description of the prototypical item in your table. It's kind of like a template for the item. A prototype can be used to describe what attributes are in the item, which are required or optional, and the type of value that is associated with the attribute. In addition, there are special values you can use that allow a small range of calculated values in your item.

If you don't specify a prototype, cruddy will store whatever values are in the item with no validation or insertion of calculated values.

Let's look at a few examples using prototypes.

  'id': '',
  'created_at': 1,
  'foo': 1

This prototype says that your item must have an id attribute whose value is of type str, a created_at attribute whose value is of type int, and a foo attribute whose value is also an int. Your item may contain other items as well (this is not a schema) but it must contain these attribute name/value pairs. If the item you pass into the create method does not contain these attributes cruddy will create the necessary attributes and will initialize the value to what ever value you have specified.

Calculated Values

The above example assumes that you are going to generate the id and created_at values in your application code. You may, however, prefer to have cruddy handle that for you. In that case, you can make use of cruddy's calcuated value tokens.

  'id': 'on-create:<uuid>',
  'created_at': 'on-create:<timestamp>'

Now, when you create a new item you could supply one without an id or created_at value and cruddy will calculate these values for you. If those attributes already exist in the item, cruddy will not overwrite them. Note that the calulated values are specified as on-create. This is called a trigger and indicates when the calculation will be performed.

If you wanted to also have a timestamp to indicate when an item has been modified (i.e. created or updated) you could do this.

  'id': 'on-create:<uuid>',
  'created_at': 'on-create:<timestamp>',
  'modified_at': 'on-update:<timestamp>'

The currently supported calculated value types are:

  • <uuid> to generate a string representation of a Type4 UUID
  • <timestamp> to generate an integer timestamp generated by int(time.time()*1000)

The currently supported triggers for calculated values are:

  • on-create will be applied when the item is created
  • on-update will be applied when the item is created or updated

Configuring your CRUD handler

An easy way to configure your CRUD handler is to gather all of the parameters together in a dictionary and then pass that dictionary to the class constructor.

import cruddy

params = {
    'profile_name': 'foobar',
    'region_name': 'us-west-2',
    'table_name': 'fiebaz',
    'prototype': {'id': '<on-create:uuid>',
                  'created_at': '<on-create:timestamp>',
                  'modified_at': '<on-update:timestamp>'}

crud = cruddy.CRUD(**params)

Once you have your handler, you can start to use it.

item = {'name': 'the dude', 'email': 'the@dude.com', 'twitter': 'thedude'}
response = crud.create(item)

The response returned from all CRUD operations is a Python object with the following attributes.

  • data is the actual data returned from the CRUD operation (if successful)
  • status is the status of the response and is either success or error
  • metadata is metadata from the underlying DynamoDB API call
  • error_type will be the type of error, if status != 'success'
  • error_code will be the code of error, if status != 'success'
  • error_type will be the full error message, if status != 'success'
  • raw_response will contain the full response from DynamoDB if the CRUD handler is in debug mode.
  • is_successful a simple short-cut, equivalent to status == 'success'

You can convert the CRUDResponse object into a standard Python dictionary using the flatten method

>>> response = crud.create(...)
>>> response.flatten()
{'data': {'created_at': 1452109758363,
  'name': 'the dude',
  'email': 'the@dude.com',
  'twitter': 'thedude',
  'id': 'a6ac0fd7-cdde-4170-a1a9-30e139c44897',
  'modified_at': 1452109758363},
 'error_code': None,
 'error_message': None,
 'error_type': None,
 'metadata': {'HTTPStatusCode': 200,
 'raw_response': None,
 'status': 'success'}

CRUD operations

The CRUD object supports the following operations. Note that depending on the value of the supported_operations parameter passed to the constructor, some of these methods may return an UnsupportedOperation error type.


Returns a list of items in the database. Encrypted attributes are not decrypted when listing items.

get(id, decrypt=False)

Returns the item corresponding to id. If the decrypt param is not False (the default) any encrypted attributes in the item will be decrypted before the item is returned. If not, the encrypted attributes will contain the encrypted value.


Creates a new item. You pass in an item containing initial values. Any attribute names defined in prototype that are missing from the item will be added using the default value defined in prototype.

update(item, encrypt=True)

Updates the item based on the current values of the dictionary passed in. If the encrypt param is True (the default), encrypted attributes in item are encrypted. To prevent double-encrypting when using list or get without decrypt=True, you can specify encrypt=False and the item will be stored verbatim.


Deletes the item corresponding to id.

Beyond CRUD

The following operations extend beyond the basic CRUD functions but are included because of they are quite useful.


Cruddy provides a limited but useful interface to search GSI indexes in DynamoDB with the following limitations (hopefully some of these will be expanded or eliminated in the future.

  • The GSI must be configured with a only HASH and not a RANGE.
  • The only operation supported in the query is equality

To use the search operation you must pass in a query string of this form:


As stated above, the only operation currently supported is equality (=) but other operations will be added over time. Also, the attribute_name must be an attribute which is configured as the HASH of a GSI in the DynamoDB table. If all of the above conditions are met, the query operation will return a list (possibly empty) of all items matching the query and the status of the response will be success. Otherwise, the status will be error and the error_type and error_message will provide further information about the error.

increment_counter(id, counter_name, [increment])

Atomically increments a counter attribute in the item identified by id. You must specify the name of the attribute as counter_name and, optionally, the increment which defaults to 1.

Using the handler interface

In addition to the methods described above, cruddy also provides a generic handler interface. This is mainly useful when you want to wrap a cruddy handler in a Lambda function and then call that Lambda function to access the CRUD capabilities.

To call the handler, you simply put all necessary parameters into a Python dictionary and then call the handler with that dict.

params = {
    'operation': 'create',
    'item': {'foo': 'bar', 'fie': 'baz'}
response = crud.handler(**params)

So, you could define a Lambda function like this:

import logging
import json

import cruddy

LOG = logging.getLogger()

config = json.load(open('config.json'))
crud = cruddy.CRUD(**config)

def handler(event, context):
    response = crud.handler(**event)
    return response.flatten()

Where config.json looks like this:

    "region_name": "us-west-2",
    "table_name": "foobar",
    "prototype": {"id": "<on-create:uuid>",
                  "created_at": "<on-create:timestamp>",
                  "modified_at": "<on-update:timestamp>",
                  "foo": 1,
                  "bar": ""},

If you uploaded this function (and config file) to AWS Lambda you could then invoke the handler like this.

import json

import boto3

session = boto3.Session()
lambda_client = session.client('lambda')

params = {'operation': 'create', 'item': {'fie': 'baz'}}
response = lambda_client.invoke(
cruddy_response = json.load(response['Payload'])

The variable cruddy_response would now contain the response structure returned by cruddy, flattened into a Python dictionary.

The cruddy CLI

cruddy also offers a CLI that allows you to access your DynamoDB table or Lambda-based handler via a simple command line interface. It supports all operations supported by cruddy.

Using the cruddy CLI with a DynamoDB table

To use cruddy to directly interact with a DynamoDB table, you need to place the configuration information for your cruddy handler in a JSON file. So, from our previous example if we created a file called fiebaz.json like this:

    "profile_name": "foobar",
    "region_name": "us-west-2",
    "table_name": "fiebaz",
    "prototype": {"id": "<on-create:uuid>",
                  "created_at": "<on-create:timestamp>",
                  "modified_at": "<on-update:timestamp>"}

We could then reference this when using the cruddy CLI:

$ cruddy --config-file fiebaz.json list
  {<a listing of all items in fiebaz>}

Use the --help for more information on how to use the cruddy CLI.

Using the cruddy CLI with a Lambda handler

All of the operations of the CLI work exactly the same whether you are using it with a DynamoDB table directly or through a Lambda controller. The only difference is that rather than referencing a config file containing info about the table and other parameters needed to create the cruddy CRUD handler, you simply tell the CLI about the Lambda function.

$ cruddy --lambda-fn fiebaz list
  {<a listing of all items in fiebaz>}

where fiebaz is the name of your Lambda handler.