Inserting/Updating Data

Inserting Data

The DynamoDB PutItem API is used to create a new item or to replace existing items completely with a new item. It is invoked using the put-item CLI command.

Let’s say we wanted to insert a new item into the Reply table:

aws dynamodb put-item \
    --table-name Reply \
    --item '{
        "Id" : {"S": "Amazon DynamoDB#DynamoDB Thread 2"},
        "ReplyDateTime" : {"S": "2021-04-27T17:47:30Z"},
        "Message" : {"S": "DynamoDB Thread 2 Reply 3 text"},
        "PostedBy" : {"S": "User C"}
    }' \
    --return-consumed-capacity TOTAL

We can see in the response that this request consume 1 WCU:

    "ConsumedCapacity": {
        "TableName": "Reply",
        "CapacityUnits": 1.0

Updating Data

The DynamoDB UpdateItem API is used to create a new item or to replace existing items completely with a new item. It is invoked using the update-item CLI command. This API requires you to specify the full Primary Key and can selectively modify specific attributes without changing others(you don’t need to pass in the full item).

The update-item API call also allows you to specify a ConditionExpression, meaning the Update request will only execute if the ConditionExpression is satisfied. For more information please see Condition Expressions in the Developer Guide.

Let’s say we want to update the Forum item for DynamoDB to note that there are 5 messages how instead of 4, we only want that change to execute if no other processing thread has updated the item first. This allows us to create idempotent modifications. For more information on idempotent changes please see Working With Items in the Developer Guide.

To do this from the CLI, we would run:

aws dynamodb update-item \
    --table-name Forum \
    --key '{
        "Name" : {"S": "Amazon DynamoDB"}
    }' \
    --update-expression "SET Messages = :newMessages" \
    --condition-expression "Messages = :oldMessages" \
    --expression-attribute-values '{
        ":oldMessages" : {"N": "4"},
        ":newMessages" : {"N": "5"}
    }' \
    --return-consumed-capacity TOTAL

Note that if you run this exact same command again you will see this error:

An error occurred (ConditionalCheckFailedException) when calling the UpdateItem operation: The conditional request failed

Because the Messages attribute had already been incremented to 5 in the previous update-item call, the second request fails with a ConditionalCheckFailedException.


Update the ProductCatalog item where Id=201 to add new colors “Blue” and “Yellow” to the list of colors for that bike type. Then use the API to remove those “Blue” and “Yellow” list entries to return it to the original state.

Hint: The Update Expressions page in the Developer Guide has sections on Appending and Removing Elements in a List.

The solution is expandable below but try to figure it out yourself before moving forward.

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