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Django alternative to DurationField using dateutil.relativedelta

Project description

A Django field for the dateutil.relativedelta.relativedelta class, which conveniently maps to the PostgreSQL INTERVAL type.

The standard Django DurationField maps to Python’s datetime.timedelta, which has support for days and weeks, but not for years and months. And if you try to read an INTERVAL that contains months anyway, information is lost because each month gets converted to 30 days.

For compatibility, a VARCHAR field is used on other databases. This uses a custom relativedelta representation. However, this means that true in-database interval operations are not supported in these databases. Sorting and comparing between two relativedelta fields or a relativedelta field and a fixed relativedelta value is supported, however.

You should use this package when you need to store payment intervals (which tend to be monthly or quarterly), publication intervals (which can be weekly but also monthly) and so on, or when you simply don’t know what the intervals are going to be and want to offer some flexibility.

If you want to use more advanced recurring dates, you should consider using django-recurrence instead. This maps to the dateutil.rrule.rrule class, but it doesn’t use native database field types, so you can’t perform arithmetic on them within the database.


Using the field is straightforward. You can add the field to your model like so:

from django.db import models
from relativedeltafield import RelativeDeltaField

class MyModel(models.Model):

Then later, you can use it:

from dateutil.relativedelta import relativedelta

rd = relativedelta(months=2,days=1,hours=6)
my_model = MyModel(rdfield=rd)

Or, alternatively, you can use a string with the ISO8601 “format with designators” time interval syntax:

from dateutil.relativedelta import relativedelta

my_model = MyModel(rdfield='P2M1DT6H')

For convenience, a standard Python datetime.timedelta object is also accepted:

from datetime import timedelta

td = timedelta(days=62,hours=6)
my_model = MyModel(rdfield=td)

After a full_clean(), the object will always be converted to a _normalized_ relativedelta instance. It is highly recommended you use the django-fullclean app to always force full_clean() on save(), so you can be sure that after a save(), your fields are both normalized and validated.

Limitations and pitfalls

Because this field is backed by an INTERVAL column, it neither supports the relative weekday, leapdays, yearday and nlyearday arguments, nor the absolute arguments year, month, day, hour, second and microsecond.

The microseconds field is converted to a fractional seconds value, which might lead to some precision loss due to floating-point representation.

The weeks field is “virtual”, being derived from the multiple of 7 days. Thus, any week value in the input interval specification is converted to days and added to the days field of the interval. When serializing back to a string, weeks will never be written. Similarly, if the interval contains a multiple of 7 days, you can read this back out from the weeks property.

Support for databases other than PostgreSQL is limited.

For consistency reasons, when a relativedelta object is assigned to a RelativeDeltaField, it automatically calls normalized() on full_clean. This ensures that the database representation is as similar to the relativedelta as possible (for instance, fractional days are always converted to hours).

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