What are Conditional Writes in AWS DynamoDB

Carvia Tech | August 12, 2019 | 2 min read | 342 views | Amazon DynamoDB AWS Services

By default, the DynamoDB write operations (PutItem, UpdateItem, DeleteItem) are unconditional: each of these operations will overwrite an existing item that has the specified primary key. DynamoDB provides mechanism to implement conditional writes that ensures no other write request interferes with the current operation. Conditional writes are of great importance for banking application that do not tolerate over-counting or under-counting.

First of all we need to configure properties for accessing dynamoDB ./src/main/resources/application.yml

  accessKey : <your-aws-access-key>
  secretKey : <your-aws-secret>
  region : <dynamo-db-region>
  dynamodb :

Step 2. Configure DynamoDB

We need to create a bean for AmazonDynamoDBClient and DynamoDB so that we can utilize them as and when required.

public class DynamoConfig {
    private static final Logger logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(DynamoConfig.class);

    AmazonDynamoDBClient dbClient(@Value("${aws.dynamodb.endpoint}") String amazonDynamoDBEndpoint, AWSSettings awsSettings) {
        AmazonDynamoDBClient dbClient = new AmazonDynamoDBClient(
                new BasicAWSCredentials(awsSettings.getAccessKey(), awsSettings.getSecretKey()));
        logger.info("DB Endpoint is " + amazonDynamoDBEndpoint);
        if (!StringUtils.isEmpty(amazonDynamoDBEndpoint)) {
        if (awsSettings.getRegion().equalsIgnoreCase("local")) {
        return dbClient;

    DynamoDB dynamoDB(AmazonDynamoDBClient client) {
        return new DynamoDB(client);

Step 3. Create DAO layer

DAO layer for condtional writes utlizes UpdateExpression and ConditionExpression as shown in the below code.

Conditional Write based on current value of attribute
public void incrementViewsUsingConditionalExpression(String contentId, long newValue, long expected) {
    Table table = dynamoDB.getTable("local-content");
    UpdateItemSpec updateItemSpec = new UpdateItemSpec()
            .withPrimaryKey("id", contentId)
            .withUpdateExpression("SET #fn = :newval")
            .withConditionExpression("#fn = :currval")
            .withNameMap(new NameMap()
                    .with("#fn", "views")
            .withValueMap(new ValueMap()
                    .withNumber(":newval", newValue)
                    .withNumber(":currval", expected)

    UpdateItemOutcome outcome = table.updateItem(updateItemSpec);

The above code will only update attribute named views to newval if expected value is equal to currval.

That’s all

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