Data queries in DataJoint comprise two distinct steps:

  1. Construct the relation rel to express the required data -- described in [[Query basics]] and [[Operators]].
  2. Fetch the data into the workspace of the host language -- described in this section.

Fetch works somewhat differently between MATLAB and Python.

Note that tuples returned by fetch methods are not guaranteed to be sorted in any particular order unless specifically requested. Furthermore, the order is not guaranteed to be the same in any two queries and, unless they are wrapped in a transaction, the contents of two identical queries may change between two sequential invocations. Therefore, if you wish to fetch matching pairs of attributes, do so in one fetch call.


Fetch the primary key

Without any arguments, the fetch method retrieves the primary key values of the relation in the form of a column array of struct.

keys = rel.fetch;

Fetch entire relation

The following command retrieves all data from the relation in the form of a column array of type struct.

data = rel.fetch('*');

As separate variables

Two fetch methods are used to retrieve individual attributes fetch1 and fetchn. rel.fetch1 is used when rel is known to contain exactly one tuple. Then the retrieved strings and blobs are retrieved unwrapped. rel.fetchn is used for an arbitrary number of tuples in rel. In this case, strings and blobs are returned in the form of cell arrays.

[name, img] = rel.fetch1('name', 'image')    % when rel has exactly one tuple

[names, imgs] = rel.fetch('name', 'image')    % when rel has any number of tuples

Note that in MATLAB the object can be passed as an argument into its method so that rel.fetchn(...) is equivalent to fetchn(rel, ...). When rel is an expression, only the latter syntax works.

Obtaining the primary key along with individual values

It is often convenient to know the primary key values corresponding to attribute values retrieved by fetchn. This can be done by adding another output argument to receive the key values:

% retrieve names, images, and corresponding primary key values
[names, imgs, keys] = fetchn1(rel, 'name', 'image')   

The resulting value of keys will be a column array of type struct. This mechanism is only implemented for fetchn.

Rename and calculate

In DataJoint for MATLAB, all fetch methods have all the same capability as the [[proj]] operator.

[names, BMIs] = rel.fetchn('name', 'weight/height/height -> bmi')

See the [[proj]] operator for an in-depth description of projection.

Sorting and limiting the results

To sort the result, add the additional ORDER BY argument in fetch and fetchn methods.

% retrieve field `notes` from experiment sessions 
% performed by Alice, sorted by session date
notes = fetchn(experiment.Session & 'operator="alice"', 'note', ...
     'ORDER BY session_date'

The ORDER BY argument is passed directly to SQL and follows the same syntax as the ORDER BY clause

Similarly, the LIMIT and OFFSET clauses can be used to limit the result to a subset of tuples. For example, to return the top most recent sessions, one could do the following:

s = fetch(experiment.Session, '*', 'ORDER BY session_date DESC', 'LIMIT 5')

The limit clause is passed directly to SQL and follows the same rules


Entire relation

The following statement retrieves the entire relation as a numpy.recarray

data = rel.fetch()

To retrieve the data as a list of dict:

data = rel.fetch.as_dict()

Furthermore, the fetch object can be used as a generator for loops:

for row in rel.fetch:
   # row is a dict

As separate variables


Primary key values