Yanir Kleiman Yanir Kleiman - 1 year ago 70
Java Question

Google App Engine Performance - Checking Existence of an Object

I am coding a system using Google App Engine and I need to put an object in the datastore only if it doesn't exist yet. I would be fine using the

method, except I need to know whether that object already existed to count the number of new objects I have.

As far as I know I have the following options (suppose I have the key both as an attribute and as the entity key):

private Entity getEntity(String key)
DatastoreService datastore =

// Build a query to select this entity from the database:
Query q = new Query("MyEntity");
// Add a filter for the key attribute:
q.addFilter("key", Query.FilterOperator.EQUAL, key);
PreparedQuery pq = datastore.prepare(q);
// Select a single entity from the database
// (there should be no more than one matching row anyway):
List<Entity> list = pq.asList(FetchOptions.Builder.withLimit(1));

if (!list.isEmpty())
// Return the found entity:
return list.get(0);
return null;


private Entity getEntity(String key)
DatastoreService datastore =

// Get a key that matches this entity:
Key key = KeyFactory.createKey("MyEntity", key);

try {
return datastore.get(key);
} catch (EntityNotFoundException e) {
// Entity does not exist in DB:
return null;

I'm inclined to use the second one as it seems more straight forward, but I'm worried it might not meant to be used that way since it raises an exception, and it may incur overhead.

Which of the methods are better for checking whether an entity exists in the database?

Is there a better way to do that?

Answer Source

Doing a get will be faster unless your entity is large and has many properties - in which case the keys only query is likely to be faster. If performance is likely to be a significant issue here, I would recommend benchmarking to test - but if not, the latter approach is more straightforward.

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