How to do a proper upsert using sqlalchemy on postgresql?


I would like to do an upsert using the "new" functionality added by postgresql 9.5, using sqlalchemy core. While it is implemented, I’m pretty confused by the syntax, which I can’t adapt to my needs.
Here is a sample code of what I would like to be able to do :

from sqlalchemy.ext.declarative import declarative_base

Base = declarative_base()
class User(Base):
    __tablename__ = 'test'
    a_id = Column('id',Integer, primary_key=True)
    a = Column("a",Integer)

engine = create_engine('postgres://name:[email protected]/test')
meta = MetaData(engine)
table = Table('test', meta, autoload=True)
conn = engine.connect()

from sqlalchemy.dialects.postgresql import insert as psql_insert
stmt = psql_insert(table).values({
    table.c['id']: bindparam('id'),
    table.c['a']: bindparam('a'),
stmt = stmt.on_conflict_do_update(
    set_={'a': bindparam('a')},
list_of_dictionary = [{'id':1, 'a':1, }, {'id':2, 'a':2,}]
conn.execute(stmt, list_of_dictionary)

I basically want to insert a bulk of rows, and if one id is already taken, I want to update it with the value I initially wanted to insert.
However sqlalchemy throw me this error :

CompileError: bindparam() name 'a' is reserved for automatic usage in the VALUES or SET clause of this insert/update statement.   Please use a name other than column name when using bindparam() with insert() or update() (for example, 'b_a').

While it is a known issue (see!topic/sqlalchemy/VwiUlF1cz_o), I didn’t found any proper answer that does not require to modify either the keys of list_of_dictionary or the name of your columns.

I want to know if there is a way of constructing stmt in a way to have a consistent behavior that does not depends on whether the keys of the variable list_of_dictionary are the name of the columns of the inserted table (my code works without error in those cases).


this does the trick for me:

from sqlalchemy import create_engine
from sqlalchemy import MetaData, Table
from sqlalchemy.dialects import postgresql
from sqlalchemy.inspection import inspect

def upsert(engine, schema, table_name, records=[]):

    metadata = MetaData(schema=schema)
    metadata.bind = engine

    table = Table(table_name, metadata, schema=schema, autoload=True)

    # get list of fields making up primary key
    primary_keys = [ for key in inspect(table).primary_key]

    # assemble base statement
    stmt = postgresql.insert(table).values(records)

    # define dict of non-primary keys for updating
    update_dict = { c
        for c in stmt.excluded
        if not c.primary_key

    # cover case when all columns in table comprise a primary key
    # in which case, upsert is identical to 'on conflict do nothing.
    if update_dict == {}:
        warnings.warn('no updateable columns found for table')
        # we still wanna insert without errors
        insert_ignore(table_name, records)
        return None

    # assemble new statement with 'on conflict do update' clause
    update_stmt = stmt.on_conflict_do_update(

    # execute
    with engine.connect() as conn:
        result = conn.execute(update_stmt)
        return result

Answered By – ryantuck

This Answer collected from stackoverflow, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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