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Escaping percent signs and underscores in LIKE statements

The field lookups that equate to LIKE SQL statements (iexactcontainsicontainsstartswithistartswithendswith and iendswith) will automatically escape the two special characters used in LIKE statements – the percent sign and the underscore. (In a LIKE statement, the percent sign signifies a multiple-character wildcard and the underscore signifies a single-character wildcard.)

This means things should work intuitively, so the abstraction doesn’t leak. For example, to retrieve all the entries that contain a percent sign, just use the percent sign as any other character:

>>> Entry.objects.filter(headline__contains='%')

Django takes care of the quoting for you; the resulting SQL will look something like this:

SELECT ... WHERE headline LIKE '%\%%';

Same goes for underscores. Both percentage signs and underscores are handled for you transparently.

Caching and QuerySets

Each QuerySet contains a cache to minimize database access. Understanding how it works will allow you to write the most efficient code.

In a newly created QuerySet, the cache is empty. The first time a QuerySet is evaluated – and, hence, a database query happens – Django saves the query results in the QuerySet’s cache and returns the results that have been explicitly requested (e.g., the next element, if the QuerySet is being iterated over). Subsequent evaluations of the QuerySet reuse the cached results.

Keep this caching behavior in mind, because it may bite you if you don’t use your QuerySets correctly. For example, the following will create two QuerySets, evaluate them, and throw them away: