Django Find Records in an Hour

03 December 2020

Here we show how to select all records that occur in an hour. This is useful for cases where you are running an async task at some interval smaller than a day. My first attempts at doing this type of filtering involved providing a start and end datetime. But there is a way to do it more simply by leveraging some database functions.

I needed to schedule microservice calls based on some business logic. We know with async tasks its better to add a field to your model with a time to be acted on rather than delaying tasks (5. Using a Long countdown or an eta in the Far Future.). So with an hourly task, its pretty natural to want to find all records that should be acted upon at that hour. The following example shows running some operation when an Event starts ๐Ÿค—.


class Event(models.Model):
    start = models.DateTimeField(blank=True, null=True)


# In your celery setup area
def setup_periodic_tasks(sender, **kwargs):

# the actual celery task
def do_for_events_this_hour():
    from django.db.models.functions import Now, TruncHour
    from .models import Event

    events_this_hour = (
    for event in events_this_hour:
        print(f"event this hour: {event}")

This basically truncates the datetime start to the nearest hour. And because we run the task every hour we donโ€™t have to worry about the minutes and seconds.

The crontab(minute=15) bit makes the task run at the 15th minute of every hour. The celery crontab api provides an asterisk for the default values of args like hour, day_of_week, etc. So an invocation like


is evaluated like


which is analagous to 15 * * * *. See in crontab.

My original approach involved tracking start and end times

start =
end = start + datetime.timedelta(hours=1)

but you have to worry more about edgecases and this might be slower.

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