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On this page

  • Overview
  • Expressions
  • Dot Notation
  • Subqueries
  • Operators
  • Comparison Operators
  • Logical Operators
  • String Operators
  • Aggregate Operators
  • Collection Operators
  • Sort, Distinct, Limit
  • Flexible Sync RQL Limitations
  • Unsupported Query Operators in Flexible Sync
  • Embedded or Linked Objects

Realm Database supports a string-based query language to constrain searches when retrieving objects. Queries evaluate a predicate for every object in the collection being queried. If the predicate resolves to true, Realm Database includes the object in the results collection.

You can use Realm Query Language in most Realm SDKs with your SDK's filter or query methods. The Swift SDK is the exception, as it uses the NSPredicate query API.

You can also use Realm Query Language to browse for data in Realm Studio.

Important

Flexible Sync does not support all the operators available in Realm Query Language. See Flexible Sync RQL Limitations for details.

Filters consist of expressions in a predicate. An expression consists of one of the following:

  • The name of a property of the object currently being evaluated.
  • An operator and up to two argument expression(s). For example, in the expression A + B, the entirety of A + B is an expression, but A and B are also argument expressions to the operator +.
  • A value, such as a string ('hello') or a number (5).
"progressMinutes > 1 AND assignee == $0",
"Ali"

When referring to an object property, you can use dot notation to refer to child properties of that object. You can even refer to the properties of embedded objects and relationships with dot notation.

For example, consider a query on an object with a workplace property that refers to a Workplace object. The Workplace object has an embedded object property, address. You can chain dot notations to refer to the zipcode property of that address:

workplace.address.zipcode == 10012

You can iterate through a collection property with another query using the SUBQUERY() predicate function. SUBQUERY() has the following signature:

SUBQUERY(<collection>, <variableName>, <predicate>)
  • collection: the name of the property to iterate through
  • variableName: a variable name of the current element to use in the subquery
  • predicate: a string that contains the subquery predicate. You can use the variable name specified by variableName to refer to the currently-iterated element.

A subquery iterates through the given collection and checks the given predicate against each object in the collection. The predicate may refer to the current iterated object with the variable name passed to SUBQUERY().

A subquery expression resolves to an array. Realm Database only supports the @count aggregate operator on this result. This allows you to count how many objects in the subquery input collection matched the predicate.

You can use the count of the subquery result as you would any other number in a valid expression. In particular, you can compare the count with a number literal (such as 0) or another property (such as quota).

Example

The following example shows two filters on a projects collection.

  • The first returns projects with tasks that have not been completed by a user named Alex.
  • The second returns the projects where the number of completed tasks is greater than or equal to the project's quota value.
"SUBQUERY(tasks, $task, $task.isComplete == false AND $task.assignee == 'Alex').@count > 0"
"SUBQUERY(tasks, $task, $task.isComplete == true).@count >= quota"
Note
About the Examples On This Page

The examples in this page use a simple data set for a task list app. The two Realm object types are Project and Task. A Task has a name, assignee's name, and completed flag. There is also an arbitrary number for priority -- higher is more important -- and a count of minutes spent working on it. A Project has zero or more Tasks and an optional quota for minimum number of tasks expected to be completed.

See the schema for these two classes, Project and Task, below:

class Task {
ObjectId id;
string name;
bool isComplete;
string? assignee;
int priority;
int progressMinutes;
}
class Project {
ObjectId id;
string name;
Task[] tasks;
int? quota;
}

There are several types of operators available to query a Realm collection. With these operators, you can:

  • Compare values
  • Perform logical evaluations
  • Compare string values
  • Aggregate collection properties
  • Evaluate sets
  • Sort and limit results

The most straightforward operation in a search is to compare values.

Important
Types Must Match

The type on both sides of the operator must be equivalent. For example, comparing an ObjectId with string will result in a precondition failure with a message like:

"Expected object of type object id for property 'id' on object of type
'User', but received: 11223344556677889900aabb (Invalid value)"

You can compare any numeric type with any other numeric type, including decimal, float, and Decimal128.

Operator
Description
between
Evaluates to true if the left-hand numerical or date expression is between or equal to the right-hand range. For dates, this evaluates to true if the left-hand date is within the right-hand date range.
==, =
Evaluates to true if the left-hand expression is equal to the right-hand expression.
>
Evaluates to true if the left-hand numerical or date expression is greater than the right-hand numerical or date expression. For dates, this evaluates to true if the left-hand date is later than the right-hand date.
>=
Evaluates to true if the left-hand numerical or date expression is greater than or equal to the right-hand numerical or date expression. For dates, this evaluates to true if the left-hand date is later than or the same as the right-hand date.
in
Evaluates to true if the left-hand expression is in the right-hand list or string.
<
Evaluates to true if the left-hand numerical or date expression is less than the right-hand numerical or date expression. For dates, this evaluates to true if the left-hand date is earlier than the right-hand date.
<=
Evaluates to true if the left-hand numeric expression is less than or equal to the right-hand numeric expression. For dates, this evaluates to true if the left-hand date is earlier than or the same as the right-hand date.
!=, <>
Evaluates to true if the left-hand expression is not equal to the right-hand expression.
Example

The following example uses the query engine's comparison operators to:

  • Find high priority tasks by comparing the value of the priority property value with a threshold number, above which priority can be considered high.
  • Find long-running tasks by seeing if the progressMinutes property is at or above a certain value.
  • Find unassigned tasks by finding tasks where the assignee property is equal to null.
  • Find tasks within a certain time range by finding tasks where the progressMinutes property is between two numbers.
"priority > 5"
"progressMinutes > 120"
"assignee == nil"
"progressMinutes BETWEEN { 30,60 }"

You can make compound predicates using logical operators.

Operator
Description
AND
&&
Evaluates to true if both left-hand and right-hand expressions are true.
NOT
!
Negates the result of the given expression.
OR
||
Evaluates to true if either expression returns true.
Example

We can use the query language's logical operators to find all of Ali's completed tasks. That is, we find all tasks where the assignee property value is equal to 'Ali' AND the isComplete property value is true:

"assignee == 'Ali' AND isComplete == true"

You can compare string values using these string operators. Regex-like wildcards allow more flexibility in search.

Note

You can use the following modifiers with the string operators:

  • [c] for case insensitivity.

    "name CONTAINS[c] 'a'"
Operator
Description
beginsWith
Evaluates to true if the left-hand string expression begins with the right-hand string expression. This is similar to contains, but only matches if the right-hand string expression is found at the beginning of the left-hand string expression.
in
Evaluates to true if the left-hand string expression is found anywhere in the right-hand string expression.
contains
Evaluates to true if the right-hand string expression is found anywhere in the left-hand string expression.
endsWith
Evaluates to true if the left-hand string expression ends with the right-hand string expression. This is similar to contains, but only matches if the left-hand string expression is found at the very end of the right-hand string expression.
like

Evaluates to true if the left-hand string expression matches the right-hand string wildcard string expression. A wildcard string expression is a string that uses normal characters with two special wildcard characters:

  • The * wildcard matches zero or more of any character
  • The ? wildcard matches any character.

For example, the wildcard string "d?g" matches "dog", "dig", and "dug", but not "ding", "dg", or "a dog".

==, =
Evaluates to true if the left-hand string is lexicographically equal to the right-hand string.
!=, <>
Evaluates to true if the left-hand string is not lexicographically equal to the right-hand string.
Example

We use the query engine's string operators to find:

  • Projects with a name starting with the letter 'e'
  • Projects with names that contain 'ie'
"name BEGINSWITH[c] 'e'"
"name CONTAINS 'ie'"

You can apply an aggregate operator to a collection property of a Realm object. Aggregate operators traverse a collection and reduce it to a single value.

Operator
Description
@avg
Evaluates to the average value of a given numerical property across a collection. If any values are null, they are not counted in the result.
@count
Evaluates to the number of objects in the given collection. This is currently only supported on to-many relationship collections and not on lists of primitives. In order to use @count on a list of primitives, consider wrapping the primitives in a Realm object.
@max
Evaluates to the highest value of a given numerical property across a collection. null values are ignored.
@min
Evaluates to the lowest value of a given numerical property across a collection. null values are ignored.
@sum
Evaluates to the sum of a given numerical property across a collection, excluding null values.
Example

These examples all query for projects containing tasks that meet this criteria:

  • Projects with average task priority above 5.
  • Projects with a task whose priority is less than 5.
  • Projects with a task whose priority is greater than 5.
  • Projects with more than 5 tasks.
  • Projects with long-running tasks.
"tasks.@avg.priority > 5"
"tasks.@max.priority < 5"
"tasks.@min.priority > 5"
"tasks.@count > 5"
"tasks.@sum.progressMinutes > 100"

A collection operator uses specific rules to determine whether to pass each input collection object to the output collection by applying a given predicate to every element of a given list property of the object.

Operator
Description
ALL
Returns objects where the predicate evaluates to true for all objects in the collection.
ANY, SOME
Returns objects where the predicate evaluates to true for any objects in the collection.
NONE
Returns objects where the predicate evaluates to false for all objects in the collection.
Example

We use the query engine's collection operators to find:

  • Projects with no complete tasks.
  • Projects with any top priority tasks.
"NONE tasks.isComplete == true"
"ANY tasks.priority == 10"

You can use additional operators in your queries to sort and limit the results collection.

Operator
Description
SORT
Specify the name of the property to compare. You can optionally specify ascending (ASC) or descending (DESC) order. If you specify multiple SORT fields, the query sorts by the first field, and then the second. For example, if you SORT (priority, name), the query returns sorted by priority, and then by name when priority value is the same.
DISTINCT
Specify a name of the property to compare. Remove duplicates for that property in the results collection. If you specify multiple DISTINCT fields, the query removes duplicates by the first field, and then the second. For example, if you DISTINCT (name, assignee), the query only removes duplicates where the values of both properties are the same.
LIMIT
Limit the results collection to the specified number.
Example

We use the query engine's sort, distinct, and limit operators to find:

  • Tasks where the assignee is Ali

    • Sorted by priority in descending order
    • Enforcing uniqueness by name
    • Limiting the results to 5 tasks
"assignee = 'Ali' SORT(priority DESC) DISTINCT(name) LIMIT(5)"

Flexible Sync has some limitations when using RQL operators. When you write the query subscription that determines which data to sync, the server does not support these query operators. However, you can still use the full range of RQL features to query the synced data set in the client application.

Operator Type
Unsupported Operators
Comparison Operators
BETWEEN, IN
Case-Insensitive Queries
[c]
String Operators
beginsWith, endsWith, contains, like, in
Aggregate Operators
@avg, @count, @max, @min, @sum
Collection Operators
ANY, SOME, ALL, NONE
Query Suffixes
DISTINCT, SORT, LIMIT

The recommended workaround for the BETWEEN comparison operator is to combine range operators with AND for this type of query, instead. For example, field > 100 AND field < 200.

Flexible Sync does not support querying on properties in Embedded Objects or links. For example, obj1.field = “foo”.

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