Update API

The update API allows to update a document based on a script provided. The operation gets the document (collocated with the shard) from the index, runs the script (with optional script language and parameters), and index back the result (also allows to delete, or ignore the operation). It uses versioning to make sure no updates have happened during the "get" and "reindex".

Note, this operation still means full reindex of the document, it just removes some network roundtrips and reduces chances of version conflicts between the get and the index. The _source field needs to be enabled for this feature to work.

For example, lets index a simple doc:

PUT test/type1/1
{
    "counter" : 1,
    "tags" : ["red"]
}

Scripted updates

Now, we can execute a script that would increment the counter:

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "script" : {
        "inline": "ctx._source.counter += params.count",
        "lang": "painless",
        "params" : {
            "count" : 4
        }
    }
}

We can add a tag to the list of tags (note, if the tag exists, it will still add it, since its a list):

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "script" : {
        "inline": "ctx._source.tags.add(params.tag)",
        "lang": "painless",
        "params" : {
            "tag" : "blue"
        }
    }
}

In addition to _source, the following variables are available through the ctx map: _index, _type, _id, _version, _routing, _parent, and _now (the current timestamp).

We can also add a new field to the document:

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "script" : "ctx._source.new_field = \"value_of_new_field\""
}

Or remove a field from the document:

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "script" : "ctx._source.remove(\"new_field\")"
}

And, we can even change the operation that is executed. This example deletes the doc if the tags field contain green, otherwise it does nothing (noop):

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "script" : {
        "inline": "if (ctx._source.tags.contains(params.tag)) { ctx.op = \"delete\" } else { ctx.op = \"none\" }",
        "lang": "painless",
        "params" : {
            "tag" : "green"
        }
    }
}

Updates with a partial document

The update API also support passing a partial document, which will be merged into the existing document (simple recursive merge, inner merging of objects, replacing core "keys/values" and arrays). For example:

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "doc" : {
        "name" : "new_name"
    }
}

If both doc and script are specified, then doc is ignored. Best is to put your field pairs of the partial document in the script itself.

Detecting noop updates

If doc is specified its value is merged with the existing _source. By default updates that don’t change anything detect that they don’t change anything and return "result": "noop" like this:

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "doc" : {
        "name" : "new_name"
    }
}

If name was new_name before the request was sent then the entire update request is ignored. The result element in the response returns noop if the request was ignored.

{
   "_shards": {
        "total": 0,
        "successful": 0,
        "failed": 0
   },
   "_index": "test",
   "_type": "type1",
   "_id": "1",
   "_version": 6,
   "result": noop
}

You can disable this behavior by setting "detect_noop": false like this:

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "doc" : {
        "name" : "new_name"
    },
    "detect_noop": false
}

Upserts

If the document does not already exist, the contents of the upsert element will be inserted as a new document. If the document does exist, then the script will be executed instead:

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "script" : {
        "inline": "ctx._source.counter += params.count",
        "lang": "painless",
        "params" : {
            "count" : 4
        }
    },
    "upsert" : {
        "counter" : 1
    }
}

scripted_upsert

If you would like your script to run regardless of whether the document exists or not — i.e. the script handles initializing the document instead of the upsert element — then set scripted_upsert to true:

POST sessions/session/dh3sgudg8gsrgl/_update
{
    "scripted_upsert":true,
    "script" : {
        "id": "my_web_session_summariser",
        "params" : {
            "pageViewEvent" : {
                "url":"foo.com/bar",
                "response":404,
                "time":"2014-01-01 12:32"
            }
        }
    },
    "upsert" : {}
}

doc_as_upsert

Instead of sending a partial doc plus an upsert doc, setting doc_as_upsert to true will use the contents of doc as the upsert value:

POST test/type1/1/_update
{
    "doc" : {
        "name" : "new_name"
    },
    "doc_as_upsert" : true
}

Parameters

The update operation supports the following query-string parameters:

retry_on_conflict

In between the get and indexing phases of the update, it is possible that another process might have already updated the same document. By default, the update will fail with a version conflict exception. The retry_on_conflict parameter controls how many times to retry the update before finally throwing an exception.

routing

Routing is used to route the update request to the right shard and sets the routing for the upsert request if the document being updated doesn’t exist. Can’t be used to update the routing of an existing document.

parent

Parent is used to route the update request to the right shard and sets the parent for the upsert request if the document being updated doesn’t exist. Can’t be used to update the parent of an existing document. If an alias index routing is specified then it overrides the parent routing and it is used to route the request.

timeout

Timeout waiting for a shard to become available.

wait_for_active_shards

The number of shard copies required to be active before proceeding with the update operation. See here for details.

refresh

Control when the changes made by this request are visible to search. See ?refresh.

_source

Allows to control if and how the updated source should be returned in the response. By default the updated source is not returned. See source filtering for details.

version & version_type

The update API uses the Elasticsearch’s versioning support internally to make sure the document doesn’t change during the update. You can use the version parameter to specify that the document should only be updated if its version matches the one specified. By setting version type to force you can force the new version of the document after update (use with care! with force there is no guarantee the document didn’t change).

Note

The update API does not support external versioning

External versioning (version types external & external_gte) is not supported by the update API as it would result in Elasticsearch version numbers being out of sync with the external system. Use the index API instead.