Ditto already supports Conditional Requests as defined in RFC-7232 where the If-Match and If-None-Match headers can be used to specify if a request should be applied or not. With the condition header it is possible to specify a condition based on the state of the actual thing. It is possible to combine both headers within one request. If you use both headers keep in mind that the ETag header is evaluated first.

Defining conditions

Ditto supports retrieving, modifying, and deleting things based on specific conditions of the current persisted twin state. Conditions are not intended to be used for message dispatching. For example, if you want to update the value of an attribute, but only if the current attribute value is not already 42, you can specify a condition:

PUT /api/2/things/org.eclipse.ditto:foo1/attributes/value?condition=ne(attributes/value,42)

Conditions are based on RQL expressions and define that a request should be applied to a thing only if the condition is met. It is possible to use any field in your thing to define a condition. E.g. you can use a timestamp in case you only want to change the state of the thing, if the provided value is newer than in the last state of the thing.

  • If the condition specified in the request is fulfilled, the thing will be updated and an event will be emitted.
  • If the condition specified in the request is not fulfilled, the thing is not modified, and no event/change notification is emitted.

Conditional requests are supported by HTTP API, WebSocket, Ditto protocol and Ditto Java Client.

Permissions for conditions

READ permission is necessary on the resource specified in the condition, otherwise, the request will fail.


In this part, we will show how to use conditional updates via HTTP API, Ditto protocol, and Ditto Java Client. The below examples assume that we have the following thing state:

  "thingId": "org.eclipse.ditto:fancy-thing",
  "policyId": "org.eclipse.ditto:fancy-thing",
  "attributes": {
    "location": "kitchen"
  "features": {
    "temperature": {
      "properties": {
        "value": 23.42,
        "unit": "Celcius",
        "lastModified": "2021-08-10T15:07:20.398Z"

In our example we want to update the temperature value, but only if the current value is newer than the already stored one. To express this condition, we use the lastModified field in the temperature feature.

In the following sections, we will show how request the conditional update via HTTP API, Ditto protocol, and Ditto Java Client which is based on the WebSocket protocol.


Using the HTTP API it is possible to specify the condition via query parameter

curl -X PUT -H 'Content-Type: application/json' /api/2/things/org.eclipse.ditto:fancy-thing/features/temperature/properties/value?condition=gt(features/temperature/properties/lastModified,'2021-08-10T15:10:02.592Z') -d 19.26

or via HTTP header

curl -X PUT -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -H 'condition: gt(features/temperature/properties/lastModified,"2021-08-10T15:10:02.592Z")' /api/2/things/org.eclipse.ditto:fancy-thing/features/temperature/properties/value -d 19.26

Ditto protocol

The Ditto protocol supports also conditional updates. This is an example how to do a conditional update via Ditto Protocol message:

  "topic": "org.eclipse.ditto/fancy-thing/things/twin/commands/modify",
  "headers": {
    "condition": "gt(features/temperature/properties/lastModified,2021-08-10T15:10:02.592Z)" 
  "path": "/features/temperature/properties/value",
  "value": 19.26

Ditto Java Client

The third option to use conditional updates is the ditto-client. The following code snippet demonstrates how to achieve this.

final Option<String> option =
client.twin().forFeature(ThingId.of("org.eclipse.ditto:fancy-thing"), "temperature")
        .putProperty("value", 42, option)
        .whenComplete((ununsed, throwable) -> {
            if (throwable != null) {
                System.out.println("Property update was not successfull: " + throwable.getMessage());
            } else {
                System.out.println("Updating the property was successful.");

Live channel condition

Ditto also supports retrieving thing data with an automatic approach for switching between twin and live channel.

Conditions are defined with RQL as described before. If a condition is matched, the Thing data is retrieved from the device itself.

Example: retrieve data from the device itself if a certain attribute is configured at the twin:

GET .../things/{thingId}?live-channel-condition=eq(attributes/useLiveChannel,true)

Example: retrieve data from the device itself if the last modification timestamp is behind a specified timestamp:

GET .../things/{thingId}?live-channel-condition=lt(_modified,"2021-12-24T12:23:42Z")

Live channel condition headers

Additionally, a strategy to handle timeouts for retrieving live thing data can be specified with the header live-channel-timeout-strategy.
The header value holds a strategy what to do in case a timeout (can also be specified as header) was encountered.

  • If the value cannot be retrieved live from the device itself during the specified timeout, the request will fail (which is the default strategy if not specified otherwise) with a status code 408.
  • Alternatively, if use-twin was defined as the live-channel-timeout-strategy strategy, the request will fall back to the persisted twin and return the latest value stored in the digital twin.

Live channel condition response headers

The response includes two additional headers to indicate which channel was used to retrieve the thing data:

  • live-channel-condition-matched – value could be true or false and states whether the passed live-channel-condition was a match or not
  • channel – value could be twin or live and defines which channel was the origin of the returned data.

In line with the procedure described above on how to retrieve live data directly from a device, a new type of pre-configured payload mapping, namely UpdateTwinWithLiveResponse was introduced.

Upon activation, the digital twin stored in Eclipse Ditto will implicitly be updated with the latest data from the live response sent by the device.

Further reading on RQL expressions

See RQL expressions.

Tags: protocol http rql