I'm having trouble passing my where clause for arcpy.SearchCursor as a variable.

The following code successfully generates a query for me:

PolyList = "C:\\Users\\korora912\\Desktop\\polygons.shp"
cursor = arcpy.SearchCursor(PolyList,"""date > date '2016-01-01 00:00:00' AND date < date '2016-01-04 00:00:00'""")

However when I try to pass the dates as variables, like so:

StartDate = "2016/01/01"
date_1 = datetime.datetime.strptime(StartDate, "%Y/%m/%d")
end_date = date_1 + datetime.timedelta(days=3)
where_clause = "\"\"\"date > date '%s' AND date < date '%s'\"\"\"" %(date_1,end_date)
cursor = arcpy.SearchCursor(PolyList,where_clause)

I get: "RuntimeError: ERROR 999999: Error executing function. An invalid SQL statement was used."

This, despite the fact that

print where_clause

returns the exact string that succeeds above:

"""date > date '2016-01-01 00:00:00' AND date < date '2016-01-04 00:00:00'"""

I know I must be doing something wrong, but with my limited Python and SQL experience, I'm at a loss. Can any of you with a more robust background help?

1 Answer 1


You don't need the triple quotes at the start and the end. Try:

where_clause = "date > date '%s' AND date < date '%s'" %(date_1,end_date)
  • Not that it matters now, but is there a reason that the query succeeded with the triple-quotes when typed out explicitly, but not when generated using a variable?
    – korora912
    Apr 1, 2016 at 19:41
  • @korora912 because "\"\"\"date > date '%s' AND date < date '%s'\"\"\"" %(date_1,end_date) is passing the quotes as part of the string, not as the string quotes themselves: """date > date '%s' AND date < date '%s'""" %(date_1,end_date)
    – Midavalo
    Sep 2, 2016 at 0:44

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