migration.rdoc

doc/migration.rdoc
Last Update: 2017-08-01 08:12:00 -0700

Migrations

This guide is based on guides.rubyonrails.org/migrations.html

Overview

Migrations make it easy to alter your database's schema in a systematic manner. They make it easier to coordinate with other developers and make sure that all developers are using the same database schema.

Migrations are optional, you don't have to use them. You can always just create the necessary database structure manually using Sequel's schema modification methods or another database tool. However, if you are dealing with other developers, you'll have to send them all of the changes you are making. Even if you aren't dealing with other developers, you generally have to make the schema changes in 3 places (development, testing, and production), and it's probably easier to use the migrations system to apply the schema changes than it is to keep track of the changes manually and execute them manually at the appropriate time.

Sequel tracks which migrations you have already run, so to apply migrations you generally need to run Sequel's migrator with bin/sequel -m:

sequel -m path/to/migrations postgres://host/database

Migrations in Sequel use a DSL via the Sequel.migration method, and inside the DSL, use the Sequel::Database schema modification methods such as create_table and alter_table. See the schema modification guide for details on the schema modification methods you can use.

A Basic Migration

Here is a fairly basic Sequel migration:

Sequel.migration do
  up do
    create_table(:artists) do
      primary_key :id
      String :name, null: false
    end
  end

  down do
    drop_table(:artists)
  end
end

This migration has an up block which adds an artist table with an integer primary key named id, and a varchar or text column (depending on the database) named name that doesn't accept NULL values. Migrations should include both up and down blocks, with the down block reversing the change made by up. However, if you never need to be able to migrate down, you can leave out the down block. In this case, the down block just reverses the changes made by up, dropping the table.

You can simplify the migration given above by using a reversible migration with a change block:

Sequel.migration do
  change do
    create_table(:artists) do
      primary_key :id
      String :name, null: false
    end
  end
end

The change block acts exactly like an up block. The only difference is that it will attempt to create a down block for you, assuming that it knows how to reverse the given migration. The change block can usually correctly reverse the following methods:

  • create_table

  • create_join_table

  • create_view

  • add_column

  • add_index

  • rename_column

  • rename_table

  • alter_table (supporting the following methods in the alter_table block):

    • add_column

    • add_constraint

    • add_foreign_key (with a symbol, not an array)

    • add_primary_key (with a symbol, not an array)

    • add_index

    • add_full_text_index

    • add_spatial_index

    • rename_column

If you use any other methods, you should create your own down block.

In normal usage, when Sequel's migrator runs, it runs the up blocks for all migrations that have not yet been applied. However, you can use the -M switch to specify the version to which to migrate, and if it is lower than the current version, Sequel will run the down block on the appropriate migrations.

You are not limited to creating tables inside a migration, you can alter existing tables as well as modify data. Let's say your artist database originally only included artists from Sacramento, CA, USA, but now you want to branch out and include artists in any city:

Sequel.migration do
  up do
    add_column :artists, :location, String
    from(:artists).update(location: 'Sacramento')
  end

  down do
    drop_column :artists, :location
  end
end

This migration adds a location column to the artists table, and sets the location column to 'Sacramento' for all existing artists. It doesn't use a default on the column, because future artists should not be assumed to come from Sacramento. In the down block, it just drops the location column from the artists table, reversing the actions of the up block.

Note that when updating the artists table in the update, a plain dataset is used, from(:artists). This may look a little strange, but you need to be aware that inside an up or down block in a migration, self always refers to the Sequel::Database object that the migration is being applied to. Since Database#from creates datasets, using from(:artists) inside the up block creates a dataset on the database representing all columns in the artists table, and updates it to set the location column to 'Sacramento'. You should avoid referencing the Sequel::Database object directly in your migration, and always use self to reference it, otherwise you may run into problems.

The migration extension

The migration code is not technically part of the core of Sequel. It's not loaded by default as it is only useful in specific cases. It is one of the extensions that ship with Sequel, which receive the same level of support as Sequel's core.

If you want to play with Sequel's migration tools without using the bin/sequel tool, you need to load the migration extension manually:

Sequel.extension :migration

Schema methods

Migrations themselves do not contain any schema modification methods, but they make it easy to call any of the Sequel::Database modification methods, of which there are many. The main ones are create_table and alter_table, but Sequel also comes with numerous other schema modification methods, most of which are shortcuts for alter_table (all of these methods are described in more detail in the schema modification guide):

  • add_column

  • add_index

  • create_view

  • drop_column

  • drop_index

  • drop_table

  • drop_view

  • rename_table

  • rename_column

  • set_column_default

  • set_column_type

These methods handle the vast majority of cross database schema modification SQL. If you need to drop down to SQL to execute some database specific code, you can use the run method:

Sequel.migration do
  up{run 'CREATE TRIGGER ...'}
  down{run 'DROP TRIGGER ...'}
end

In this case, we are using { and } instead of do and end to define the blocks. Just as before, the run methods inside the blocks are called on the Database object, which just executes the code on the underlying database.

Errors when running migrations

Sequel attempts to run migrations inside of a transaction if the database supports transactional DDL statements. On the databases that don't support transactional DDL statements, if there is an error while running a migration, it will not rollback the previous schema changes made by the migration. In that case, you will need to update the database by hand.

It's recommended to always run migrations on a test database and ensure they work before running them on any production database.

Transactions

You can manually specify to use transactions on a per migration basis. For example, if you want to force transaction use for a particular migration, call the transaction method in the Sequel.migration block:

Sequel.migration do
  transaction
  change do
    # ...
  end
end

Likewise, you can disable transaction use via no_transaction:

Sequel.migration do
  no_transaction
  change do
    # ...
  end
end

This is necessary in some cases, such as when attempting to use CREATE INDEX CONCURRENTLY on PostgreSQL (which supports transactional schema, but not that statement inside a transaction).

You can also override the transactions setting at the migrator level, either by forcing transactions even if no_transaction is set, or by disabling transactions all together:

# Force transaction use
Sequel::Migrator.run(DB, '/path/to/migrations/dir', :use_transactions=>true)

# Disable use of transactions
Sequel::Migrator.run(DB, '/path/to/migrations/dir', :use_transactions=>false)

Migration files

While you can create migration objects yourself and apply them manually, most of the benefit to using migrations come from using Sequel's Migrator, which is what the bin/sequel -m switch does. Sequel's Migrator expects that each migration will be in a separate file in a specific directory. The -m switch requires an argument be specified that is the path to the directory containing the migration files. For example:

sequel -m db/migrations postgres://localhost/sequel_test

will look in the db/migrations folder relative to the current directory, and run unapplied migrations on the PostgreSQL database sequel_test running on localhost.

Two separate migrators

Sequel actually ships with two separate migrators. One is the IntegerMigrator, the other is the TimestampMigrator. They both have plusses and minuses:

IntegerMigrator

  • Simpler, uses migration versions starting with 1

  • Doesn't allow duplicate migrations

  • Doesn't allow missing migrations by default

  • Just stores the version of the last migration run

  • Good for single developer or small teams with close communication

  • Lower risk of undetected conflicting migrations

  • Requires manual merging of simultaneous migrations

TimeStampMigrator

  • More complex, uses migration versions where the version should represent a timestamp

  • Allows duplicate migrations (since you could have multiple in a given second)

  • Allows missing migrations (since you obviously don't have one every second)

  • Stores the file names of all applied migrations

  • Good for large teams without close communication

  • Higher risk of undetected conflicting migrations

  • Does not require manual merging of simultaneous migrations

Filenames

In order for migration files to work with the Sequel, they must be specified as follows:

version_name.rb

where version is an integer and name is a string which should be a very brief description of what the migration does. Each migration class should contain 1 and only 1 call to Sequel.migration.

IntegerMigrator Filenames

These are valid migration names for the IntegerMigrator:

1_create_artists.rb
2_add_artist_location.rb

The only problem with this naming format is that if you have more than 9 migrations, the 10th one will look a bit odd:

1_create_artists.rb
2_add_artist_location.rb
...
9_do_something.rb
10_do_something_else.rb

For this reasons, it's often best to start with 001 instead of 1, as that means you don't need to worry about that issue until the 1000th migration:

001_create_artists.rb
002_add_artist_location.rb
...
009_do_something.rb
010_do_something_else.rb

Migrations start at 1, not 0. The migration version number 0 is important though, as it is used to mean that all migrations should be unapplied (i.e. all down blocks run). In Sequel, you can do that with:

sequel -m db/migrations -M 0 postgres://localhost/sequel_test

TimestampMigrator Filenames

With the TimestampMigrator, the version integer should represent a timestamp, though this isn't strictly required.

For example, for 5/10/2010 12:00:00pm, you could use any of the following formats:

# Date
20100510_create_artists.rb
# Date and Time
20100510120000_create_artists.rb

# Unix Epoch Time Integer
1273518000_create_artists.rb

The important thing is that all migration files should be in the same format, otherwise when you update, it'll be difficult to make sure migrations are applied in the correct order, as well as be difficult to unapply some the affected migrations correctly.

The TimestampMigrator will be used if any filename in the migrations directory has a version greater than 20000101. Otherwise, the IntegerMigrator will be used.

You can force the use of the TimestampMigrator in the API by calling TimestampMigrator.apply instead of Migrator.apply.

How to choose

Basically, unless you need the features provided by the TimestampMigrator, stick with the IntegerMigrator, as it is simpler and makes it easier to detect possible errors.

For a single developer, the TimestampMigrator has no real benefits, so I would always recommend the IntegerMigrator. When dealing with multiple developers, it depends on the size of the development team, the team's communication level, and the level of overlap between developers.

Let's say Alice works on a new feature that requires a migration at the same time Bob works on a separate feature that requires an unrelated migration. If both developers are committing to their own private respositories, when it comes time to merge, the TimestampMigrator will not require any manually changes. That's because Alice will have a migration such as 20100512_do_this.rb and Bob will have one such as 20100512_do_that.rb.

If the IntegerMigrator was used, Alice would have 34_do_this.rb and Bob would have 34_do_that.rb. When the IntegerMigrator was used, it would raise an exception due to the duplicate migration version. The only way to fix it would be to renumber one of the two migrations, and have the affected developer manually modify their database.

So for unrelated migrations, the TimestampMigrator works fine. However, let's say that the migrations are related, in such a way that if Bob's is run first, Alice's will fail. In this case, the TimestampMigrator would not raise an error when Bob merges Alice's changes, since Bob ran his migration first. However, it would raise an error when Alice runs Bob's migration, and could leave the database in an inconsistent state if the database doesn't support transactional schema changes.

With the TimestampMigrator, you are trading reliability for convenience. That's possibly a valid trade, especially if simultaneous related schema changes by separate developers are unlikely, but you should give it some thought before using it.

Ignoring missing migrations

In some cases, you may want to allow a migration in the database that does not exist in the filesystem (deploying to an older version of code without running a down migration when deploy auto-migrates, for example). If required, you can pass allow_missing_migration_files: true as an option. This will stop errors from being raised if there are migrations in the database that do not exist in the filesystem.

Modifying existing migrations

Just don't do it.

In general, you should not modify any migration that has been run on the database and been committed to the source control repository, unless the migration contains an error that causes data loss. As long as it is possible to undo the migration without losing data, you should just add another migration that undoes the actions of the previous bad migration, and does the correct action afterward.

The main problem with modifying existing migrations is that you will have to manually modify any databases that ran the migration before it was modified. If you are a single developer, that may be an option, but certainly if you have multiple developers, it's a lot more work.

Creating a migration

Sequel doesn't come with generators that create migrations for you. However, creating a migration is as simple as creating a file with the appropriate filename in your migrations directory that contains a Sequel.migration call. The minimal do-nothing migration is:

Sequel.migration{}

However, the migrations you write should contain an up block that does something, and a down block that reverses the changes made by the up block:

Sequel.migration do
  up{}
  down{}
end

or they should use the reversible migrations feature with a change block:

Sequel.migration do
  change{}
end

What to put in your migration's down block

It's usually easy to determine what you should put in your migration's up block, as it's whatever change you want to make to the database. The down block is less obvious. In general, it should reverse the changes made by the up block, which means it should execute the opposite of what the up block does in the reverse order in which the up block does it. Here's an example where you are switching from having a single artist per album to multiple artists per album:

Sequel.migration do
  up do
    # Create albums_artists table
    create_join_table(album_id: :albums, artist_id: :artists)

    # Insert one row in the albums_artists table
    # for each row in the albums table where there
    # is an associated artist
    from(:albums_artists).insert([:album_id, :artist_id],
     from(:albums).select(:id, :artist_id).exclude(artist_id: nil))

    # Drop the now unnecesssary column from the albums table
    drop_column :albums, :artist_id
  end
  down do
    # Add the foreign key column back to the artists table
    alter_table(:albums){add_foreign_key :artist_id, :artists}

    # If possible, associate each album with one of the artists
    # it was associated with.  This loses information, but
    # there's no way around that.
    from(:albums).update(artist_id: from(:albums_artists).
      select{max(artist_id)}.
      where(album_id: Sequel[:albums][:id])
    )

    # Drop the albums_artists table
    drop_join_table(album_id: :albums, artist_id: :artists)
  end
end

Note that the operations performed in the down block are performed in the reverse order of how they are performed in the up block. Also note how it isn't always possible to reverse exactly what was done in the up block. You should try to do so as much as possible, but if you can't, you may want to have your down block raise a Sequel::Error exception saying why the migration cannot be reverted.

Running migrations

You can run migrations using the sequel command line program that comes with Sequel. If you use the -m switch, sequel will run the migrator instead of giving you an IRB session. The -m switch requires an argument that should be a path to a directory of migration files:

sequel -m relative/path/to/migrations postgres://host/database
sequel -m /absolute/path/to/migrations postgres://host/database

If you do not provide a -M switch, sequel will migrate to the latest version in the directory. If you provide a -M switch, it should specify an integer version to which to migrate.

# Migrate all the way down
sequel -m db/migrations -M 0 postgres://host/database
# Migrate to version 10 (IntegerMigrator style migrations)
sequel -m db/migrations -M 10 postgres://host/database

# Migrate to version 20100510 (TimestampMigrator migrations using YYYYMMDD)
sequel -m db/migrations -M 20100510 postgres://host/database

Whether or not migrations use the up or down block depends on the version to which you are migrating. If you don't provide a -M switch, all unapplied migrations will be migrated up. If you provide a -M, it will depend on which migrations that have been applied. Applied migrations greater than that version will be migrated down, while unapplied migrations less than or equal to that version will be migrated up.

Running migrations from a Rake task

You can also incorporate migrations into a Rakefile. Here's an example using integer migration versions.

namespace :db do
  desc "Run migrations"
  task :migrate, [:version] do |t, args|
    require "sequel"
    Sequel.extension :migration
    db = Sequel.connect(ENV.fetch("DATABASE_URL"))
    if args[:version]
      puts "Migrating to version #{args[:version]}"
      Sequel::Migrator.run(db, "db/migrations", target: args[:version].to_i)
    else
      puts "Migrating to latest"
      Sequel::Migrator.run(db, "db/migrations")
    end
  end
end

To migrate to the latest version, run:

rake db:migrate

This Rake task takes an optional argument specifying the target version. To migrate to version 42, run:

rake db:migrate[42]

Verbose migrations

By default, sequel -m operates as a well behaved command line utility should, printing out nothing if there is no error. If you want to see the SQL being executed during a migration, as well as the amount of time that each migration takes, you can use the -E option to sequel to set up a Database logger that logs to STDOUT. You can also log that same output to a file using the -l option with a log file name.

Using models in your migrations

Just don't do it.

It can be tempting to use models in your migrations, especially since it's easy to load them at the same time using the -L option to sequel. However, this ties your migrations to your models, and makes it so that changes in your models can break old migrations.

With Sequel, it should be easy to use plain datasets to accomplish pretty much anything you would want to accomplish in a migration. Even if you have to copy some code from a model method into a migration itself, it's better than having your migration use models and call model methods.

Dumping the current schema as a migration

Sequel comes with a schema_dumper extension that dumps the current schema of the database as a migration to STDOUT (which you can redirect to a file using >). This is exposed in the sequel command line tool with the -d and -D switches. -d dumps the schema in database independent format, while -D dumps the schema using a non-portable format, useful if you are using nonportable columns such as inet in your database.

Let's say you have an existing database and want to create a migration that would recreate the database's schema:

sequel -d postgres://host/database > db/migrations/001_start.rb

or using a nonportable format:

sequel -D postgres://host/database > db/migrations/001_start.rb

The main difference between the two is that -d will use the type methods with the database independent ruby class types, while -D will use the column method with string types.

Note that Sequel cannot dump constraints other than primary key and possibly foreign key constraints. If you are using database features such as constraints or triggers, you should use your database's dump and restore programs instead of Sequel's schema dumper.

You can take the migration created by the schema dumper to another computer with an empty database, and attempt to recreate the schema using:

sequel -m db/migrations postgres://host/database

Checking for Current Migrations

In your application code, you may want to check that you are up to date in regards to migrations (i.e. you don't have any unapplied migrations). Sequel offers two separate methods to do that. The first is Sequel::Migrator.check_current. This method raises an exception if there are outstanding migrations that need to be run. The second is Sequel::Migrator.is_current?, which returns true if there are no outstanding migrations, and false if there are outstanding migrations.

If you want to ensure that your application code is up to date, you may want to add the following code after connecting to your database:

Sequel.extension :migration
Sequel::Migrator.check_current(DB, '/path/to/migrations')

This will cause your application to raise an error when you start it if you have any outstanding migrations.

Old-style migration classes

Before the Sequel.migration DSL was introduced, Sequel used classes for Migrations:

Class.new(Sequel::Migration) do
  def up
  end
  def down
  end
end

or:

class DoSomething < Sequel::Migration
  def up
  end
  def down
  end
end

This usage is discouraged in new code, but will continue to be supported indefinitely. It is not recommended to convert old-style migration classes to the Sequel.migration DSL, but it is recommended to use the Sequel.migration DSL for all new migrations.

Database-specific migrations

While not a recommended practice, it is sometimes necessary to have parts of migrations be database-specific . You can use the Sequel::Database#database_type method to check which database the migration is being run on, and operate accordingly:

Sequel.migration do
  up do
    if database_type == :mysql
      run 'MySQL specific code'
    else
      run 'Generic SQL code'
    end
  end

  down do
    if database_type == :mysql
      run 'MySQL specific code'
    else
      run 'Generic SQL code'
    end
  end
end

Using Database Extensions in Migrations

If you need to use database extensions in migrations (e.g. :pg_enum), you should load the extension in the up or down block as appropriate.

Sequel.migration do
  up do
    extension :pg_enum

    # migration here
  end

  down do
    extension :pg_enum

    # migration here
  end
end