Last Update: 2021-03-01 07:44:40 -0800

New Features

  • An async_thread_pool Database extension has been added, which executes queries and processes results using a separate thread pool. This allows you do do things like:

    foos = DB[:foos].async.all
    bars = DB[:bars].async.select_map(:name)
    foo_bars = DB[:foo_bars].async.each{|x| p x}

    and have the three method calls (all, select_map, and each) execute concurrently. On Ruby implementations without a global VM lock, such as JRuby, it will allow for parallel execution of the method calls. On CRuby, the main benefit will be for cases where query execution takes a long time or there is significant latency between the application and the database.

    When you call a method on foos, bars, or foo_bars, if the thread pool hasn't finished processing the method, the calling code will block until the method call has finished.

    By default, for consistency, calling code will not preempt the async thread pool. For example, if you do:


    The calling code will always wait for the async thread pool to run the all method, and then the calling code will call size on the result. This ensures that async queries will not use the same connection as the the calling thread, even if calling thread has a connection checked out.

    In some cases, such as when the async thread pool is very busy, preemption is desired for performance reasons. If you set the :preempt_async_thread Database option before loading the async_thread_pool extension, preemption will be allowed. With preemption allowed, if the async thread pool has not started the processing of the method at the time the calling code needs the results of the method, the calling code will preempt the async thread pool, and run the method on the current thread.

    By default, the async thread pool uses the same number of threads as the Database objects :max_connections attribute (the default for that is 4). You can modify the number of async threads by setting the :num_async_threads Database option before loading the Database async_thread_pool extension.

    Most Dataset methods that execute queries on the database and return results will operate asynchronously if the the dataset is set to be asynchronous via the Dataset#async method. This includes most methods available due to the inclusion in Enumerable, even if not defined by Dataset itself.

    There are multiple caveats when using the async_thread_pool extension:

    • Asynchronous behavior is harder to understand and harder to debug. It would be wise to only use this support in cases where it provides is significant performance benefit.

    • Dataset methods executed asynchronously will use a separate database connection than the calling thread, so they will not respect transactions in the calling thread, or other cases where the calling thread checks out a connection directly using Database#synchronize. They will also not respect the use of Database#with_server (from the server_block extension) in the calling thread.

    • Dataset methods executed asynchronously should never ignore their return value. Code such as:


      is probablematic because without storing the return value, you have no way to block until the insert has been completed.

    • The returned object for Dataset methods executed asynchronously is a proxy object (promise). So you should never do:

      row = DB[:table].async.first
      # ...
      if row
      # or:
      bool = DB[:table].async.get(:boolean_column)
      # ...
      if bool

      because the if branches will always be taken as row and bool will never be nil or false. If you want to get the underlying value, call itself on the proxy object (or __value if using Ruby <2.2).

      For the same reason, you should not use the proxy objects directly in case expressions or as arguments to Class#===. Use itself or __value in those cases.

    • Dataset methods executed asynchronously that include blocks have the block executed asynchronously as well, assuming that the method calls the block. Because these blocks are executed in a separate thread, you cannot use control flow modifiers such as break or return in them.

  • An async_thread_pool model plugin has been added. This requires the async_thread_pool extension has been loaded into the model's Database object, and allows you to call Model.async instead of Model.dataset.async. It also adds async support to the destroy, with_pk, and with_pk! model dataset methods.

  • Model#to_json_data has been added to the json_serializer plugin, for returning a hash of data that can be converted to JSON, instead of a JSON string.

  • A :reject_nil option has been added to the nested_attributes method in the nested_attributes plugin. This will ignore calls to the nested attributes setter method where nil is passed as the setter method argument.

Other Improvements

  • Model#freeze now works in case where model validation modifies the object beyond adding errors.

  • Model#freeze in the composition, serialization, and serialization_modification_detection plugins now works in cases where validation would end up loading the composed or serialized values.

  • Database#extension now avoids a possible thread safety issue that could result in the extension being loaded into the Database twice.

  • The ado adapter now supports overriding the timestamp conversion proc. Previously, unlike other conversion procs, the timestamp conversion proc was hard coded and could not be overridden.