7. DDL, Inserting, and Updating

In this chapter we examine operations that modify data in the database, and ways to retrieve the results of these updates.

Setting Up

Again we set up a transactor and pull in YOLO mode, but this time we’re not using the world database.

import doobie.imports._, scalaz._, Scalaz._, scalaz.concurrent.Task

val xa = DriverManagerTransactor[Task](
  "org.postgresql.Driver", "jdbc:postgresql:world", "postgres", ""

import xa.yolo._

Data Definition

It is uncommon to define database structures at runtime, but doobie handles it just fine and treats such operations like any other kind of update. And it happens to be useful here!

Let’s create a new table, which we will use for the examples to follow. This looks a lot like our prior usage of the sql interpolator, but this time we’re using update rather than query. The .run method gives a ConnectionIO[Int] that yields the total number of rows modified, and the YOLO-mode .quick gives a Task[Unit] that prints out the row count.

val drop: Update0 = 

val create: Update0 = 
    CREATE TABLE person (
      id   SERIAL,
      age  SMALLINT

We can compose these and run them together.

scala> (drop.quick *> create.quick).run
  0 row(s) updated
  0 row(s) updated


Inserting is straightforward and works just as with selects. Here we define a method that constructs an Update0 that inserts a row into the person table.

def insert1(name: String, age: Option[Short]): Update0 =
  sql"insert into person (name, age) values ($name, $age)".update

Let’s insert a few rows.

scala> insert1("Alice", Some(12)).quick.run
  1 row(s) updated

scala> insert1("Bob", None).quick.run
  1 row(s) updated

And read them back.

case class Person(id: Long, name: String, age: Option[Short])
scala> sql"select id, name, age from person".query[Person].quick.run


Updating follows the same pattern. Here we update Alice’s age.

scala> sql"update person set age = 15 where name = 'Alice'".update.quick.run
  1 row(s) updated

scala> sql"select id, name, age from person".query[Person].quick.run

Retrieving Results

When we insert we usually want the new row back, so let’s do that. First we’ll do it the hard way, by inserting, getting the last used key via lastVal(), then selecting the indicated row.

def insert2(name: String, age: Option[Short]): ConnectionIO[Person] =
  for {
    _  <- sql"insert into person (name, age) values ($name, $age)".update.run
    id <- sql"select lastval()".query[Long].unique
    p  <- sql"select id, name, age from person where id = $id".query[Person].unique
  } yield p
scala> insert2("Jimmy", Some(42)).quick.run

This is irritating but it is supported by all databases (although the “get the last used id” function will vary by vendor). A nicer way to do this is in one shot by returning specified columns from the inserted row. Not all databases support this feature, but PostgreSQL does.

def insert3(name: String, age: Option[Short]): ConnectionIO[Person] = {
  sql"insert into person (name, age) values ($name, $age)"
    .update.withUniqueGeneratedKeys("id", "name", "age")

The withUniqueGeneratedKeys specifies that we expect exactly one row back (otherwise an exception will be thrown), and requires a list of columns to return. This isn’t the most beautiful API but it’s what JDBC gives us. And it does work.

scala> insert3("Elvis", None).quick.run

This mechanism also works for updates, for databases that support it. In the case of multiple row updates we omit unique and get a Process[ConnectionIO, Person] back.

val up = {
  sql"update person set age = age + 1 where age is not null"
    .update.withGeneratedKeys[Person]("id", "name", "age")

Running this process updates all rows with a non-NULL age and returns them.

scala> up.quick.run

scala> up.quick.run // and again!

Batch Updates

doobie supports batch updating via the updateMany operation on the Update type, which we haven’t seen before. Unlike an Update0, whose arguments are fixed on construction, an Update must be applied to parameters before it can be “executed” to yield a ConnectionIO.

def insertMany(ps: List[(String, Option[Short])]) = {
  val sql = "insert into person (name, age) values (?, ?)"
  Update[(String, Option[Short])](sql).updateMany(ps)

// Some rows to insert
val data = List[(String, Option[Short])](
  ("Banjo",   Some(39)), 
  ("Skeeter", None), 
  ("Jim-Bob", Some(12)))

The return value is the total number of rows inserted.

scala> insertMany(data).quick.run