Statement Fragments

In this chapter we discuss how to construct SQL statements at runtime.

Setting Up

Same as last chapter, so if you’re still set up you can skip this section. Otherwise let’s set up a Transactor and YOLO mode.

import doobie._
import doobie.implicits._
import doobie.util.ExecutionContexts
import cats._
import cats.effect._
import cats.implicits._

// This is just for testing. Consider using cats.effect.IOApp instead of calling
// unsafe methods directly.

// A transactor that gets connections from java.sql.DriverManager and executes blocking operations
// on an our synchronous EC. See the chapter on connection handling for more info.
val xa = Transactor.fromDriverManager[IO](
  "org.postgresql.Driver",     // driver classname
  "jdbc:postgresql:world",     // connect URL (driver-specific)
  "postgres",                  // user
  ""                           // password

val y = xa.yolo
import y._

We’re still playing with the country table, shown here for reference.

CREATE TABLE country (
  code       character(3)  NOT NULL,
  name       text          NOT NULL,
  population integer       NOT NULL,
  gnp        numeric(10,2)
  -- more columns, but we won't use them here

Composing SQL literals

You can construct a SQL Fragment using the fr interpolator, which behaves just like the sql interpolator. Fragments are concatenated with ++.

val a = fr"select name from country"
// a: Fragment = Fragment("select name from country ")
val b = fr"where code = 'USA'"
// b: Fragment = Fragment("where code = 'USA' ")
val c = a ++ b // concatenation by ++
// c: Fragment = Fragment("select name from country where code = 'USA' ") // concatenation by ++

Fragments can capture arguments of any type with a Put instance, just as the sql interpolator does.

def whereCode(s: String) = fr"where code = $s"
val fra = whereCode("FRA")
// fra: Fragment = Fragment("where code = ? ")
(fr"select name from country" ++ fra).query[String].quick.unsafeRunSync()

You can lift an arbitrary string value via Fragment.const, which allows you to parameterize on things that aren’t valid SQL parameters.

def count(table: String) = (fr"select count(*) from" ++ Fragment.const(table)).query[Int].unique

Note that Fragment.const performs no escaping of passed strings. Passing user-supplied data is an injection risk.

You can also use Fragments in fr interpolator directly. Both parameters and SQL literals will be substituted correctly.

val countryCode: String = "NZL"
// countryCode: String = "NZL"
val whereFragment: Fragment = fr"WHERE code = $countryCode"
// whereFragment: Fragment = Fragment("WHERE code = ? ")

val frag = fr"SELECT name FROM country $whereFragment"
// frag: Fragment = Fragment("SELECT name FROM country WHERE code = ?  ")


As long as your individual fragments were constructed securely (i.e. Never call Fragment.const with user supplied input), You can freely concatenate or interpolate fragments without worrying about SQL injection.

Whitespace handling

The rendered SQL string for a fr or const fragment will have a single space character appended, which is usually what you want. Normally you don’t need to worry about whitespace when composing fragments.

If you do not want a fragment to have trailing space you can use the fr0 interpolator or const0 constructor. This is used here and there in the Fragments module to yield prettier SQL strings.

fr"IN (" ++ List(1, 2, 3).map(n => fr"$n").intercalate(fr",") ++ fr")"
// res4: Fragment = Fragment("IN ( ? , ? , ? ) ")
fr0"IN (" ++ List(1, 2, 3).map(n => fr0"$n").intercalate(fr",") ++ fr")"
// res5: Fragment = Fragment("IN (?, ?, ?) ")

Note that the sql interpolator is simply an alias for fr0.

The Fragments Module

The Fragments module provides some combinators for common patterns when working with fragments. The following example illustrates a few of them. See the Scaladoc or source for more information.

Here we define a query with a three optional filter conditions.

// Import some convenience combinators.
import Fragments.{ in, whereAndOpt }

// Country Info
case class Info(name: String, code: String, population: Int)

// Construct a Query0 with some optional filter conditions and a configurable LIMIT.
def select(name: Option[String], pop: Option[Int], codes: List[String], limit: Long) = {

  // Three Option[Fragment] filter conditions.
  val f1 = => fr"name LIKE $s")
  val f2 = => fr"population > $n")
  val f3 = => in(fr"code", cs))

  // Our final query
  val q: Fragment =
    fr"SELECT name, code, population FROM country" ++
    whereAndOpt(f1, f2, f3)                         ++
    fr"LIMIT $limit"

  // Construct a Query0


We first construct three optional filters, the third of which uses the in combinator to construct an SQL IN clause. The final statement uses the whereAndOpt combinator that constructs a WHERE clause with the passed sequence of Option[Fragment] joined with AND if any are defined, otherwise it evaluates to the empty fragment. The end result is that the WHERE clause appears only if at least one filter is defined.

Let’s look at a few possibilities.

select(None, None, Nil, 10).check.unsafeRunSync() // no filters // no filters
select(Some("U%"), None, Nil, 10).check.unsafeRunSync() // one filter // one filter
select(Some("U%"), Some(12345), List("FRA", "GBR"), 10).check.unsafeRunSync() // three filters
The source code for this page can be found here.