We Went All in on Sqlc/Pgx for Postgres and Go

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on news.ycombinator.com

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  • GitHub repo sqlc

    Generate type-safe code from SQL

    I was really really excited when I saw the title because I've been having a lot of difficulties with other Go SQL libraries, but the caveats section gives me pause.

    Needing to use arrays for the IN use case (see https://github.com/kyleconroy/sqlc/issues/216) and the bulk insert case feel like large divergences from what "idiomatic SQL" looks like. It means that you have to adjust how you write your queries. And that can be intimidating for new developers.

    The conditional insert case also just doesn't look particularly elegant and the SQL query is pretty large.

    sqlc also just doesn't look like it could help with very dynamic queries I need to generate - I work on a team that owns a little domain-specific search engine. The conditional approach could in theory with here, but it's not good for the query planner: https://use-the-index-luke.com/sql/where-clause/obfuscation/...

  • GitHub repo xo

    Command line tool to generate idiomatic Go code for SQL databases supporting PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server (by xo)

    I'm a big fan of the database first code generator approach to talking to an SQL database, so much so that I wrote pggen[1] (not to be confused with pggen[2], as far as I can tell a sqlc fork, which I just recently learned about).

    I'm a really big partisan of this approach, but I think I'd like to play the devil's advocate here and lay out some of the weaknesses of both a database first approach in general and sqlc in particular.

    All database first approaches struggle with SQL metaprogramming when compared with a query builder library or an ORM. For the most part, this isn't an issue. Just writing SQL and using parameters correctly can get you very far, but there are a few times when you really need it. In particular, faceted search and pagination are both most naturally expressed via runtime metaprogramming of the SQL queries that you want to execute.

    Another drawback is poor support from the database for this kind of approach. I only really know how postgres does here, and I'm not sure how well other databases expose their queries. When writing one of these tools you have to resort to tricks like creating temporary views in order infer the argument and return types of a query. This is mostly opaque to the user, but results in weird stuff bubbling up to the API like the tool not being able to infer nullability of arguments and return values well and not being able to support stuff like RETURNING in statements. sqlc is pretty brilliant because it works around this by reimplementing the whole parser and type checker for postgres in go, which is awesome, but also a lot of work to maintain and potentially subtlety wrong.

    A minor drawback is that you have to retrain your users to write `x = ANY($1)` instead of `x IN ?`. Most ORMs and query builders seem to lean on their metaprogramming abilities to auto-convert array arguments in the host language into tuples. This is terrible and makes it really annoying when you want to actually pass an array into a query with an ORM/query builder, but it's the convention that everyone is used to.

    There are some other issues that most of these tools seem to get wrong, but are not impossible in principle to deal with for a database first code generator. The biggest one is correct handling of migrations. Most of these tools, sqlc included, spit out the straight line "obvious" go code that most people would write to scan some data out of a db. They make a struct, then pass each of the field into Scan by reference to get filled in. This works great until you have a query like `SELECT * FROM foos WHERE field = $1` and then run `ALTER TABLE foos ADD COLUMN new_field text`. Now the deployed server is broken and you need to redeploy really fast as soon as you've run migrations. opendoor/pggen handles this, but I'm not aware of other database first code generators that do (though I could definitely have missed one).

    Also the article is missing a few more tools in this space. https://github.com/xo/xo. https://github.com/gnormal/gnorm.

    [1]: https://github.com/opendoor/pggen

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  • GitHub repo pggen

    Generate type-safe Go for any Postgres query. If Postgres can run the query, pggen can generate code for it.

    I agree whole-heartedly that writing SQL feels right. Broadly speaking, you can take the following approaches to mapping database queries to Go code:

    - Write SQL queries, parse the SQL, generate Go from the queries (sqlc, pggen).

    - Write SQL schema files, parse the SQL schema, generate active records based on the tables (gorm)

    - Write Go structs, generate SQL schema from the structs, and use a custom query DSL (proteus).

    - Write custom query language (YAML or other), generate SQL schema, queries, and Go query interface (xo).

    - Skip generated code and use a non-type-safe query builder (squirrel, goqu).

    I prefer writing SQL queries so that app logic doesn't depend on the the database table structure.

    I started off with sqlc but ran into limitations with more complex queries. It's quite difficult to infer what a SQL query will output even with a proper parse tree. sqlc also didn't work with generated code.

    I wrote pggen with the idea that you can just execute the query and have Postgres tell you what the output types and names will be. Here's the original design doc [1] that outlines the motivations. By comparison, sqlc starts from the parse tree, and has the complex task of computing the control flow graph for nullability and type outputs.

    [1]: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NvVKD6cyXvJLWUfqFYad76CW...

    Disclaimer: author of pggen (https://github.com/jschaf/pggen), inspired by sqlc

  • GitHub repo pggen

    A database first code generator focused on postgres (by opendoor)

    I'm a big fan of the database first code generator approach to talking to an SQL database, so much so that I wrote pggen[1] (not to be confused with pggen[2], as far as I can tell a sqlc fork, which I just recently learned about).

    I'm a really big partisan of this approach, but I think I'd like to play the devil's advocate here and lay out some of the weaknesses of both a database first approach in general and sqlc in particular.

    All database first approaches struggle with SQL metaprogramming when compared with a query builder library or an ORM. For the most part, this isn't an issue. Just writing SQL and using parameters correctly can get you very far, but there are a few times when you really need it. In particular, faceted search and pagination are both most naturally expressed via runtime metaprogramming of the SQL queries that you want to execute.

    Another drawback is poor support from the database for this kind of approach. I only really know how postgres does here, and I'm not sure how well other databases expose their queries. When writing one of these tools you have to resort to tricks like creating temporary views in order infer the argument and return types of a query. This is mostly opaque to the user, but results in weird stuff bubbling up to the API like the tool not being able to infer nullability of arguments and return values well and not being able to support stuff like RETURNING in statements. sqlc is pretty brilliant because it works around this by reimplementing the whole parser and type checker for postgres in go, which is awesome, but also a lot of work to maintain and potentially subtlety wrong.

    A minor drawback is that you have to retrain your users to write `x = ANY($1)` instead of `x IN ?`. Most ORMs and query builders seem to lean on their metaprogramming abilities to auto-convert array arguments in the host language into tuples. This is terrible and makes it really annoying when you want to actually pass an array into a query with an ORM/query builder, but it's the convention that everyone is used to.

    There are some other issues that most of these tools seem to get wrong, but are not impossible in principle to deal with for a database first code generator. The biggest one is correct handling of migrations. Most of these tools, sqlc included, spit out the straight line "obvious" go code that most people would write to scan some data out of a db. They make a struct, then pass each of the field into Scan by reference to get filled in. This works great until you have a query like `SELECT * FROM foos WHERE field = $1` and then run `ALTER TABLE foos ADD COLUMN new_field text`. Now the deployed server is broken and you need to redeploy really fast as soon as you've run migrations. opendoor/pggen handles this, but I'm not aware of other database first code generators that do (though I could definitely have missed one).

    Also the article is missing a few more tools in this space. https://github.com/xo/xo. https://github.com/gnormal/gnorm.

    [1]: https://github.com/opendoor/pggen

  • GitHub repo go

    The Go programming language

    Good point. I had assumed Rows.Scan() would have just used type switches for efficiency -- it looks like it does for common cases (https://github.com/golang/go/blob/d62866ef793872779c9011161e...) but then falls back to reflect. I wonder why it doesn't just do all of that with type switches? Maybe there are just too many cases and it ends up slower than reflect for the rest of the cases.

    Scanner.Scan() is actually just called via a type assertion, though I guess implementations of Scan() might use reflection.

  • GitHub repo SQLBoiler

    Generate a Go ORM tailored to your database schema.

    I was expecting the article to contain a note about SQLBoiler (https://github.com/volatiletech/sqlboiler) and why they didn't use it, but there is no. So I was expecting SQLBoiler to be heavily mentioned in the comments, but it's not the case.

    I you want to see a (slightly heated) debate about `sqlc` versus SQLBoiler with their respective creators: https://www.reddit.com/r/golang/comments/e9bvrt/sqlc_compile...

    Note that SQLBoiler does not seem to be compatible with `pgx`.

  • GitHub repo migrate

    Database migrations. CLI and Golang library.

    I've used https://github.com/xo/xo, extended it with some custom functions for templating, extended the templates themselves, and can now generate CRUD for anything in the database, functions for common select queries based on the indices that exist in the database, field filtering and scanning, updates for subsets of fields including some atomic operations, etc. The sky is the limit honestly. It has allowed me to start with something approximating a statically generated ORM and extend it with any features I want as time goes on. I also write .extra.go files along side the generated .xo.go files to extend the structs that are generated with custom logic and methods to convert data into response formats.

    I like the approach of starting with the database schema and generating code to reflect that. I define my schema in sql files and handle database migrations using https://github.com/golang-migrate/migrate.

    If you take this approach, you can mostly avoid exposing details about the SQL driver being used, and since the driver is mostly used by a few templates, swapping drivers doesn't take much effort.

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  • GitHub repo ent

    An entity framework for Go

  • GitHub repo ccgo

    It's not really pure go, it's transpiled using https://gitlab.com/cznic/ccgo

    Just about all the code looks like this:

      // Call this routine to record the fact that an OOM (out-of-memory) error

  • GitHub repo proteus

    A simple tool for generating an application's data access layer. (by jonbodner)

    If you are looking for a way to map SQL queries to type safe Go functions, take a look at my library Proteus: https://github.com/jonbodner/proteus

    Proteus generates functions at runtime, avoiding code generation. Performance is identical to writing SQL mapping code yourself. I spoke about its implementation at GopherCon 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz6d7rzqJ6Q

  • GitHub repo jet

    Type safe SQL builder with code generation and automatic query result data mapping (by go-jet)

    As an alternative I suggest people to look at https://github.com/go-jet/jet. I had a good experience working with it and the author is quite responsive.

    It really feels like writing SQL but you are writing typesafe golang which I really enjoy doing.

  • GitHub repo sqlite

    windows amd64

    and if you look at their source tree https://gitlab.com/cznic/sqlite/-/tree/master/lib you can see they have

    sqlite_darwin_amd64.go

  • GitHub repo gnorm

    A database-first code generator for any language

    I'm a big fan of the database first code generator approach to talking to an SQL database, so much so that I wrote pggen[1] (not to be confused with pggen[2], as far as I can tell a sqlc fork, which I just recently learned about).

    I'm a really big partisan of this approach, but I think I'd like to play the devil's advocate here and lay out some of the weaknesses of both a database first approach in general and sqlc in particular.

    All database first approaches struggle with SQL metaprogramming when compared with a query builder library or an ORM. For the most part, this isn't an issue. Just writing SQL and using parameters correctly can get you very far, but there are a few times when you really need it. In particular, faceted search and pagination are both most naturally expressed via runtime metaprogramming of the SQL queries that you want to execute.

    Another drawback is poor support from the database for this kind of approach. I only really know how postgres does here, and I'm not sure how well other databases expose their queries. When writing one of these tools you have to resort to tricks like creating temporary views in order infer the argument and return types of a query. This is mostly opaque to the user, but results in weird stuff bubbling up to the API like the tool not being able to infer nullability of arguments and return values well and not being able to support stuff like RETURNING in statements. sqlc is pretty brilliant because it works around this by reimplementing the whole parser and type checker for postgres in go, which is awesome, but also a lot of work to maintain and potentially subtlety wrong.

    A minor drawback is that you have to retrain your users to write `x = ANY($1)` instead of `x IN ?`. Most ORMs and query builders seem to lean on their metaprogramming abilities to auto-convert array arguments in the host language into tuples. This is terrible and makes it really annoying when you want to actually pass an array into a query with an ORM/query builder, but it's the convention that everyone is used to.

    There are some other issues that most of these tools seem to get wrong, but are not impossible in principle to deal with for a database first code generator. The biggest one is correct handling of migrations. Most of these tools, sqlc included, spit out the straight line "obvious" go code that most people would write to scan some data out of a db. They make a struct, then pass each of the field into Scan by reference to get filled in. This works great until you have a query like `SELECT * FROM foos WHERE field = $1` and then run `ALTER TABLE foos ADD COLUMN new_field text`. Now the deployed server is broken and you need to redeploy really fast as soon as you've run migrations. opendoor/pggen handles this, but I'm not aware of other database first code generators that do (though I could definitely have missed one).

    Also the article is missing a few more tools in this space. https://github.com/xo/xo. https://github.com/gnormal/gnorm.

    [1]: https://github.com/opendoor/pggen

  • GitHub repo fileconst

    Turns text file contents into Go constants

    I like SQL queries as strings but I also like my IDE to syntax check them ... Since there are already so many kinds to projects in this thread I'll happily introduce fileconst which provides the best of both worlds - https://github.com/PennState/fileconst.

  • GitHub repo pronto

    Protobuf ORM (by CaperAi)

    I attempted to make something similar to this except the opposite direction at a previous job. It was called Pronto: https://github.com/CaperAi/pronto/

    It allowed us to store and query Protos into MongoDB. It wasn't perfect (lots of issues) but the idea was rather than specifying custom models for all of our DB logic in our Java code we could write a proto and automatically and code could import that proto and read/write it into the database. This made building tooling to debug issues very easy and make it very simple to hide a DB behind a gRPC API.

    The tool automated the boring stuff. I wish I could have extended this to have you define a service in a .proto and "compile" that into an ORM DAO-like thing automatically so you never need to worry about manually wiring that stuff ever again.

  • GitHub repo sqlparser-rs

    Extensible SQL Lexer and Parser for Rust

  • GitHub repo goqu

    SQL builder and query library for golang

    This looks better than typical ORMs, but still not giving me what I want.

    I want query objects to be composable, and mutable. That lets you do things like this: http://btubbs.com/postgres-search-with-facets-and-location-a.... sqlc would force you to write a separate query for each possible permutation of search features that the user opts to use.

    I like the "query builder" pattern you get from Goqu. https://github.com/doug-martin/goqu

  • GitHub repo pike

    Generate CRUD gRPC backends from single YAML description.

    > - Write custom query language (YAML or other), generate SQL schema, queries, and Go query interface (xo).

    I've also tried to unify this approach with gRPC/Protobuf messages and CRUD operations: https://github.com/sashabaranov/pike/

  • GitHub repo sq

    Type safe SQL query builder and struct mapper for Go

    - generate code from running database and use a type-safe query builder (https://github.com/bokwoon95/go-structured-query)

  • GitHub repo goyesql

    P SQL files with multiple named queries and automatically prepare and scan them into structs.

    sqlc looks very interesting and compelling. A similar library I like but haven't had the chance to really use is goyesql: https://github.com/knadh/goyesql

    It also allows just writing SQL in a file, reminds me a bit of JDBI in Java.

  • GitHub repo upper.io/db

    Data access layer for PostgreSQL, CockroachDB, MySQL, SQLite and MongoDB with ORM-like features.

    this is the reason why I chose upper/db over pgx/sqlc for my current cockroachdb side project

    while upper/db is not as type safe, with proper testing infrastructure, it's the closest to django due to its simplicity/composability/query building support

    i'm also excited to see how upper/db grows after generics land in Go later this year

    https://github.com/upper/db

    https://upper.io/

  • GitHub repo bazel-postgres-sketch

    I uploaded most of our Workspace setup here: https://github.com/jschaf/bazel-postgres-sketch. The tooling is a bunch of Go to manage the Postgres process. Basically, give it schema files and receive a running database with a tear down command.

    We make temp instances of Postgres quickly by:

    - avoiding Docker, especially on Mac

    - keeping the data dir on tmpfs

    - Disable initdb cleanup

    - Disable fsync and other data integrity flags

    - Use unlogged tables.

    - Use sockets instead of TCP localhost.

    For a test suite, it was 12x faster to call createdb with the same Postgres cluster for each test than than to create a whole new db cluster. The trick was to create a template database after loading the schema and use that for each createdb call.

  • GitHub repo rules_nixpkgs

    Rules for importing Nixpkgs packages into Bazel.

    Cool, thanks for the link.

    For what it's worth, we use rules_nixpkgs to source Postgres (for Linux and Darwin) as well as things such as C and Python toolchains, and it's been working really well. It does require that the machine have Nix installed, though, but that opens up access to Nix's wide array of prebuilt packages.

    https://github.com/tweag/rules_nixpkgs

NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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