SQL Generator library

I’m writing a library for generating fairly complicated SQL statements
in
a relatively clean way. The current version of the library can be found
at
http://lingcog.iit.edu/~bloom/sqlstatement.rb and some sample code which
is fairly representative of what I plan to use the library for is at
http://lingcog.iit.edu/~bloom/newstuff.rb

I was curious if anybody had suggestions about ways they might make the
library easier to use and/or more maintainable.

–Ken B.

On 25.08.2006 17:00, Ken B. wrote:

I’m writing a library for generating fairly complicated SQL statements in
a relatively clean way. The current version of the library can be found at
http://lingcog.iit.edu/~bloom/sqlstatement.rb and some sample code which
is fairly representative of what I plan to use the library for is at
http://lingcog.iit.edu/~bloom/newstuff.rb

I was curious if anybody had suggestions about ways they might make the
library easier to use and/or more maintainable.

Some things you could do to make this more usable:

  • Spend more whitespace, especially blank lines, to mare the code more
    readable.

  • Add an introductory comment at the beginning, especially state the
    purpose of the lib

  • Add a simple example that demonstrates usage of the code

Another general remark: SQL is extremely flexible, so any tool that
generates SQL either has a GUI or restricts the output to a subset of
SQL statements or both. Without the restriction and a GUI such a
library can easily get as complex as SQL itself and in that case I’d
probably rather write SQL directly unless I get something else from such
a lib (for example database independence). My 0.02EUR

Kind regards

robert

Ken B. wrote:

The main goal of this library is to be able to construct an SQL statement
from “slices” that concern different aspects of the final query (perhaps
in different places in your code) and then combine them all together into
one statement easily.

So you are basically constructing a complex filter condition or even a
complete SQL statement via some form of object graph, correct?

Another important goal of this library is to give some consistent Ruby
syntax to three statements (INSERT, SELECT, and UPDATE) that seem to have
different enough syntax that one has two write different code to generate
each kind of statement.

What about DELETE? Also, I’m not sure how you are able to create a
consistent syntax for all of these as they perform different operations
and need a differing set of inputs.

of s-expressions make it very easy to construct an entire sublanguage for
where a lot of syntax concerning types, keys and sequences is much more
variable.

But it contains DDL and thus is not portable. With SQL you can only
rely on DML being portable. And even then you will occasionally stumble
into things you cannot do without DB specific SQL generation. Maybe you
should plan for multi dialect SQL generation if you intend to distribute
this to a wider audience. If people find it useful I am sure they will
want to use it with their favorite brand of RDBMS…

Cheers

robert

On Fri, 25 Aug 2006 17:30:02 +0200, Robert K. wrote:

Some things you could do to make this more usable:
generates SQL either has a GUI or restricts the output to a subset of
SQL statements or both. Without the restriction and a GUI such a
library can easily get as complex as SQL itself and in that case I’d
probably rather write SQL directly unless I get something else from such
a lib (for example database independence). My 0.02EUR

The main goal of this library is to be able to construct an SQL
statement
from “slices” that concern different aspects of the final query (perhaps
in different places in your code) and then combine them all together
into
one statement easily.

Another important goal of this library is to give some consistent Ruby
syntax to three statements (INSERT, SELECT, and UPDATE) that seem to
have
different enough syntax that one has two write different code to
generate
each kind of statement.

I use my SQL database (specifically MySQL) largely as a bulk data
processing engine, by doing INSERT…SELECT or CREATE TABLE…SELECT
statements. This library is intended to make that kind of coding easier.
I
expect that Object Relational mappers (such as ActiveRecord) are more
useful for most people, who are performing queries and
inserting/updating/querying for individual records. In time, I’ll
probably
add classes to help with these too, to have some consistency

An interesting library that I’ve seen is CLSQL[1] for Common LISP, or
SchemeQL[2] for Scheme that have similar goals. Scheme and LISP’s use
of s-expressions make it very easy to construct an entire sublanguage
for
the WHERE clause, simply by list parsing. I’m not sure if it’s
possible to do that in Ruby (if anyone has, I’d like to know.
Criteria[3]
perhaps.), but this library covers some basic steps in ironing out SQL’s
complexities. I also can’t get the compile time checking that SchemeQL
advertises, mostly because of duck typing, but also to an extent becasue
Ruby isn’t compiled.

This library doesn’t try to abstract out the limitations of your DBMS,
and
I think that the SQL it uses should be fairly portable, in large measure
because it hasn’t attempted to deal with serious CREATE TABLE
statements,
where a lot of syntax concerning types, keys and sequences is much more
variable.

–Ken

[1] http://clsql.b9.com/
[2] http://schematics.sourceforge.net/schemeql.html
http://repository.readscheme.org/ftp/papers/sw2002/schemeunit-schemeql.pdf
[3] http://mephle.org/Criteria/
(via http://onestepback.org/index.cgi/Tech/Ruby/Criteria.rdoc)

Ken B. wrote:

I’m not sure what you mean by an object graph.
A structure of objects in memory that refer to each other one way or
another.

Kind regards

robert

syntax to three statements (INSERT, SELECT, and UPDATE) that seem
useful for most people, who are performing queries and
Criteria[3]
measure
because it hasn’t attempted to deal with serious CREATE TABLE
statements,
where a lot of syntax concerning types, keys and sequences is much
more
variable.

–Ken

Hey Ken-

You may be interested in taking a look at a library I wrote called

ez-where[1]. It is distributed as a plugin for rals and focuses on
building the WHERE clause for active record queries. But most of it
can be used for generating where clauses and could be used wihout
rails as a stand alone where generator. Its focus is on having a nice
ruby dsl style syntax for declaring the conditions as objects.

Here are a few simple examples from the test cases:

def test_cc_with_multiple_statements
   a = c { foo == 'bar' }
   b = c { baz =~ '%qux%' }
   c = c { age > 20 }
   d = c { gemz === (1..5) }
   expected = ["((foo = ?) AND (baz LIKE ?)) OR ((age > ?) AND

NOT (gemz IN (?)))", “bar”, “%qux%”, 20, [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]]
assert_equal expected, (a + b | c - d).to_sql
end

def test_multi_clause
   expected = ["(my_table.title LIKE ? OR my_table.subtitle

LIKE ? OR my_table.body LIKE ? OR my_table.footnotes LIKE ? OR
my_table.keywords LIKE ?)", “%package%”, “%package%”, “%package%”, “%
package%”, “%package%”]

   multi = EZ::Where::MultiClause.new

([:title, :subtitle, :body, :footnotes, :keywords], :my_table)
multi =~ ‘%package%’
assert_equal expected, multi.to_sql

   cond = EZ::Where::Condition.new :my_table
   cond.any_of(:title, :subtitle, :body, :footnotes, :keywords)

=~ ‘%package%’

   assert_equal expected, cond.to_sql

   cond = EZ::Where::Condition.new :my_table
   cond.any_of(:title, :subtitle, :body, :footnotes, :keywords)

=~ ‘%package%’
cond.all_of(:active, :flagged) == true

   expected = ["(my_table.title LIKE ? OR my_table.subtitle

LIKE ? OR my_table.body LIKE ? OR my_table.footnotes LIKE ? OR
my_table.keywords LIKE ?) AND (my_table.active = ? AND
my_table.flagged = ?)", “%package%”, “%package%”, “%package%”, “%
package%”, “%package%”, true, true]
assert_equal expected, cond.to_sql

   expected = ["(my_table.title LIKE ? OR my_table.subtitle

LIKE ? OR my_table.body LIKE ? OR my_table.footnotes LIKE ? OR
my_table.keywords LIKE ?) OR (my_table.active = ? AND
my_table.flagged = ?)", “%package%”, “%package%”, “%package%”, “%
package%”, “%package%”, true, true]
assert_equal expected, cond.to_sql(:or)
end

Cheers-
-Ezra

[1] svn://rubyforge.org/var/svn/ez-where

On Sat, 26 Aug 2006 00:33:03 +0200, Robert K. wrote:

Ken B. wrote:

The main goal of this library is to be able to construct an SQL statement
from “slices” that concern different aspects of the final query (perhaps
in different places in your code) and then combine them all together into
one statement easily.

So you are basically constructing a complex filter condition or even a
complete SQL statement via some form of object graph, correct?

I’m not sure what you mean by an object graph.

Another important goal of this library is to give some consistent Ruby
syntax to three statements (INSERT, SELECT, and UPDATE) that seem to have
different enough syntax that one has two write different code to generate
each kind of statement.

What about DELETE? Also, I’m not sure how you are able to create a
consistent syntax for all of these as they perform different operations
and need a differing set of inputs.

While there’s a lot of difference in the syntax, there’s quite a bit of
similarity in the underlying components.

While a straight INSERT statement (not yet implemented) is quite
different
than a SELECT statement, an INSERT…SELECT statement, a SELECT, a
CREATE TABLE…SELECT, and an UPDATE statement are all quite similar in
terms of inputs, but all a bit different (and complicated) in terms of
where to put things like column names.

I haven’t implemented a DELETE statement yet (mostly because when they
get complicated enough in MYSQL, I have to do it in 3 steps:
CREATE…SELECT, DELETE, DROP TABLE), but I’ll have a look at how to do
that.

of s-expressions make it very easy to construct an entire sublanguage for
where a lot of syntax concerning types, keys and sequences is much more
variable.

But it contains DDL and thus is not portable.

Precisely

With SQL you can only
rely on DML being portable. And even then you will occasionally stumble
into things you cannot do without DB specific SQL generation.

I haven’t tried to abstract any of the nonportable stuff out. I’ve
abstracted out the basic syntax of SQL. All of the more advanced stuff,
you’re on your own.

Maybe you
should plan for multi dialect SQL generation if you intend to distribute
this to a wider audience. If people find it useful I am sure they will
want to use it with their favorite brand of RDBMS…

What I have now should work with most brands of RDBMS.

–Ken