Goodbye serialize, hello hstore.
You need dynamic columns in your tables. What do you do?
- Create lots of tables to handle it. Nice, now you’ll need more models and lots of additional sqls. Insertion and selection will be slow as hell.
- Use a noSQL database just for this issue. Good luck.
- Create a serialized column. Nice, insertion will be fine, and reading data from a record too. But, what if you have a condition in your select that includes serialized data? Yeah, regular expressions.
Postgresql 8.4+ (also tested with 9.0) with contrib and Rails 3. (It
might work on 2.3.x with minor patches…)
On Ubuntu, this is easy:
sudo apt-get install postgresql-contrib-9.0
…you are screwed. Use a VM. you should use the binary package kindly provided by EnterpriseDB
Homebrew’s Postgres installation also includes the contrib packages:
brew install postgres
Notes for Rails 3.1 and above
The master branch already support a custom serialization coder.
If you want to use it just put in your Gemfile:
gem 'activerecord-postgres-hstore', git: 'git://github.com/softa/activerecord-postgres-hstore.git'
If you install them gem from the master branch you also have to insert a
line in each model that uses hstore.
Assuming a model called Person, with a data field on it, the code should look like:
class Person < ActiveRecord::Base serialize :data, ActiveRecord::Coders::Hstore end
Hstore is a PostgreSQL contrib type, check it out first.
Then, just add this to your Gemfile:
And run your bundler:
Make sure that you have the desired database, if not create it as the desired user:
Add the parameters to your database.yml (these are system dependant), e.g.:
development: adapter: postgresql host: 127.0.0.1 database: hstorage_dev encoding: unicode username: postgres password: pool: 5
Now you need to create a migration that adds hstore support for your PostgreSQL database:
rails g hstore:setup
Finally you can create your own tables using hstore type. It’s easy:
rails g model Person name:string data:hstore rake db:migrate
Well, not yet. Don’t forget to add indexes. Like this:
CREATE INDEX people_gist_data ON people USING GIST(data);
CREATE INDEX people_gin_data ON people USING GIN(data);
To understand the difference between the two types of indexes take a look at PostgreSQL docs.
Once you have it installed, you just need to learn a little bit of new
sqls for selecting stuff (creating and updating is transparent).
Find records that contains a key named 'foo’:
Person.where("data ? 'foo'")
Find records where 'foo’ is equal to 'bar’:
Person.where("data -> 'foo' = 'bar'")
This same sql is at least twice as fast (using indexes) if you do it that way:
Person.where("data > 'foo=>bar’")
Find records where 'foo’ is not equal to 'bar’:
Person.where("data -> 'foo' <> 'bar'")
Find records where 'foo’ is like 'bar’:
Person.where("data -> 'foo' LIKE '%bar%'")
If you need to delete a key in a record, you can do it that way:
This way you’ll also save the record:
The destroy_key method returns 'self’, so you can chain it:
person.destroy_key(:data, :foo).destroy_key(:data, :bar).save
But there is a shortcuts for that:
person.destroy_keys(:data, :foo, :bar)
And finally, if you need to delete keys in many rows, you can:
and with many keys:
Person.delete_keys(:data, :foo, :bar)
Note on Patches/Pull Requests
- Fork the project.
- Make your feature addition or bug fix.
- Add tests for it. This is important so I don’t break it in a future version unintentionally.
- Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
- Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.
Copyright © 2010 Juan Maiz. See LICENSE for details.