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Lobos is a SQL database schema manipulation and migration library written in Clojure. It currently support supports H2, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite and SQL Server.

If you have any questions, please join the mailing list.


  • A comprehensive data definition language DSL.
  • Migrations for schema changes.
  • An analyzer to query the schema.


Lobos is available through Clojars.

For the latest release, in Cake/Leiningen, use:


:dependencies [[lobos "1.0.0-beta3"]]

or in Maven:




Here's a small tutorial on how to use Lobos.

Basic Example

Start by creating a new project with your preferred tool. Assuming a Leiningen compatible project file, add Lobos and a database driver to the dependencies section:

:dependencies [...
               [lobos "1.0.0-beta1"]
               [postgresql "9.1-901.jdbc4"]]

Once you have your dependencies downloaded, open up a REPL and load these namespaces:

(use '(lobos connectivity core schema))

You'll get warnings about some already defined function, just ignore this for now.

Then you'll need to create a connection, the following snippet define one and makes it the default global connection:

(def db
     {:classname "org.postgresql.Driver"
      :subprotocol "postgresql"
      :user "test"
      :password "test123"
      :subname "//localhost:5432/test"})

(open-global db)

You can now send DDL statements (called actions) directly like this:

(create (table :users (integer :id :unique)))

You can omit the connection altogether. In that case, actions will use the connection bound by lobos.connectivity/with-connection or the default one.

(drop (table :users))

Now that you've tested the basics of Lobos at the REPL, let's try out a more real-world example.

Real-world Example

By real-world, I'm not talking about a production ready database schema, it's about how to integrate Lobos into your real projects. We'll continue using the previously created test project, but this time we'll use files. In your src/ directory, create a directory named lobos and a file called config.clj inside it.


(ns lobos.config
  (:use lobos.connectivity))

(def db
  {:classname "org.postgresql.Driver"
   :subprotocol "postgresql"
   :user "test"
   :password "test123"
   :subname "//localhost:5432/test"})

(open-global db)

Next, we'll see how to create helpers that will show the composable nature of the Lobos DSL. This part is entirely optional.

Add a new file called helpers.clj


(ns lobos.helpers
  (:refer-clojure :exclude [bigint boolean char double float time])
  (:use (lobos schema)))

The above namespace declaration exclude some clojure.core definitions that clashes with data-type functions, this prevents warnings from being shown.

Every schema element definition is a simple function that return an intermediate representation that abstract real database schema element. This allow you to make your own functions (and macros) that can help define a database schema more concisely.

Now, let's define a bunch of useful helpers:


(defn surrogate-key [table]
  (integer table :id :auto-inc :primary-key))

(defn timestamps [table]
  (-> table
      (timestamp :updated_on)
      (timestamp :created_on (default (now)))))

(defn refer-to [table ptable]
  (let [cname (-> (->> ptable name butlast (apply str))
                  (str "_id")
    (integer table cname [:refer ptable :id :on-delete :set-null])))

The first one add a standardized surrogate key called id to the specified table. The second takes a table definition and add two generally useful columns to it. Finally, the third one create a foreign-key column to another table given its name. We can use these helpers in the same way as already existing column definition functions.

To wrap it up, we'll add a macro that we'll use instead of the included table macro. It will help us create tables which implicitly include a surrogate key and the timestamp columns.


(defmacro tbl [name & elements]
  `(-> (table ~name)
       ~@(reverse elements)

We have everything set up in place to create our first migrations, so let's do that.


By default all migrations are kept in the lobos.migrations namespace. It'll get automatically loaded by migration commands, so there's no need to load it yourself. Thus, to use another namespace you must change the lobos.migration/*migrations-namespace* dynamic variable. This is a normal Clojure source file so if you prefer having only one migration per file, just do that and require these files in the migrations namespace.


(ns lobos.migrations
  (:refer-clojure :exclude [alter drop
                            bigint boolean char double float time])
  (:use (lobos [migration :only [defmigration]] core schema
               config helpers)))

Migrations are defined using the defmigration macro which is composed of two bodies, one making whatever changes you want to do, the other reverting those changes.


(defmigration add-users-table
  (up [] (create
          (tbl :users
            (varchar :name 100 :unique)
            (check :name (> (length :name) 1)))))
  (down [] (drop (table :users))))

(defmigration add-posts-table
  (up [] (create
          (tbl :posts
            (varchar :title 200 :unique)
            (text :content)
            (refer-to :users))))
  (down [] (drop (table :posts))))

(defmigration add-comments-table
  (up [] (create
          (tbl :comments
            (text :content)
            (refer-to :users)
            (refer-to :posts))))
  (down [] (drop (table :comments))))

Each migrations must have a unique name that will be used by Lobos to figure out which ones have been applied.

To apply all pending migrations, use the migrate function in a REPL:

;=> add-users-table
;=> add-posts-table
;=> add-comments-table

This function can take a bunch of migration names in which case it will only apply those.

If, for some reason, you need to rollback some migrations, use the aptly named rollback function:

;=> add-comments-table

By default it will rollback only the most recently applied migration. It can also take migration names, an integer or the :all keyword and perform the appropriate rollback.


Lobos includes a database analyzer which use the database meta-data or information schema to construct an abstract schema definition from an actual database schema.

Here's an interactive session that show some possible uses:

(use 'lobos.analyzer)
;=> nil
(-> (analyze-schema) :tables keys)
;=> (:comments :lobos_migrations :posts :users)
(-> (analyze-schema) :tables :users :columns :name :data-type :name)
;=> :varchar
(-> (analyze-schema) :tables :posts :constraints :posts_unique_title :columns)
;=> [:title]


For more detailed information on Lobos, please refer to the documentation.


Distributed under the Eclipse Public License, the same as Clojure.


A library to create and manipulate SQL database schemas with migrations support.






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