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README.md

Ppx_mysql

Build Status

This syntax extension aims to reduce the pain and boilerplate associated with using MySQL bindings from OCaml. It is similar in spirit to PG'OCaml, but without the compile-time communication with the DB engine for type inference.

Preliminaries

Throughout this document we reference a SQL table named employees, whose MySQL definition is as follows:

CREATE TABLE employees
    (
    id INT NOT NULL,
    supervisor_id INT NULL,
    name TEXT NOT NULL,
    phone TEXT NULL,
    PRIMARY KEY (id),
    CONSTRAINT 'fk_supervisor_id' FOREIGN KEY (supervisor_id) REFERENCES employees(id)
    );

We also define an OCaml record named employee that matches the structure of the SQL table employees:

type employee =
    {
    id: int32;
    supervisor_id: int32 option;
    name: string;
    phone: string option;
    }

Assume also the existence of functions for converting to and from a tupled representation of the employee record:

type employee_tuple = int32 * int32 option * string * string option

employee_of_tuple: employee_tuple -> employee
tuple_of_employee: employee -> employee_tuple

Setting up the environment

To minimise the amount of boilerplate, this syntax extension generates functions which expect the existence of the following signature in the current context:

sig
  module IO : sig
    type 'a t

    val return : 'a -> 'a t
    val bind : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b t) -> 'b t
    val ( >>= ) : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b t) -> 'b t
  end

  module IO_result : sig
    type ('a, 'e) t = ('a, 'e) result IO.t

    val return : 'a -> ('a, 'e) t
    val bind : ('a, 'e) t -> ('a -> ('b, 'e) t) -> ('b, 'e) t
    val ( >>= ) : ('a, 'e) t -> ('a -> ('b, 'e) t) -> ('b, 'e) t
  end

  module Prepared : sig
    type dbh
    type stmt
    type stmt_result
    type error
    type wrapped_dbh
    type wrapped_error = [`Mysql_error of error]

    val init : dbh -> wrapped_dbh

    val execute_null :
      stmt ->
      string option array ->
      (stmt_result, [> wrapped_error]) result IO.t

    val fetch :
      stmt_result ->
      (string option array option, [> wrapped_error]) result IO.t

    val with_stmt_cached :
      wrapped_dbh ->
      string ->
      (stmt -> ('a, ([> wrapped_error] as 'e)) result IO.t) ->
      ('a, 'e) result IO.t

    val with_stmt_uncached :
      wrapped_dbh ->
      string ->
      (stmt -> ('a, ([> wrapped_error] as 'e)) result IO.t) ->
      ('a, 'e) result IO.t
  end
end

Note that you should not manually write the code that satisfies this signature. Instead, you should use the Make_context functor defined in the Ppx_mysql_runtime module, which will produce a module satisfying the above signature using as argument a module with a much simpler signature. (Please see the API documentation for details.)

Note also that in many cases you don't even have to worry about calling the functor yourself. For your convenience, besides the main ppx_mysql package, you can also find in OPAM the package ppx_mysql_identity, which defines module Mysql_with_identity for using Mysql (via the mysql package) with the identity monad for IO, and which takes care of all the nitty-gritty of defining a base module and passing it to the Make_context functor.

As an example, to compile the samples in this document using Mysql and the identity monad for IO, just add package ppx_mysql_identity to your project dependencies and open Mysql_with_identity either globally or locally.

Basic usage: selecting a single row

Writing a function to fetch one row from the DB is as simple as this:

let get_employee dbh employee_id =
    [%mysql select_one
    "SELECT @int32{id}, @int32?{supervisor_id}, @string{name}, @string?{phone}
    FROM employees
    WHERE id = %int32{employee_id}"] dbh ~employee_id >>| employee_of_tuple

The %mysql extension makes all the "magic" happen: it creates a function that takes as parameter a database handle plus all the input parameters present in the SQL statement, and returns a tuple with all the output parameters present in the SQL statement, properly wrapped in a result and IO monad.

The "magic" is easier to understand if we explicitly declare the type of the function created by this extension. We will do so for the rest of this document. Note, however, that this explicit declaration is neither necessary nor recommended for actual code. Here's the same get_employee function with type annotations:

let get_employee dbh employee_id =
    let q :
        Prepared.wrapped_dbh ->
        employee_id:int32 ->
        ((int32 * int32 option * string * string option), error) result IO.t =
        [%mysql select_one
        "SELECT @int32{id}, @int32?{supervisor_id}, @string{name}, @string?{phone}
        FROM employees
        WHERE id = %int32{employee_id}"]
    in
    q dbh ~employee_id >>| employee_of_tuple

Things to note:

  • Type Prepared.wrapped_dbh is a wrapper around a raw database handle. You can obtain a value of this type by invoking function Prepared.init with a raw database handle as argument.

  • We denote input parameters using the syntax %TYPE{name}, where TYPE is a type specification (see next section), and name is the OCaml named parameter that will be part of the generated function's signature.

  • We denote output parameters using the syntax @TYPE{name}, where TYPE is a type specification (see next section), and name is the MySQL column we are selecting.

  • Both input and output parameters may be NULL, which is handled by suffixing the type specification with the character ? (Cf. the supervisor_id and phone columns in this example).

  • The select_one built-in function immediately after %mysql tells the extension that the function should return a single value. In this case, the value is of type int32 * int32 option * string * string option, which is wrapped inside a result IO.t because errors may occur. There are other built-in special functions that may be used instead of select_one, and these are described in a section below.

Type specifications

Serialization of input parameters and deserialization of output parameters is done according to provided type specifications. A type specification can either begin with a lowercase or an uppercase letter. In the former case, its name must either be the same as the base OCaml type you wish to (de)serialize to and from (presently, the supported types are int, int32, int64, bool, and string), or the special type specification list (please see the section on List of values as input parameter below for more details). In the latter case, the syntax extension assumes you are referencing a type with custom (de)serialization functions (please see the next section for a detailed explanation of this feature).

Note that you will get a runtime error if there is a mismatch between the types in your database and the types you specify in your query.

Custom types and (de)serialization functions

The syntax extension has limited support for custom types with user-defined (de)serialization functions. Consider the example below, noting in the particular the use of Suit as a type specification both for an input and an output parameter:

module Suit : Ppx_mysql_runtime.SERIALIZABLE = struct
  type t = Clubs | Diamonds | Hearts | Spades

  let of_mysql = function
    | "c" -> Ok Clubs
    | "d" -> Ok Diamonds
    | "h" -> Ok Hearts
    | "s" -> Ok Spades
    | _   -> Error "invalid suit"

  let to_mysql = function
    | Clubs -> "c"
    | Diamonds -> "d"
    | Hearts -> "h"
    | Spades -> "s"
end

let get_cards = [%mysql select_all "SELECT @int{id}, @Suit{suit} FROM cards WHERE suit <> %Suit{suit}"]

As you may have guessed, upon encountering a type specification whose first letter is uppercase -- Suit in this case -- the syntax extension assumes it refers to a module name that implements the Ppx_mysql_runtime.SERIALIZABLE signature listed below:

module type SERIALIZABLE = sig
  type t

  val of_mysql : string -> (t, string) result

  val to_mysql : t -> string
end

Besides defining a type t, the module must also implement the deserialization function of_mysql and the serialization function to_mysql. The MySQL wire protocol uses strings for serialization, which explains the signatures of these functions.

Other select queries

The query below is a variation on the one above, illustrating a case getting zero results is perfectly normal and should not be an error. Note the use of the select_opt built-in function, which makes the function return an option (wrapped inside a result IO.t, because other errors may still occur).

let get_supervisor dbh employee_id =
    let q :
        Prepared.wrapped_dbh ->
        employee_id:int32 ->
        ((int32 * int32 option * string * string option) option, error) result IO.t =
        [%mysql select_opt
        "SELECT @int32{id}, @int32?{supervisor_id}, @string{name}, @string?{phone}
        FROM employees
        WHERE supervisor_id = %int32{employee_id}"]
    in
    q dbh ~employee_id >>| maybe employee_of_tuple   (* val maybe: ('a -> 'b) -> 'a option -> 'b option *)

For queries where multiple (or zero) rows are expected, use the select_all built-in function. The sample below illustrates its use. Note that the function now returns a list (again wrapped inside a result IO.t, because other errors may occur).

let get_underlings dbh supervisor_id =
    let q :
        Prepared.wrapped_dbh ->
        supervisor_id:int32 ->
        ((int32 * int32 option * string * string option) list, error) result IO.t =
        [%mysql select_all
        "SELECT @int32{id}, @int32?{supervisor_id}, @string{name}, @string?{phone}
        FROM employees
        WHERE supervisor_id = %int32{supervisor_id}"]
    in
    q dbh ~supervisor_id >>| List.map employee_of_tuple

Insertions, updates, deletions

We don't really expect a value returned from queries that modify the DB, such as those that use SQL's INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements. We use the execute built-in function for these cases, as the example below illustrates. Note the use of multiple input parameters, which show up in the function signature as named parameters in the same order they appear within the SQL statement (though these being named parameters, one does not usually need to worry about the order).

let insert_employee dbh {id; supervisor_id; name; phone} =
    let q :
        Prepared.wrapped_dbh ->
        id:int32 ->
        supervisor_id:int32 option ->
        name:string ->
        phone:string option ->
        (unit, error) result IO.t =
        [%mysql execute
        "INSERT INTO employees (id, supervisor_id, name, phone)
        VALUES (%int32{id}, %int32?{supervisor_id}, %string{name}, %string?{phone})"]
    in
    q dbh ~id ~supervisor_id ~name ~phone

List of values as input parameter

The syntax extension has limited support for queries involving lists of values, by way of a special list input parameter type whose contents get expanded into a comma-separated list.

As an example, suppose you want to insert multiple rows with a single call. The function below does just that; note the use of %list{...} around what would have been a single value. Moreover, note that the function takes an additional positional parameter whose type is a list of tuples. The type of the tuple corresponds to the input parameters present inside the %list{...} declaration.

let insert_employees dbh rows =
    let q :
        Prepared.wrapped_dbh ->
        (int32 * int32 option * string * string option) list ->
        (unit, error) result IO.t =
        [%mysql execute
        "INSERT INTO employees (id, supervisor_id, name, phone)
        VALUES %list{(%int32{id}, %int32?{supervisor_id}, %string{name}, %string?{phone})}"]
    in
    q dbh rows

It is of course also possible to use the list input parameter with SELECT statements, and to construct a statement that mixes regular input parameters with input parameters nested inside list. The following function illustrates this use case:

let select_employees dbh ids =
    let q :
        Prepared.wrapped_dbh ->
        int32 list ->
        name:string ->
        ((int32 * int32 option * string * string option) list, error) result IO.t =
        [%mysql select_all
        "SELECT @int32{id}, @int32?{supervisor_id}, @string{name}, @string?{phone}
        FROM employees
        WHERE name = %string{name} OR supervisor_id IN (%list{%int32{supervisor_id}})"]
    in
    q dbh ids >>| List.map employee_of_tuple

Note that in contrast with the previous example, the parentheses are placed outside the %list{...} declaration. To understand why, bear in mind that the syntax extension does not know SQL and therefore makes no attempt to parse it or generate it. When it encounters a %list{...} declaration, it expands the declaration by repeatedly concatenating its contents (after replacing any input parameters within) using a comma as the separator. In the previous example we wanted the parentheses to be part of the repeated expansion, whereas in this last example we do not.

An important caveat concerns empty lists. Their expansion would result in an empty string which would then be spliced into the SQL statement. In most circumstances the resulting statement would be invalid SQL (cf. the two examples shown in this section). For this reason, the code generated by the syntax extension checks for the list length and immediately returns an error if provided with an empty list, without even bothering with preparing the statement and waiting for the MySQL server to complain about the invalid syntax. Please let us know if you come across a situation where the expanded empty list would result in valid SQL and you would prefer if the syntax extension would not check for the list length.

Another important caveat concerns caching. Each list length results in a separate entry in the statement cache. If you use lists with a wide range of lengths, you may end up consuming lots of resources on both the client and the server. To avoid this problem, you should consider disabling caching for statements that use lists. Please consult the section on statement caching below.

Finally, note that at the moment the %list{...} declaration may be used only once per statement. We do intend to lift this limitation in the future.

Statement caching

By default, ppx_mysql uses a per connection statement cache. Though this consumes some resources on both the client and the MySQL server, the performance benefits justify caching as the correct default. It is however possible to disable caching on a per statement basis by setting to false the optional parameter cached on a query's action. This is particularly useful if the statement uses the %list parameter specification, since each list length would've created a new entry in the statement cache. Example:

let insert_employees =
    [%mysql execute ~cached:false
    "INSERT INTO employees (id, supervisor_id, name, phone)
    VALUES %list{(%int32{id}, %int32?{supervisor_id}, %string{name}, %string?{phone})}"]

Special cases

Should there be no input parameters, the function generated by the syntax extension will take only the wrapped database handle as parameter:

let get_unsupervised dbh =
    let q :
        Prepared.wrapped_dbh ->
        ((int32 * int32 option * string * string option) list, error) result IO.t =
        [%mysql select_all
        "SELECT @int32{id}, @int32?{supervisor_id}, @string{name}, @string?{phone}
        FROM employees
        WHERE supervisor_id IS NULL"]
    in
    q dbh >>| List.map employee_of_tuple

Should an input parameter with the same name appear multiple times in the SQL statement, the generated function will take it only once:

let is_related dbh id =
    let q :
        Prepared.wrapped_dbh ->
        id:int32 ->
        ((int32 * int32 option * string * string option) list, error) result IO.t =
        [%mysql select_all
        "SELECT @int32{id}, @int32?{supervisor_id}, @string{name}, @string?{phone}
        FROM employees
        WHERE (id = %int32{id} OR supervisor_id = %int32{id}"]
    in
    q dbh ~id >>| List.map employee_of_tuple

Limitations

All output columns must be specified explicitly, and queries such as SELECT * FROM employees are not supported. However, since these queries are brittle and should not be used anyway, this limitation is unlikely to ever be a problem. Moreover, note that queries such as SELECT @int{count(*)} FROM employees are supported just fine.

Summary of the built-in query functions

Below is a summary of all available built-in query functions:

  • select_one: For queries that expect a single row to be returned, and where anything else (zero or multiple rows) is an error.

  • select_opt: For queries that may return a single row or none at all. Getting multiple rows from the DB is an error.

  • select_all: For queries that expect any number of rows from the DB, including zero.

  • execute: For queries that insert, update, or delete data from the DB, and where no return value is expected.

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