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Virtual Row Blocks

Dataset methods filter, order, and select all take blocks that either yield instances of Sequel::SQL::VirtualRow (if the block takes an argument), or are evaluated in the context of an instance of Sequel::SQL::VirtualRow. These are referred to as virtual row blocks. Many other dataset methods pass the blocks they are given into one of those three methods, so there are actually many Sequel methods that take virtual row blocks.

VirtualRow is a class that returns SQL::Indentifiers, SQL::QualifiedIdentifiers, SQL::Functions, or SQL::WindowFunctions depending on how it is called. This is best shown by example:

ds = DB[:items]
ds.filter{column > 1}        # column > 1
ds.filter{table__column > 1} # table.column > 1
ds.filter{function(1) > 1}   # function(1) > 1{[column1, sum(column2).as(sum)]} # column1, sum(column2) AS sum{version{}}   # version(){count(:*){}} # count(*){count(:distinct, col1){}} # count(DISTINCT col1){rank(:over){}} # rank() OVER (){count(:over, :*=>true){}} # count(*) OVER (){sum(:over, :args=>col1, :partition=>col2, :order=>col3){}} # sum(col1) OVER (PARTITION BY col2 ORDER BY col3)

Basically, the rules are:

  • If a block is given:

    • The block is currently not called. This may change in a future version.

    • If there are no arguments, an SQL::Function with the name of method used, and no arguments.

    • If the first argument is :*, an SQL::Function is created with a single wildcard argument (*).

    • If the first argument is :distinct, an SQL::Function is created with the keyword DISTINCT prefacing all remaining arguments.

    • If the first argument is :over, the second argument if provided should be a hash of options to pass to SQL::Window. The options hash can also contain :*=>true to use a wildcard argument as the function argument, or :args=>… to specify an array of arguments to use as the function arguments.

  • If a block is not given:

    • If there are arguments, an SQL::Function is returned with the name of the method used and the arguments given.

    • If there are no arguments and the method contains a double underscore, split on the double underscore and return an SQL::QualifiedIdentifier with the table and column.

    • Otherwise, create an SQL::Identifier with the name of the method.

If you use a virtual row block that doesn't take an argument, the block is instance_evaled, so you can't reference methods in the enclosing scope. If you need to call methods of the enclosing scope, you should assign the results to local variables before the block, or just make the block take an argument and use that. If you want to create identifiers or qualified identifiers with the same name as existing local variables, make sure ruby knows it is a method call instead of a local variable reference by not ommiting the parentheses at the end of the method call. If you want to return multiple arguments (common for select and order), have the block return an array of arguments.

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