Skip to content
This repository

HTTPS clone URL

Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with HTTPS or Subversion.

Download ZIP
Fetching contributors…

Cannot retrieve contributors at this time

file 106 lines (72 sloc) 4.746 kb

Dataset Basics

Introduction

Datasets are the primary way Sequel uses to access the database. While most database libraries have specific support for updating all records or only a single record, Sequel's ability to represent SQL queries themselves as objects is what gives Sequel most of its power. However, if you haven't been exposed to the dataset concept before, it can be a little disorienting. This document aims to give a basic introduction to datasets and how to use them.

What a Dataset Represents

A Dataset can be thought of representing one of two concepts:

  • An SQL query

  • An abstract set of rows and some related behavior

The first concept is more easily understood, so you should probably start with that assumption.

Basics

The most basic dataset is the simple selection of all columns in a table:

ds = DB[:posts]
# SELECT * FROM posts

Here, DB represents your Sequel::Database object, and ds is your dataset, with the SQL query it represents below it.

One of the core dataset ideas that should be understood is that datasets use a functional style of modification, in which methods called on the dataset return modified copies of the dataset, they don't modify the dataset themselves:

ds2 = ds.where(:id=>1)
ds2
# SELECT * FROM posts WHERE id = 1
ds
# SELECT * FROM posts

Note how ds itself is not modified. This is because ds.where returns a modified copy of ds, instead of modifying ds itself. This makes using datasets both thread safe and easy to chain:

# Thread safe:
100.times do |i|
  Thread.new do
    ds.where(:id=>i).first
  end
end

# Easy to chain:
ds3 = ds.select(:id, :name).order(:name).where{id < 100}
# SELECT id, name FROM posts WHERE id < 100 ORDER BY name

Thread safety you don't really need to worry about, but chainability is core to how Sequel is generally used. Almost all dataset methods that affect the SQL produced return modified copies of the receiving dataset.

Another important thing to realize is that dataset methods that return modified datasets do not execute the dataset's code on the database. Only dataset methods that return or yield results will execute the code on the database:

# No SQL queries sent:
ds3 = ds.select(:id, :name).order(:name).filter{id < 100}

# Until you call a method that returns results
results = ds3.all

One important consequence of this API style is that if you use a method chain that includes both methods that return modified copies and a method that executes the SQL, the method that executes the SQL should generally be the last method in the chain:

# Good
ds.select(:id, :name).order(:name).filter{id < 100}.all

# Bad
ds.all.select(:id, :name).order(:name).filter{id < 100}

This is because all will return an array of hashes, and select, order, and filter are dataset methods, not array methods.

Methods

Most Dataset methods that users will use can be broken down into two types:

  • Methods that return modified datasets

  • Methods that execute code on the database

Methods that return modified datasets

Most dataset methods fall into this category, which can be further broken down by the clause they affect:

SELECT

select, select_all, select_append, select_group, select_more

FROM

from, from_self

JOIN

join, left_join, right_join, full_join, natural_join, natural_left_join, natural_right_join, natural_full_join, cross_join, inner_join, left_outer_join, right_outer_join, full_outer_join, join_table

WHERE

where, filter, exclude, exclude_where, and, or, grep, invert, unfiltered

GROUP

group, group_by, group_and_count, select_group, ungrouped

HAVING

having, filter, exclude, exclude_having, and, or, grep, invert, unfiltered

ORDER

order, order_by, order_append, order_prepend, order_more, reverse, reverse_order, unordered

LIMIT

limit, unlimited

compounds

union, intersect, except

locking

for_update, lock_style

common table expressions

with, with_recursive

qualification

qualify, qualify_to, qualify_to_first_source

inserting

set_defaults, set_overrides

other

clone, distinct, naked, server, with_sql

Methods that execute code on the database

Most other dataset methods commonly used will execute the dataset's SQL on the database:

SELECT (All Records)

all, each, map, to_hash, to_hash_groups, select_map, select_order_map, select_hash, select_hash_groups, to_csv

SELECT (First Record)

first, last, get, []

SELECT (Aggregates)

count, avg, max, min, sum, range, interval

INSERT

insert, <<, import, multi_insert, insert_multiple

UPDATE

update, set, []=

DELETE

delete

other

columns, columns!, truncate

Other methods

See the Sequel::Dataset RDoc for other methods that are less commonly used.

Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.