July 17, 2017

Release 0.7.0 of clojure.java.jdbc

The stable 0.7.0 release of java.jdbc -- the Clojure Contrib JDBC library -- has been baking for over a year, across of a trail of alpha and beta releases, and is now, finally, available!

While you could read the java.jdbc Change Log to figure out what is new in this release, I thought it would be easier to consolidate all the changes into a blog post, with changes organized by category, and provide justification for the various changes.

I recently ran a survey about versions of both Clojure and java.jdbc in use and had nearly 100 responses (thank you to everyone who completed the survey!). Only one respondent is still on Clojure 1.7.0, with about two thirds on 1.8.0, and a full third of respondents on a 1.9.0 alpha build. No one responded that they're on an earlier version of Clojure. That's great news for Clojure library maintainers, as it means we can take advantage of modern features in the language (such as transducers), and it also means that it is worthwhile to offer optional namespaces providing specs. Accordingly, java.jdbc now requires Clojure 1.7.0 or later.

Also very encouraging was to see that almost a third of java.jdbc users are on alpha builds of what has become 0.7.0, with only a handful of users still on "legacy" versions (prior to 0.6.1).

Let's look at the major changes in 0.7.0, compared to 0.6.1!

Reducible Queries

Now that Clojure 1.7.0 is the minimum supported version, java.jdbc can offer query result collections that work with transducers. Two new functions -- reducible-query and reducible-result-set -- produce collections that implement IReduce and will perform resource management when reduced. A reducible query will run the specified query only when the result is reduced -- and it will run it each time it is reduced. A reducible result set can be constructed from any ResultSet object and will provide a one-off, managed forward read of the underlying data. Both of these support reduced results, which short-circuit the processing of the result set. They also support both the init-arity reduce and the no-init-arity reduce. Consult the docstring for reduce to see the full implications of this: the function passed into the no-init-arity reduce will be called with no arguments if the result set is empty!

reducible-query works by invoking db-query-with-resultset only when it is reduced, passing in a function that calls reducible-result-set and then reduces the result. reducible-result-set works by computing metadata and key names only when it is reduced, and then walking through the rows of the result, calling the supplied function (as specified by reduce), stopping if that function returns a reduced? value.

Improved Database Vendor Support

The :dbtype key in a db-spec is the preferred way to specify a database vendor, so you don't have to worry about "subprotocols" and "subnames" and so on. Just provide :dbtype, :dbname, :host, :port, :user, and :password, and java.jdbc should be able to connect you to most databases. The full list of supported :dbtype values is:

  • derby -- Apache Derby
  • h2
  • hsql or hsqldb
  • jtds or jtds:sqlserver -- the jTDS JDBC driver for Microsoft SQL Server
  • mssql -- an alias for sqlserver below
  • mysql
  • oracle or oracle:thin, oracle:oci -- for the two main Oracle JDBC drivers (which use @ in front of the host name, instead of //)
  • pgsql -- the Impossibl PostgresSQL JDBC driver
  • postgres or postgresl -- the standard PostgresSQL JDBC driver
  • redshift -- Amazon's Red Shift JDBC driver
  • sqlite
  • sqlserver -- Microsoft's default JDBC driver for SQL Server (they have finally released a version on Maven Central!)

If your preferred database is not listed, head on over to java.jdbcs JIRA site and create an enhancement issue, with details of the JDBC driver and I'll take a look! Note that you can can specify :classname, along with :dbtype if you want to override just the JDBC driver class name that java.jdbc would deduce from :dbtype.

Option Handling

An overall goal of 0.7.0 has been to make the API more consistent, especially in the way options are handled and passed around. The intention is that you can provide a hash map of options, as the last argument to any function, and java.jdbc will pass all of those options through the whole call chain, allowing you to control a lot more of the behavior of lower-level functions that are invoked by the higher-level functions. In addition, defaults for all options can be provided in your db-spec, and those will apply to all API functions. This is especially useful for specifying the :entities and :identifiers functions that control how SQL entity names and Clojure identifiers are constructed, everywhere in java.jdbc.

Here are all the new options available:

  • :auto-commit? -- Can be passed into any API function that might cause a new database connection to be created. This allows you to turn auto-commit off for new connections in databases that use this setting to control whether a query can stream its results. The behavior is inherently vendor-specific, so you may need additional options to fully enable streaming results (setting :fetch-size to a non-zero value is common).
  • :conditional? -- For the two DDL-generating functions to add an existence check on the table to be created or dropped. May be a simple boolean value, a string (to be inserted between DROP TABLE/CREATE TABLE and the table name), or a function. In the latter case, the DDL string is generated as usual and then that function is called on it. This allows for databases that don't support DROP TABLE IF EXISTS / CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS but instead require the DROP or CREATE statement to be wrapped in a specific existence checking query.
  • :explain? and :explain-fn -- So you can get the database to explain how it will run your query. Supported by query, find-by-keys, and get-by-id, these options will run the generated SQL with an "explain" option first, and then for real. :explain? can be true which simply prefixes the SQL with "EXPLAIN " or it can be a string if your database needs a different syntax (such as HSQLDB needing "EXPLAIN PLAN FOR "). The explanation output is processed by the :explain-fn, which defaults to println, but can be used to send explanations to a logging system etc.
  • :qualifier -- Lets you easily produce namespace-qualified column names from your queries.
  • :read-columns -- To specify how columns of data are read from a ResultSet object. The default behavior is to call result-set-read-column which implements the IResultSetReadColumn protocol. This allows finer-grained control when you are working with multiple databases in a single application.
  • :read-only? -- Like :auto-commit? this can be passed into any API function that might cause a new database connection to be created. This allows you to specify that new connections be treated as readonly, which may allow the database driver to perform optimizations on how the connection and its queries behave.


java.jdbc provides an optional clojure.java.jdbc.spec namespace that is compatible with Clojure 1.9.0 Alpha 17 (it uses clojure.spec.alpha). This namespace provides fdef specs for all of the public functions in clojure.java.jdbc so you can instrument your code and get validation on all your interaction with java.jdbc. Note that you cannot do generative testing against java.jdbc because it uses a lot of Java types and a lot of side effects. I have an experimental branch where I've been investigating what generators would look like for java.jdbc but don't hold your breath for that becoming part of the master branch!

New and Changed API Functions

  • as-sql-name dropped its single arity (curried) version.
  • get-isolation-level will return the current isolation level inside a transaction, if any.
  • quoted dropped its 2-arity version, and now supports certain keywords for common entity-quoting strategies: :ansi (wraps entities in double quotes), :mysql (wraps entities in backticks), :oracle (wraps entities in double quotes), and :sqlserver (wraps entities in square brackets). These match the options in HoneySQL.
  • reducible-query and reducible-result-set -- see Reducible Queries above.


At present, the auto-generated API documentation (on https://clojure.github.io) is stale due to some bugs in the toolchain used by the Clojure Build Server, so I recommend reading the community-maintained java.jdbc documentation on clojure-doc.org, in addition to using clojure.repl/doc to review the docstrings for API functions. That community-maintained documentation is currently going through a major overhaul to expand, clarify, and update the information presented -- I encourage users of java.jdbc to get involved by submitting Pull Requests to help improve the documentation for everyone!

Tags: clojure jdbc open source