Inserting And Updating

In this section we examine operations that modify data in the database, and ways to retrieve the results of these updates.

Data Definition

It is uncommon to define database structures at runtime, but doobie handles it just fine and treats such operations like any other kind of update. And it happens to be useful here!

Let’s create a new table, which we will use for the exercises to follow. This looks a lot like our prior usage of the sql interpolator, but this time we’re using update rather than query. The .run method gives a ConnectionIO[Int] that yields the total number of rows modified.

val drop: Update0 =

val create: Update0 =
  id   SERIAL,

We can compose these and run them together.

( *>


Inserting is straightforward and works just as with selects. Here we define a method that constructs an Update0 that inserts a row into the person table.

def insert1(name: String, age: Option[Short]): Update0 =
  sql"insert into person (name, age) values ($name, $age)".update

Let's insert a new row by using the recently defined insert1 method.

val insertedRows =
  insert1("John", Option(35)).run

insertedRows should be(res0)

On the contrary, if we want to insert several rows, there are different ways to do that. A first try could be to use a for-comprehension to compose all the single operations.

val rows = for {
  row1 <- insert1("Alice", Option(12)).run
  row2 <- insert1("Bob", None).run
  row3 <- insert1("John", Option(17)).run
} yield row1 + row2 + row3

val insertedRows = rows

insertedRows should be(res0)

If there is no dependency between the SQL operations, it could be better to use an applicative functor.

val insertedOnePerson = insert1("Alice", Option(12)).run

val insertedOtherPerson = insert1("Bob", None).run

val insertedRows = (insertedOnePerson |@| insertedOtherPerson)(_ + _)

insertedRows should be(res0)

If all the data to be inserted is represented by a List, other way could be by using the Scalaz traverse method.

val people =
  List(("Alice", Option(12)), ("Bob", None), ("John", Option(17)), ("Mary", Option(16)))

val insertedRows = people
  .traverse(item => (insert1 _).tupled(item).run)

insertedRows.sum should be(res0)


Updating follows the same pattern. For instance, we suppose that we want to modify the age of a person.

val result = for {
  insertedRows <- insert1("Alice", Option(12)).run
  updatedRows <- sql"update person set age = 15 where name = 'Alice'"
  person <- sql"select id, name, age from person where name = 'Alice'".query[Person].unique
} yield (insertedRows, updatedRows, person)

val (insertedRows, updatedRows, person) = result

insertedRows should be(res0)
updatedRows should be(res1)
person.age should be(Option(res2))

Retrieving info

When we insert we usually want the new row back, so let’s do that. First we’ll do it the hard way, by inserting, getting the last used key via lastVal(), then selecting the indicated row.

def insert2(name: String, age: Option[Short]): ConnectionIO[Person] =
  for {
    _ <- sql"insert into person (name, age) values ($name, $age)"
    id <- sql"select lastval()".query[Long].unique
    p <- sql"select id, name, age from person where id = $id".query[Person].unique
  } yield p

This is irritating but it is supported by all databases (although the “get the last used id” function will vary by vendor).

Some database (like H2) allow you to return [only] the inserted id, allowing the above operation to be reduced to two statements (see below for an explanation of withUniqueGeneratedKeys).

def insert2_H2(name: String, age: Option[Int]): ConnectionIO[Person] =
  for {
    id <- sql"insert into person (name, age) values ($name, $age)".update
    p <- sql"select id, name, age from person where id = $id".query[Person].unique
  } yield p

val person = insert2_H2("Ramone", Option(42))
  .run should be(res0)
person.age should be(Option(res1))

Other databases (including PostgreSQL) provide a way to do this in one shot by returning multiple specified columns from the inserted row.

def insert3(name: String, age: Option[Int]): ConnectionIO[Person] = {
  sql"insert into person (name, age) values ($name, $age)"
    .update.withUniqueGeneratedKeys("id", "name", "age")

The withUniqueGeneratedKeys specifies that we expect exactly one row back (otherwise an exception will be thrown), and requires a list of columns to return.

This mechanism also works for updates, for databases that support it. In the case of multiple row updates we use withGeneratedKeys and get a Process[ConnectionIO, Person] back.

Batch Updates

doobie supports batch updating via the updateMany and updateManyWithGeneratedKeys operations on the Update data type.

By using an Update directly we can apply many sets of arguments to the same statement, and execute it as a single batch operation.

- updateMany will return the updated of affected rows

- For databases that support it (such as PostgreSQL) we can use updateManyWithGeneratedKeys to return a stream of updated rows.

type PersonInfo = (String, Option[Short])

def insertMany(ps: List[PersonInfo]): ConnectionIO[Int] = {
  val sql = "insert into person (name, age) values (?, ?)"

// Some rows to insert
val data = List[PersonInfo](("Frank", Some(12)), ("Daddy", None))

val insertedRows = insertMany(data)

insertedRows should be(res0)