release notes — November 21, 2023

Verifying database schema changes in v1.24.0

sqlc is a command line tool that generates type-safe code from SQL. Today we released sqlc v1.24.0 which includes a new feature to verify the correctness of database schema changes.

Catch unsafe database migrations with sqlc verify

Schema updates and poorly-written queries often bring down production databases. That’s bad.

Out of the box, sqlc generate catches some of these issues. Running sqlc vet with the sqlc/db-prepare rule catches more subtle problems. But there is a large class of issues that sqlc can’t prevent by looking at current schema and queries alone.

For instance, when a schema change is proposed, existing queries and code running in production might fail when the schema change is applied. Enter sqlc verify, which analyzes existing queries against new schema changes and errors if there are any issues.

Let’s look at an example. Assume you have these two tables in production.


CREATE TABLE user_actions (
  user_id UUID NOT NULL,
  action TEXT,
  created_at TIMESTAMP

Your application contains the following query to join user actions against the users table.

-- name: GetUserActions :many
SELECT * FROM users u
JOIN user_actions ua ON = ua.user_id
ORDER BY created_at;

To configure sqlc to push, set the project key in your cloud configuration to the value of your project ID, obtained via the dashboard.

version: '2'
  project: '<PROJECT_ID>'
- schema: schema.sql
  queries: query.sql
  engine: postgresql
      out: db

sqlc expects to find a valid auth token in the value of the SQLC_AUTH_TOKEN environment variable. You can create an auth token via the dashboard as well.

export SQLC_AUTH_TOKEN=sqlc_xxxxxxxx

Once those have been configured, run sqlc push:

$ sqlc push

So far, so good. Now let’s add a new database migration. Here we’re adding a new created_at column to the users table.


Running sqlc generate fails with this change, returning a column reference "created_at" is ambiguous error. You update your query to fix the issue.

-- name: GetUserActions :many
SELECT * FROM users u
JOIN user_actions ua ON = ua.user_id
ORDER BY u.created_at;

While that change fixes the issue, there’s a production outage waiting to happen. When the schema change is applied, the existing GetUserActions query will begin to fail. The correct way to fix this is to deploy the updated query before applying the schema migration.

sqlc verify was designed to catch these types of problems. It ensures migrations are safe to deploy by sending your current schema and queries to sqlc cloud. There, we run your existing queries against your new schema changes to find any issues.

Here sqlc verify alerts you to the fact that adding the new column isn’t safe.

$ sqlc verify
FAIL: app query.sql

=== Failed
=== FAIL: app query.sql GetUserActions
    ERROR: column reference "created_at" is ambiguous (SQLSTATE 42702)

By the way, this scenario isn’t made up! It happened to us a few weeks ago. We’ve been happily testing early versions of verify for the last two weeks and haven’t had any issues since.

This type of verification is only the start. If your application is deployed on-prem by your customers, verify could tell you if it’s safe for your customers to rollback to an older version of your app, even after schema migrations have been run.

Pushing schema and queries

We’ve renamed the upload sub-command to push. We changed the data sent along in a push request. Upload used to include the configuration file, migrations, queries, and all generated code. Push drops the generated code in favor of including the plugin.GenerateRequest, which is the protocol buffer message we pass to codegen plugins.

We also add annotations to each push. By default, we include these environment variables if they are present:


Like upload, push should be run when you tag a release of your application. We run it on every push to main, as we continuously deploy those commits.

MySQL support in createdb

The createdb command, added in the last release, now supports MySQL. If you have a cloud project configured, you can use sqlc createdb to spin up a new ephemeral database with your schema and print its connection string to standard output. This is useful for integrating with other tools. Read more in the managed databases documentation.

Plugin interface refactor

This release includes a refactored plugin interface to better support future functionality. Plugins now support different methods via a gRPC service interface, allowing plugins to support different functionality in a backwards-compatible way.

By using gRPC interfaces, we can even (theoretically) support remote plugins, but that’s something for another day.

And more…

There were more than 20 substantive features and bug fixes included in this release, including several contributions from first-time contributors. The full list of changes is in the sqlc changelog.

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