RDBI - Low-level Database Access Re-imagined

RDBI is intended primarily as an alternative to the heavier database layers in the Ruby ecosystem. It provides a consistent interface to databases for working with query languages directly, instead of providing an extremely high level interface which does this work for you. While usable, it largely targets high-level database libraries, similar to how rack targets web frameworks.

I'd like to get started

If you'd prefer to head straight to sinking your teeth into the API, here's a path down the rabbit hole:

  • RDBI is what you'll use to get your RDBI::Database handle. If you need collections of database handles, look at RDBI::Pool.

  • RDBI::Database contains methods for dealing with database level operations and preparing and executing RDBI::Statement objects.

  • RDBI::Statement works with RDBI::Cursor to yield RDBI::Result objects, which leverage RDBI::Result::Driver classes to yield data.

  • If you're interested in how schemas and types are dealt with, see RDBI::Schema, RDBI::Column, and RDBI::Type.

Give me a code sample already!

# connect to an in-memory sqlite3 database:
dbh = RDBI.connect(:SQLite3, :database => ":memory:")

# execute this CREATE TABLE statement:
dbh.execute("create table foo (bar integer, baz varchar)")

# prepare an insert statement for execution with two placeholders:
dbh.prepare("insert into foo (bar, baz) values (?, ?)") do |sth|

  # and execute it with bound variables:
  sth.execute(1, "foo")
  sth.execute(2, "bar")
  sth.execute(3, "quux")

# get a result handle from a select statement:
result = dbh.execute("select * from foo")

# and fetch the first row
result.fetch(:first) # [1, "foo"]

What is RDBI all about, anyway?

Here are some important pieces of information about RDBI that you may find compelling (or off-putting. We're pragmatists.):

  • RDBI is, at the time of this writing, fewer than 1000 lines of code.

  • RDBI is light and fast. Eventually we will show you benchmarks.

  • RDBI can be tested without a database, or even a database driver.

  • RDBI is almost 100% thread-safe.

  • RDBI can transform your results through a driver system. Want a CSV? Use the CSV driver, don't bother transforming it yourself. Transform to JSON or YAML with another gem. Drivers can be independently installed, used and swapped.

  • RDBI contains no monkeypatching, core extensions, or other hell that will conflict with your other libraries.

  • RDBI is designed around properties of a relational database, but there is nothing in it that demands one – use it with Mongo or Redis if you want.

  • RDBI database drivers are small – our sqlite driver is about 150 lines and our PostgreSQL driver is about 300. Our mock driver is about 50.

  • RDBI has an active community of experienced Rails and Ruby programmers.

I'd like some more, please.

# result objects are very flexible and amenable to method chaining:
dbh.execute("select * from foo").fetch(2) # [[1, "foo"], [2, "bar"]]

result = dbh.execute("select * from foo")

# select iteratively, then rewind to the first item:

# change the way the results are presented:
result.as(:CSV).fetch(2) # '1,"foo"\n2,"bar"\n'

# :CSV is shorthand for RDBI::Result::Driver::CSV. you can also use literal
# class names:

# or maybe your own:

# Here's another included driver:
str = result.as(:Struct).fetch(:first)
str.bar # 1
str.baz # "foo"


# select a single item in CSV format
csv = result.fetch(:first, :CSV)

# get the whole thing as an array of structs, keyed by column
ary_of_struct = result.as(:Struct).fetch(:all)

# as() automagically rewinds for you, so select twice for multi-dimension
# presentations:
ary = result.as(:Array).fetch(:all)

# and we're done! Disconnect from the database.

Here are some things that it does:

  • Connection pooling with aggregate transforms of your connections (that's a fancy way of saying it uses Enumerable in the Pools). It can be responsible for n segmented pools which relate to different logical databases.

  • Native client binding and interpolated binding for databases that do not support it.

  • Don't like our drivers? No one's requiring you to use them – RDBI drivers aren't coupled with RDBI in any way.

  • Result drivers can be used to transform your output into whatever you need – never write a transformation skeleton again.

  • Result handles can be used to work with results like real data structures. Rewind them, ask the database to re-query the data, select a struct then select an array (without requerying), select n items at a time as tuples (which may be more than one or less than all).

  • Cursors are used underneath the hood to ensure as performant a situation as your database (and underlying driver) can provide.

  • RDBI's core test suite passes in MRI 1.8, 1.9, and JRuby 1.5.

Aaaaaand here are some things RDBI won't do:

  • RDBI won't write your queries for you. (There are libraries that use RDBI for that.)

  • RDBI won't dictate your schema.

  • RDBI won't prevent you from being stupid or clever.

  • It won't save you tons of time because you can't be bothered to think about how you access your data.

  • It won't make you (or anyone, really) a rockstar.

  • Do not taunt RDBI.

Show me even more awesome!

# retrieve cached handles 5 times -- handles will be yielded twice if there
# is a smaller Pool size: 
5.times do
  RDBI.connect_cached(:SQLite3, :database => ":memory:")

# omg! this handle is really already connected!
dbh = RDBI.connect_cached(:SQLite3, :database => ":memory:")

# finer-grained control via RDBI::Pool:
# 2 connections:
pool = RDBI::Pool.new("my_pool_name", [:SQLite3, :database => ":memory:"], 2)

# zomg!
dbh = pool.get_dbh

# oh lordy lord! still 2 connections
10.times { pool.get_dbh }

pool.disconnect # disconnect the entire pool
pool.reconnect  # reconnect the entire pool

pool.resize(10) # resize the pool to 10 connections.

Who is responsible for this madness?

  • Erik Hollensbe (erikh)

  • Pistos (… Pistos)

  • Lee Jarvis (injekt)

  • James Tucker (raggi)

I found a bug!

We use the trackers in the github RDBI project: github.com/RDBI for each gem. Please find the appropriate place to add your ticket.

Not sure? Just add it to the rdbi tracker: github.com/RDBI/rdbi/issues

I'd like to patch and/or help maintain RDBI. How can I?

  • Fork the project: github.com/RDBI

  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.

  • Please add tests for it, or indicate there are none. Patches without tests will get integrated slower and must be very compelling.

  • We use jeweler for our repository management – patches that mess with this will be rejected regardless of merit.

  • If you fork it permanently, be prepared to support it; we won't.

Let's chat

Copyright © 2010 Erik Hollensbe. See LICENSE for details.