SQLite on Rails: Rails 7.1 and enhanced SQLite3 adapter

Rails version 7.1 was released recently and it includes a number of enhancements to the SQLite ActiveRecord adapter. There are a few enhancements that didn’t quite make it into the 7.1 release though, so today I am releasing the activerecord-enhancedsqlite3-adapter gem.

As a part of the Rails 7.1 release, I was able to ship a number of enhancements to the SQLite3Adapter for ActiveRecord:

These enhancements come in addition to the improvements made to the sqlite3-ruby gem:

These improvements to Ruby’s ecosystem give Ruby and Rails one of the very best out-of-the-box SQLite experiences. But, this is only the beginning.

I have two additional pull requests for Rails that add additional ActiveRecord features to the SQLite3Adapter:

Both will be in a future release of Rails, but I wanted to make these features available for any and all Rails 7.1 applications today. So, today I am releasing the initial version of the activerecord-enhancedsqlite3-adapter gem. This gems patches the SQLite3Adapter to add these features plus a couple small others. You can find the source code on my GitHub.

In addition to the new Rails 7.1 features, this gem enhances the SQLite3Adapter by providing these 4 additional features:

This gem hooks into your Rails application to enhance the SQLite3Adapter automatically. No setup required!

Once installed, you can take advantage of the added features.

Generated columns

You can now create virtual columns, both stored and dynamic. The SQLite docs explain the difference:

Generated columns can be either VIRTUAL or STORED. The value of a VIRTUAL column is computed when read, whereas the value of a STORED column is computed when the row is written. STORED columns take up space in the database file, whereas VIRTUAL columns use more CPU cycles when being read.

The default is to create dynamic/virtual columns.

create_table :virtual_columns, force: true do |t|
t.string :name
t.virtual :upper_name, type: :string, as: "UPPER(name)", stored: true
t.virtual :lower_name, type: :string, as: "LOWER(name)", stored: false
t.virtual :octet_name, type: :integer, as: "LENGTH(name)"

Deferred foreign keys

You can now specify whether or not a foreign key should be deferrable, whether :deferred or :immediate.

:deferred foreign keys mean that the constraint check will be done once the transaction is committed and allows the constraint behavior to change within transaction. :immediate means that constraint check is immediate and allows the constraint behavior to change within transaction. The default is :immediate.

add_reference :person, :alias, foreign_key: { deferrable: :deferred }
add_reference :alias, :person, foreign_key: { deferrable: :deferred }

PRAGMA tuning

Pass any PRAGMA key-value pair under a pragmas list in your config/database.yml file to ensure that these configuration settings are applied to all database connections.

default: &default
adapter: sqlite3
pool: <%= ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS") { 5 } %>
# level of database durability, 2 = "FULL" (sync on every write), other values include 1 = "NORMAL" (sync every 1000 written pages) and 0 = "NONE"
# https://www.sqlite.org/pragma.html#pragma_synchronous
synchronous: "FULL"

Extension loading

There are a number of SQLite extensions available as Ruby gems. In order to load the extensions, you need to install the gem (bundle add {extension-name}) and then load it into the database connections. In order to support the latter, this gem enhances the config/database.yml file to support an extensions array. For example, to install and load an extension for supporting ULIDs, we would do:

$ bundle add sqlite_ulid


default: &default
adapter: sqlite3
pool: <%= ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS") { 5 } %>
- sqlite_ulid

All in all, there has never been a better time to start a new Rails application using SQLite.

All posts in this series