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Friendly SQL Functions

In Getting Started, we used execute! and execute-one! for all our SQL operations, except when we were reducing a result set. These functions (and plan) all expect a "connectable" and a vector containing a SQL string followed by any parameter values required.

A "connectable" can be a javax.sql.DataSource, a java.sql.Connection, or something that can produce a datasource (when get-datasource is called on it). It can also be a java.sql.PreparedStatement but we'll cover that a bit later...

Because string-building isn't always much fun, next.jdbc.sql also provides some "friendly" functions for basic CRUD operations:

  • insert! and insert-multi! -- for inserting one or more rows into a table -- "Create",
  • query -- an alias for execute! when using a vector of SQL and parameters -- "Read",
  • update! -- for updating one or more rows in a table -- "Update",
  • delete! -- for deleting one or more rows in a table -- "Delete".

as well as these more specific "read" operations:

  • find-by-keys -- a query on one or more column values, specified as a hash map or WHERE clause,
  • get-by-id -- a query to return a single row, based on a single column value, usually the primary key.

These functions are described in more detail below. They are deliberately simple and intended to cover only the most common, basic SQL operations. The primary API (plan, execute!, execute-one!) is the recommended approach for everything beyond that. If you need more expressiveness, consider one of the following libraries to build SQL/parameter vectors, or run queries:

  • HoneySQL -- a composable DSL for creating SQL/parameter vectors from Clojure data structures
  • seql -- a simplified EQL-inspired query language, built on next.jdbc (as of release 0.1.6)
  • SQLingvo -- a composable DSL for creating SQL/parameter vectors
  • Walkable -- full EQL query language support for creating SQL/parameter vectors

If you prefer to write your SQL separately from your code, take a look at HugSQL -- HugSQL documentation -- which has a next.jdbc adapter, as of version 0.5.1. See below for a "quick start" for using HugSQL with next.jdbc.


Given a table name (as a keyword) and a hash map of column names and values, this performs a single row insertion into the database:

(sql/insert! ds :address {:name "A. Person" :email ""})
;; equivalent to
(jdbc/execute-one! ds ["INSERT INTO address (name,email) VALUES (?,?)"
                       "A.Person" ""] {:return-keys true})


Given a table name (as a keyword), a vector of column names, and a vector of row value vectors, this performs a multi-row insertion into the database:

(sql/insert-multi! ds :address
  [:name :email]
  [["Stella" ""]
   ["Waldo" ""]
   ["Aunt Sally" ""]])
;; equivalent to
(jdbc/execute! ds ["INSERT INTO address (name,email) VALUES (?,?), (?,?), (?,?)"
                   "Stella" ""
                   "Waldo" ""
                   "Aunt Sally" ""] {:return-keys true})

Note: this expands to a single SQL statement with placeholders for every value being inserted -- for large sets of rows, this may exceed the limits on SQL string size and/or number of parameters for your JDBC driver or your database. Several databases have a limit of 1,000 parameter placeholders. Oracle does not support this form of multi-row insert, requiring a different syntax altogether.

You should look at next.jdbc.prepare/execute-batch! for an alternative approach.


Given a vector of SQL and parameters, execute it:

(sql/query ds ["select * from address where name = ?" "Stella"])
;; equivalent to
(jdbc/execute! ds ["SELECT * FROM address WHERE name = ?" "Stella"])

Note that the single argument form of execute!, taking just a PreparedStatement, is not supported by query.


Given a table name (as a keyword), a hash map of columns names and values to set, and either a hash map of column names and values to match on or a vector containing a partial WHERE clause and parameters, perform an update operation on the database:

(sql/update! ds :address {:name "Somebody New"} {:id 2})
;; equivalent to
(sql/update! ds :address {:name "Somebody New"} ["id = ?" 2])
;; equivalent to
(jdbc/execute-one! ds ["UPDATE address SET name = ? WHERE id = ?"
                       "Somebody New" 2])


Given a table name (as a keyword) and either a hash map of column names and values to match on or a vector containing a partial WHERE clause and parameters, perform a delete operation on the database:

(sql/delete! ds :address {:id 8})
;; equivalent to
(sql/delete! ds :address ["id = ?" 8])
;; equivalent to
(jdbc/execute-one! ds ["DELETE FROM address WHERE id = ?" 8])


Given a table name (as a keyword) and either a hash map of column names and values to match on or a vector containing a partial WHERE clause and parameters, execute a query on the database:

(sql/find-by-keys ds :address {:name "Stella" :email ""})
;; equivalent to
(sql/find-by-keys ds :address ["name = ? AND email = ?"
                               "Stella" ""])
;; equivalent to
(jdbc/execute! ds ["SELECT * FROM address WHERE name = ? AND email = ?"
                   "Stella" ""])

find-by-keys supports an :order-by option which can specify a vector of column names to sort the results by. Elements may be column names or pairs of a column name and the direction to sort: :asc or :desc:

(sql/find-by-keys ds :address
                  {:name "Stella" :email ""}
                  {:order-by [[:id :desc]]})
;; equivalent to
(jdbc/execute! ds ["SELECT * FROM address WHERE name = ? AND email = ? ORDER BY id DESC"
                   "Stella" ""])

If no rows match, find-by-keys returns [], just like execute!.


Given a table name (as a keyword) and a primary key value, with an optional primary key column name, execute a query on the database:

(sql/get-by-id ds :address 2)
;; equivalent to
(sql/get-by-id ds :address 2 {})
;; equivalent to
(sql/get-by-id ds :address 2 :id {})
;; equivalent to
(jdbc/execute-one! ds ["SELECT * FROM address WHERE id = ?" 2])

Note that in order to override the default primary key column name (of :id), you need to specify both the column name and an options hash map.

If no rows match, get-by-id returns nil, just like execute-one!.

Table & Column Entity Names

By default, next.jdbc.sql functions construct SQL strings with the entity names exactly matching the (unqualified) keywords provided. If you are trying to use a table name or column name that is a reserved name in SQL for your database, you will need to tell those functions to quote those names.

The namespace next.jdbc.quoted provides five functions that cover the most common types of entity quoting, and a modifier function for quoting dot-separated names (e.g., that include schemas):

  • ansi -- wraps entity names in double quotes,

  • mysql -- wraps entity names in back ticks,

  • sql-server -- wraps entity names in square brackets,

  • oracle -- an alias for ansi,

  • postgres -- an alias for ansi.

  • schema -- wraps a quoting function to support dbo.table style entity names.

These quoting functions can be provided to any of the friendly SQL functions above using the :table-fn and :column-fn options, in a hash map provided as the (optional) last argument in any call. If you want to provide your own entity naming function, you can do that:

(defn snake-case [s] (str/replace s #"-" "_"))

(sql/insert! ds :my-table {:some "data"} {:table-fn snake-case})

Note that the entity naming function is passed a string, the result of calling name on the keyword passed in. Also note that the default quoting functions do not handle schema-qualified names, such as dbo.table_name -- sql-server would produce [dbo.table_name] from that. Use the schema function to wrap the quoting function if you need that behavior, e.g,. {:table-fn (schema sql-server)} which would produce [dbo].[table_name].

HugSQL Quick Start

Here's how to get up and running quickly with next.jdbc and HugSQL. For more detail, consult the HugSQL documentation. Add the following dependencies to your project (in addition to seancorfield/next.jdbc and whichever JDBC drivers you need):

        com.layerware/hugsql-core {:mvn/version "0.5.1"}
        com.layerware/hugsql-adapter-next-jdbc {:mvn/version "0.5.1"}

Check the HugSQL documentation for the latest versions to use!

Write your SQL in .sql files that are on the classpath (somewhere under src or resources). For our purposes, assume a SQL file db/example.sql containing your first set of definitions. In your namespace, add these requires:

            [hugsql.core :as hugsql]
            [ :as adapter]
            [next.jdbc :as jdbc]

At program startup you'll need to call these functions (either at the top-level of your namespace on inside your initialization function):

;; regular SQL functions
(hugsql/def-db-fns "db/example.sql"
                   {:adapter (adapter/hugsql-adapter-next-jdbc)})

;; development/advanced usage functions that produce a vector containing
;; SQL and parameters that could be passed to jdbc/execute! etc
(hugsql/def-sqlvec-fns "db/example.sql"
                       {:adapter (adapter/hugsql-adapter-next-jdbc)})

Those calls will add function definitions to that namespace based on what is in the .sql files. Now set up your db-spec and datasource as usual with next.jdbc:

(def db-spec {:dbytpe "h2:mem" :dbtype "example"}) ; assumes H2 driver in deps.edn

(def ds (jdbc/get-datasource db-spec))

Borrowing from Princess Bride examples from the HugSQL documentation, you can now do things like this:

(create-characters-table ds)
;;=> [#:next.jdbc{:update-count 0}]
(insert-character ds {:name "Westley", :specialty "love"})
;;=> 1

By default, for compatibility with their default adapter (, the next.jdbc adapter uses the next.jdbc.result-set/as-unqualified-lower-maps builder function. You can specify a different builder function when you pass in the adapter:

;; add require next.jdbc.result-set :as rs to your ns

(hugsql/def-db-fns "db/example.sql"
                   {:adapter (adapter/hugsql-adapter-next-jdbc
                              {:builder-fn rs/as-maps})})

;; now you'll get qualified as-is hash maps back:
(character-by-id ds {:id 1})
;;=> #:CHARACTERS{:ID 1, :NAME "Westley", :SPECIALTY "love", :CREATED_AT #inst "2019-09-27T18:52:54.413000000-00:00"}

Tips & Tricks

This section will accrue various tips and tricks that make it easier to use next.jdbc with a variety of databases. It will be mostly organized by database, but there are a few that are cross-database and those are listed first.


Columns declared with the CLOB or BLOB SQL types are typically rendered into Clojure result sets as database-specific custom types but they will implement java.sql.Clob or java.sql.Blob (as appropriate). In general, you can only read the data out of those Java objects during the current transaction, which effectively means that you need to do it either inside the reduction (for plan) or inside the result set builder (for execute! or execute-one!). If you always treat these types the same way for all columns across the whole of your application, you could simply extend next.jdbc.result-set/ReadableColumn to java.sql.Clob (and/or java.sql.Blob). Here's an example for reading CLOB into a String:

(extend-protocol rs/ReadableColumn
  (read-column-by-label ^String [^java.sql.Clob v _]
    (with-open [rdr (.getCharacterStream v)] (slurp rdr)))
  (read-column-by-index ^String [^java.sql.Clob v _2 _3]
    (with-open [rdr (.getCharacterStream v)] (slurp rdr))))

There is a helper in next.jdbc.result-set to make this easier -- clob->string:

(extend-protocol rs/ReadableColumn
  (read-column-by-label ^String [^java.sql.Clob v _]
    (clob->string v))
  (read-column-by-index ^String [^java.sql.Clob v _2 _3]
    (clob->string v)))

As noted in Result Set Builders, there is also clob-column-reader that can be used with the as-*-adapter result set builder functions.

No helper or column reader is provided for BLOB data since it is expected that the semantics of any given binary data will be application specific. For a raw byte[] you could probably use:

    (.getBytes v 1 (.length v)) ; BLOB has 1-based byte index!

Consult the java.sql.Blob documentation for more ways to process it.

MS SQL Server

By default, you won't get table names as qualifiers with Microsoft's JDBC driver (you might with the jTDS drive -- I haven't tried that recently). See this MSDN forum post about .getTableName() for details. According to one of the answers posted there, if you specify :result-type and :concurrency in the options for execute!, execute-one!, plan, or prepare, that will cause SQL Server to return table names for columns. :result-type needs to be :scoll-sensitive or :scroll-insensitive for this to work. :concurrency can be :read-only or :updatable.


MySQL generally stores tables as files so they are case-sensitive if your O/S is (Linux) or case-insensitive if your O/S is not (Mac, Windows) but the column names are generally case-insensitive. This can matter when if you use next.jdbc.result-set/as-lower-maps because that will lower-case the table names (as well as the column names) so if you are round-tripping based on the keys you get back, you may produce an incorrect table name in terms of case. You'll also need to be careful about :table-fn/:column-fn because of this.

It's also worth noting that column comparisons are case-insensitive so WHERE foo = 'BAR' will match "bar" or "BAR" etc.


Ah, dear old Oracle! Over the years of maintaining and now next.jdbc, I've had all sorts of bizarre and non-standard behavior reported from Oracle users. The main issue I'm aware of with next.jdbc is that Oracle's JDBC drivers all return an empty string from ResultSetMetaData.getTableName() so you won't get qualified keywords in the result set hash maps. Sorry!


If you have a query where you want to select where a column is IN a sequence of values, you can use col = ANY(?) with a native array of the values instead of IN (?,?,?,,,?) and a sequence of values.

What does this mean for your use of next.jdbc? In plan, execute!, and execute-one!, you can use col = ANY(?) in the SQL string and a single primitive array parameter, such as (int-array [1 2 3 4]). That means that in next.jdbc.sql's functions that take a where clause (find-by-keys, update!, and delete!) you can specify ["col = ANY(?)" (int-array data)] for what would be a col IN (?,?,?,,,?) where clause for other databases and require multiple values.

<: Getting Started | Result Set Builders :>

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