High Performance PostgreSQL for Rails: Clone and Replace using creation DDL statements (page 58-60)


I have encountered a couple of issues in the sections explaining the cloning of tables without constraints, copying all rows, and recreating constraints using creation DDL statements. I believe these areas could benefit from additional clarity and completeness.

The area where I found some confusion is related to the statement:

A better way is to list out the constraint definitions as creation DDL statements. This makes for straightforward copy-and-paste to recreate them.

While the book does an excellent job explaining how to handle each constraint, sequence, and index individually, it does not provide a cohesive example of create an equivalent constraint on the destination table using the definition from the source table using creation DDL statements.

Including a comprehensive example that demonstrates the steps involved in extracting constraint definitions and applying them to the destination table would be extremely beneficial.

I appreciate your attention to these points and believe that addressing them will significantly enhance the clarity and usefulness of your book for readers.

Best regards,

Dear Andrew @andatki,

I have found a working solution for the problem discussed in your book related to cloning tables without constraints, copying rows, and recreating constraints. I would like to share this solution, which may help other readers who are facing similar issues.

Solution: SCRUB_BATCHES Procedure

Below is the SCRUB_BATCHES procedure I created. This procedure iterates over the current tables, scrubs sensitive data using predefined functions, and copies the data to a new table:

-- Ensure the hstore extension is enabled
CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE SCRUB_BATCHES(schema_name text, tablename text)
LANGUAGE plpgsql
AS $$
  current_id INT;
  max_id INT;
  batch_size INT := 1000;
  rows_inserted INT;
  column_list text;
  value_list text;
  attr_rec RECORD;
  scrub_functions hstore :=   'name => SCRUB_NAME,
                              -- Additional functions follow
                              email => SCRUB_EMAIL,
                              secret => SCRUB_SECRET,
                              -- Additional functions follow
                              ssn => SCRUB_SSN';
  function_name text;
  key text;
  value text;
  -- Get the minimum and maximum IDs for the specified table
  EXECUTE format('SELECT MIN(id), MAX(id) FROM %I.%I', schema_name, tablename)
  INTO current_id, max_id;

  -- Loop over the table in batches of `batch_size`
  WHILE current_id IS NOT NULL AND current_id <= max_id LOOP
    -- Reset the column and value lists for each batch
    column_list := 'id';
    value_list := 'id';

    -- Retrieve the list of attributes for the specified table
    FOR attr_rec IN
      SELECT a.attname, col_description(a.attrelid, a.attnum) as comment
      FROM pg_attribute a
      WHERE a.attrelid = format('%I.%I', schema_name, tablename)::regclass
        AND a.attnum > 0
        AND NOT a.attisdropped
        AND a.attname NOT IN ('id') -- Exclude 'id' column from updates
      -- Determine the appropriate scrubbing function based on attribute name patterns
      function_name := NULL;
      FOR key, value IN SELECT * FROM each(scrub_functions)
        IF attr_rec.attname NOT IN ('id') AND attr_rec.attname NOT ILIKE '%_id'
            AND attr_rec.attname ILIKE '%' || key || '%' THEN
          function_name := value;
        END IF;
      END LOOP;

      -- Append attribute to the column and value lists with the determined scrubbing function
      column_list := column_list || format(', %I', attr_rec.attname);

      IF function_name IS NOT NULL THEN
        value_list := value_list || format(', CASE WHEN %I.%I.%I IS NOT NULL THEN %s(%I.%I.%I) ELSE %I.%I.%I END',
                                            schema_name, tablename, attr_rec.attname,
                                            function_name, schema_name, tablename, attr_rec.attname,
                                            schema_name, tablename, attr_rec.attname);
        -- Default case if no specific scrubbing function is defined
        value_list := value_list || format(', %I.%I.%I', schema_name, tablename, attr_rec.attname);
      END IF;

    -- Execute the insert statement with the dynamically built column and value lists
    EXECUTE format('INSERT INTO %I.%I_copy (%s) SELECT %s FROM %I.%I WHERE id >= %L AND id < %L',
                    schema_name, tablename,
                    schema_name, tablename, current_id::bigint, (current_id + batch_size)::bigint);

    GET DIAGNOSTICS rows_inserted = ROW_COUNT;

    RAISE NOTICE 'Table: %, current_id: % - Number of rows inserted: %', tablename, current_id, rows_inserted;

    current_id := current_id + batch_size + 1;
END $$;

This SCRUB_BATCHES procedure can be executed for iterating over the current tables as follows:

CALL SCRUB_BATCHES(schema_name, table_rec.tablename);

It can be easily changed to use a batched UPDATE statement, as explained in the book on page 64.

Issues with Existing Constraints and Indexes

Following the book explanations, I was able to use this procedure on all tables. However, I still encountered issues with existing constraints that cascade on the old tables and the new, copied tables.

Example constraints:

       table_name         |        foreign_key        |                    pg_get_constraintdef
 trip_positions           | trip_positions_pkey_copy  | PRIMARY KEY (id)
 trip_positions           | fk_rails_9688ac8706_copy  | FOREIGN KEY (trip_id) REFERENCES trips_old(id)
 trip_positions_old       | trip_positions_pkey       | PRIMARY KEY (id)
 trip_positions_old       | fk_rails_9688ac8706       | FOREIGN KEY (trip_id) REFERENCES trips_old(id)
-- Additional constraints follow

Example indexes:

indexname                 |        tablename
trip_positions_pkey       | trip_positions_old
trip_positions_pkey_copy  | trip_positions
 -- Additional indexes follow

After several hours of working on this script, I could not find a good way to remove these constraints and indexes automatically.

If you would like to see the full example, I can upload it to the forum for further discussion and review.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,


PS: If found the chapter order Performing Database Maintenance and Performing Updates in Batches not logical and weird. I would expect it in opposite order. Also, a missed a notice, that VACUUM cannot run in a transaction and cannot run in a function or in a procedure. Which is crucial for the provided examples.

I successfully resolved the issue with existing constraints and indexes! :tada: I now have a complete script that works across all tables and projects. It took me two full days to write, incorporating 40 functions, 1 procedure, and around 10 queries.

If anyone needs this script, feel free to reach out to me.

PS: @andatki I’d love to see it included in the book, as this was a missing piece that could benefit many readers.

Best regards,