This chapter describes how to write type-safe queries for selecting, inserting, updating and deleting data with Slick’s Scala-based query API.
In the code examples below we assume the following imports:
If you’re new to Slick, please start with the Getting Started page.
The API for building queries is a lifted embedding, which means that you are not working with standard Scala types but with types that are lifted into a Rep type constructor. This becomes clearer when you compare the types of a simple Scala collections example
… with the types of similar code in Slick:
All plain types are lifted into
Rep. The same is true for the table row
Coffees which is a subtype of
Even the literal
8.0 is automatically lifted to a
Rep[Double] by an
implicit conversion because that is what the
> operator on
Rep[Double] expects for the right-hand side. This lifting is necessary
because the lifted types allow us to generate a syntax tree that captures
the query computations. Getting plain Scala functions and values would not
give us enough information for translating those computations to SQL.
Scalar (non-record, non-collection) values are represented by type
Rep[T] for which an implicit
The operators and other methods which are commonly used in queries
are added through implicit conversions defined in
ExtensionMethodConversions. The actual methods can be found in
Warning: Most operators mimic the plain Scala equivalents, but you have to use
==for comparing two values for equality and
!=for inequality. This is necessary because these operators are already defined (with unsuitable types and semantics) on the base type
Any, so they cannot be replaced by extension methods. Similarly, to combine a Scala
ConstColumn[String], don‘t use
str + repsyntax, since Scala provides a universal
+operator for strings that works with
Any. Instead use slick’s
(str: Rep[String]) ++ rep
Collection values are represented by the
Query class (a
Rep[Seq[T]]) which contains many
standard collection methods like
groupBy. Due to the two
different component types of a
Query (lifted and plain, e.g.
Query[(Rep[Int], Rep[String]), (Int, String), Seq]), the signatures for these methods are very complex but the semantics are
essentially the same as for Scala collections.
Additional methods for queries of scalar values are added via an
implicit conversion to
There are various methods with sorting/filtering semantics (i.e. they take a
Query and return a new
Query of the same type), for example:
Joins are used to combine two different tables or queries into a single query. There are two different ways of writing joins: Applicative and monadic.
Applicative joins are performed by calling a method that joins two queries into a single query of a tuple of the individual results. They have the same restrictions as joins in SQL, i.e. the right-hand side may not depend on the left-hand side. This is enforced naturally through Scala’s scoping rules.
Note the use of
map in the
yield clauses of the outer joins. Since these joins can
introduce additional NULL values (on the right-hand side for a left outer join, on the left-hand
sides for a right outer join, and on both sides for a full outer join), the respective sides of
the join are wrapped in an
None representing a row that was not matched).
Monadic joins are created with
flatMap. They are theoretically more powerful than
applicative joins because the right-hand side may depend on the left-hand side. However, this is
not possible in standard SQL, so Slick has to compile them down to applicative joins, which is
possible in many useful cases but not in all of them (and there are cases where it is possible in
theory but Slick cannot perform the required transformation yet). If a monadic join cannot be
properly translated, it will fail at runtime.
A cross-join is created with a
flatMap operation on a
(i.e. by introducing more than one generator in a for-comprehension):
If you add a filter expression, it becomes an inner join:
The semantics of these monadic joins are the same as when you are using
flatMap on Scala collections.
Slick generates implicit joins in SQL (
select ... from a, b where ...) for where possible, and explicit joins (
select ... from a join b on ...) otherwise.
In addition to the usual applicative join operators supported by relational databases
(which are based off a cross join or outer join), Slick also has zip joins
which create a pairwise join of two queries. The semantics are again the same
as for Scala collections, using the
A particular kind of zip join is provided by
zipWithIndex. It zips a query
result with an infinite sequence starting at 0. Such a sequence cannot be
represented by an SQL database and Slick does not currently support it, either.
The resulting zipped query, however, can be represented in SQL with the use of a row number function,
zipWithIndex is supported as a primitive operator:
Two queries can be concatenated with the
operators if they have compatible types:
union which filters out duplicate values,
++ simply concatenates
the results of the individual queries, which is usually more efficient.
The simplest form of aggregation consists of computing a primitive value from a Query that returns a single column, usually with a numeric type, e.g.:
Note that these aggregate queries return a scalar result, not a collection. Some aggregation functions are defined for arbitrary queries (of more than one column):
Grouping is done with the
groupBy method. It has the same semantics as for
The intermediate query
q contains nested values of type
These would turn into nested collections when executing the query, which is
not supported at the moment. Therefore it is necessary to flatten the nested
queries immediately by aggregating their values (or individual columns)
as done in
If you only want a single result value, you can call
headOption on the
Deleting works very similarly to querying. You write a query which selects the
rows to delete and then get an Action by calling the
delete method on it:
A query for deleting must only use a single table - no joins are allowed (Slick does not yet support
USING keyword for deletes). Any projection is ignored (it always deletes full rows).
If you need to perform a join, you can
filter based on another
Inserts are done based on a projection of columns from a single table. When you use the table
directly, the insert is performed against its
* projection. Omitting some of a table’s columns
when inserting causes the database to use the default values specified in the table definition, or
a type-specific default in case no explicit default was given. All methods for building insert
Actions are defined in
When you include an
AutoInc column in an insert operation, it is silently
ignored, so that the database can generate the proper value.
In this case you usually want to get back the auto-generated primary key
column. By default,
+= gives you a count of the number of affected
rows (which will usually be 1) and
++= gives you an accumulated
count in an
Option (which can be
None if the database system does not
provide counts for all rows). This can be changed with the
method where you specify the columns to be returned (as a single value or
+= and a
Seq of such values from
Many database systems only allow a single column to be returned which must be the table’s auto-incrementing primary key. If you ask for other columns a
SlickExceptionis thrown at runtime (unless the database actually supports it).
You can follow the
returning method with the
into method to map
the inserted values and the generated keys (specified in returning) to a desired value.
Here is an example of using this feature to return an object with an updated id:
When using the
++=batch insert operation, Slick makes use of the JDBC batch API. The underlying JDBC driver will decide how to transmit the batch (via SQL) to the database server.
Slick may fall back to generating multiple insert statements for batch operations. This will depend on the driver (if it supports batch insert), and other circumstances (
returningkeys is generally not supported in batch operations).
Instead of inserting data from the client side you can also insert data
created by a
Query or a scalar expression that is executed in the
In these cases,
AutoInc columns are not ignored.
Updates are performed by writing a query that selects the data to update and then replacing it with new data. The query must only return raw columns (no computed values) selected from a single table. The relevant methods for updating are defined in UpdateExtensionMethods.
There is currently no way to use scalar expressions or transformations of the existing data in the database for updates.
Upserting is performed by supplying a row to be either inserted or updated. The object must contain the table’s primary key, since the update portion needs to be able to find a uniquelly matching row.
Database queries typically depend on some parameters, e.g. an ID for which
you want to retrieve a matching database row. You can write a regular Scala
function to create a parameterized
Query object each time you need to
execute that query but this will incur the cost of recompiling the query
in Slick (and possibly also on the database if you don’t use bind variables
for all parameters). It is more efficient to pre-compile such parameterized
This works for all functions that take parameters consisting only of individual columns or
records of columns and return a
Query object or a
scalar query. See the API documentation for Compiled
and its subclasses for details on composing compiled queries.
Be aware that
ConstColumn[Long] parameters. Unlike
which could be substituted by another value computed by a query, a ConstColumn can only be literal
value or a parameter of a compiled query. This is necessary because the actual value has to be
known by the time the query is prepared for execution by Slick.
You can use a compiled query for querying, inserting, updating and deleting data. For
backwards-compatibility with Slick 1.0 you can still create a compiled
query by calling
flatMap on a Parameters object.
In many cases this enables you to write a single for comprehension for a