Write an SQL query builder in 150 lines of Python!

2021-08-20 ∙ 20 minute read

Previously

This is the fourth article in a series about writing an SQL query builder for my feed reader library.

Today, we'll dive into the code by rewriting it from scratch.

Think of it as part walk-through, part tutorial; along the way, we'll explore:

  • API design
  • knowing when to be lazy
  • worse and better ways of doing things

As you read this, keep in mind it is a story, thus linear by necessity. Development was decidedly not so: I tried things out, I changed my mind multiple times, and I rewrote everything once. Even now, there are other equally-good or better implementations; this one is simply good enough.

Contents

What are we trying to build? #

We want a way of building SQL strings that takes care of formatting:

>>> query = Query()
>>> query.SELECT('one').FROM('table')
<builder.Query object at 0x7fc953e60640>
>>> print(query)
SELECT
    one
FROM
    table

... and allows us to add parts incrementally:

>>> query.SELECT('two').WHERE('condition')
<builder.Query object at 0x7fc953e60640>
>>> print(query)
SELECT
    one,
    two
FROM
    table
WHERE
    condition

While not required, I recommend reading the previous articles to get a better idea of the problem we're trying to solve, and the context we're solving it in.

In short, whatever we build should:

  • support SELECT with conditional WITH, WHERE, ORDER BY, JOIN etc.
  • expose the names of the result columns (for scrolling window queries)
  • be easy to use, understand and maintain

This query builder is not directly comparable with that of an ORM. Instead, it is an alternative to building plain SQL strings by hand.

The caveats that apply to plain SQL apply to it as well: Using user-supplied values directly in an SQL query exposes you to SQL injection attacks. Instead, use parametrized queries whenever possible, and escaping only as a last resort.

Trade-offs #

Our solution does not exist in a void; it exists to be used by my feed reader library.

Notably, we're not making a general-purpose library with external users whose needs we're trying to anticipate; there's exactly one user with a pretty well-defined use case, and strict backwards compatibility is not necessary.

This allows us to make some upfront decisions to help with maintainability:

  • No needless customization. We can change the code directly if we need to.
  • No other features except the known requirements. We can add new ones when we need them.
  • No effort to support other syntax than SQLite.
  • No extensive testing. We can rely on the exising comprehensive functional tests.
  • No SQL validation. The database does this already.
    • However, it would be nice to get at least a little error checking. No need for custom exceptions, any kind is acceptable – they should come up only during development and testing anyway.

A minimal plausible solution #

Data representation #

As mentioned before, my prototype was based on the idea that queries can be represented as plain data structures.

Looking at a nicely formatted query, a natural representation may reveal itself:

SELECT
    one,
    two
FROM
    table
WHERE
    condition AND
    another-condition

See it?

It's a mapping with a list of strings for each clause:

{
    'SELECT': [
        'one',
        'two',
    ],
    'FROM': [
        'table',
    ],
    'WHERE': [
        'condition',
        'another-condition',
    ],
}

Let's use this as our starting model, and make ourselves a query builder.

Classes #

We start with a class:

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class Query:

    keywords = [
        'WITH',
        'SELECT',
        'FROM',
        'WHERE',
        'GROUP BY',
        'HAVING',
        'ORDER BY',
        'LIMIT',
    ]

    def __init__(self):
        self.data = {k: [] for k in self.keywords}

We use a class because most of the time we don't want to interact with the underlying data structure, since it's more likely to change. We're not subclassing dict, since that would unintentionally expose its methods (and thus, behavior), and we may need those names for something else.

Also, a class allows us to reduce verbosity:

# we want
query.SELECT('one', 'two').FROM('table')
# not
query['SELECT'].extend(['one', 'two'])
query['FROM'].append('table')

We use class variables for "static" data instead of hardcoding or module variables so it's easy to override (more on that later).

We don't customize anything in __init__() fow now; if we need more clauses, we can add them to keywords directly. Adding all known keywords to data upfront gets us free error checking: data[keyword] raises KeyError for unknown keywords.

Unless specified otherwise, I'll use clause and keyword to mean "item in self.data", not "SQL clause or keyword in general".

We could use dataclasses, but of the generated magic methods, we'd only use __repr__(), and its output would be too long to be useful anyway.

Adding things #

Next, we add code for adding string fragments to each clause:

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    def add(self, keyword, *args):
        target = self.data[keyword]

        for arg in args:
            target.append(_clean_up(arg))

        return self

    def __getattr__(self, name):
        if not name.isupper():
            return getattr(super(), name)
        return functools.partial(self.add, name.replace('_', ' '))


def _clean_up(thing: str) -> str:
    return textwrap.dedent(thing.rstrip()).strip()

add() is roughly equivalent to data[keyword]​.extend(args).

The main difference is that we dedent the arguments and remove trailing whitespace. This is intentional: we clean everything up and make as many choices when adding things, so we don't have to care about that when generating output, and so error checking happens as early as possible.

Also, add() returns self to enable method chaining: query​.add(...)​.add(...).


__getattr__() is called when an attribute does not exist, and allows us to return something instead of getting the default AttributeError.

What we return is a KEYWORD(*args) callable made on the fly by wrapping add() in a partial; a closure capturing name would be functionally equivalent.

Requiring the keywords to be uppercase is a stylistic choice, but does have advantages: it signals to the reader these are special "methods", and avoids shadowing dunder methods like __deepcopy__() without extra checks.

To indicate the attribute really doesn't exist, we need to raise AttributeError; we let getattr() do it for us (the parent object doesn't have a custom __getattr__()).

We could store the partial on the instance, which would side-step __getattr__() on subsequent calls, so we only make one partial per keyword; we could do it in __init__(), and not use __getattr__() at all; we could even use partialmethod, so there's only one per keyword per class! Or we can do nothing – they're likely premature optimization, and what we're doing now is more flexible anyway.


I said error checking happens as early as possible; that's almost true: if you look carefully at the code, you may notice query​.ESLECT doesn't raise an exception until called – query​.ESLECT().

Doing most of the work in add() does have some benefits, though: we can use it with partial and get chaining for free, and it's an escape hatch for when we want to use a "keyword" that's not a Python identifier (this will be useful later).

Output #

Finally, we turn the query into SQL:

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    default_separator = ','
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    def __str__(self):
        return ''.join(self._lines())

    def _lines(self):
        for keyword, things in self.data.items():
            if not things:
                continue

            yield f'{keyword}\n'
            yield from self._lines_keyword(keyword, things)

    def _lines_keyword(self, keyword, things):
        for i, thing in enumerate(things, 1):
            last = i == len(things)

            yield self._indent(thing)

            if not last:
                yield self.default_separator

            yield '\n'

    _indent = functools.partial(textwrap.indent, prefix='    ')

The only output API is str(); being the standard way of turning objects into strings in Python, it requires zero effort to learn.

str(query) calls __str__, which delegates to _lines(). We use a generator mainly because it allows us to write yield line instead of rv.append(line), making for somewhat cleaner code.

Another benefit of a generator is that it's lazy, so we can pass it around without having to build intermediary lists in memory; for example, to a file's writelines() method, or in yield from in another generator (e.g. for nested subqueries). We don't need it here, but it's useful when generating a lot of values.

We split the logic for individual clauses into _lines_keyword(), because we'll keep adding stuff to it. (I initially left everything in _lines(), and refactored when things got too complicated; no need to do that now.)

Since we'll want to indent things in the same way in more than one place, we make it a static "method" using partial.

You may notice we're not sorting the clauses in any way; dicts guarantee insertion order in Python 3.6+1, and we built data from keywords, so the order is preserved.

Tests #

Let's add a simple test to make sure we don't break already working stuff:

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def test_query_simple():
    query = Query().SELECT('select').FROM('from-one', 'from-two')
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        SELECT
            select
        FROM
            from-one,
            from-two
        """
    )

We'll keep adding to it with each feature.


For a minimal solution, we are done. We've "spent" 62 lines, or 38 statements.

The code so far: builder.py, test_builder.py.

Separators #

At this point, WHERE doesn't really make sense:

>>> print(Query().WHERE('a', 'b'))
WHERE
    a,
    b

We fix it by special-casing separators for a few clauses:

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    separators = dict(WHERE='AND', HAVING='AND')
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    def _lines_keyword(self, keyword, things):
        for i, thing in enumerate(things, 1):
            last = i == len(things)

            yield self._indent(thing)

            if not last:
                try:
                    yield ' ' + self.separators[keyword]
                except KeyError:
                    yield self.default_separator

            yield '\n'

We could've used defaultdict instead of using default_separator, but then we'd have to remember non-comma separators need a space: ' AND'; putting it in code means we don't have to remember anything.

Also, we could've put the separator on a new line: 'one\n​AND​ ​two' vs. 'one​ ​AND\n​two'. While slightly better style, it makes code more complicated for little benefit, and makes it less obvious that AND is just another separator.

We add WHERE to the test.
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def test_query_simple():
    query = (
        Query()
        .SELECT('select')
        .FROM('from-one', 'from-two')
        .WHERE('where-one', 'where-two')
    )
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        SELECT
            select
        FROM
            from-one,
            from-two
        WHERE
            where-one AND
            where-two
        """
    )

The code so far: builder.py, test_builder.py.

Aliases #

One of the requirements is that it should be possible to implement scrolling window queries on top. For this, code needs to get the result column names – the SELECT expressions or their aliases – and add them to a generated WHERE condition.

Parsing the result column is straightforward only for simple cases:

>>> query = Query().SELECT(
...   'column',
...   'column AS alias',
...   'column as alias',
...   '(SELECT column FROM table AS another-table)',
... )
>>> [s.rpartition(' AS ')[2] for s in query.data['SELECT']]
['column', 'alias', 'column as alias', 'another-table)']

An acceptable compromise is using pairs of strings for aliased columns. Since the column expression might be quite long, we'll make the alias the first thing in the pair.

>>> print(Query().SELECT(('alias', 'one'), 'two'))
SELECT
    one AS alias,
    two

As mentioned earlier, we store everything in a standard way to keep output code simpler. A plain 2-tuple is a decent choice, but a named tuple is more readable.

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class _Thing(NamedTuple):
    value: str
    alias: str = ''

    @classmethod
    def from_arg(cls, arg):
        if isinstance(arg, str):
            alias, value = '', arg
        elif len(arg) == 2:
            alias, value = arg
        else:
            raise ValueError(f"invalid arg: {arg!r}")
        return cls(_clean_up(value), _clean_up(alias))

Conveniently, this gives us a place where to convert the string-or-pair: the from_arg() alternate constructor. We could've made it a stand-alone function, but this way it's easier to see what type is being returned.

Note that we use an empty string to mean "no alias". In general, it's a good idea to distinguish this kind of absence by using None, since the empty string may be a valid input, and None can prevent some bugs – e.g. you can't concatenate None to a string. Here, an empty string cannot be a valid alias, and we use format strings, so we don't bother.

Using it is just a one-line change to add():

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    def add(self, keyword, *args):
        target = self.data[keyword]

        for arg in args:
            target.append(_Thing.from_arg(arg))

        return self

On output, we have two concerns:

  1. there may or may not be an alias
  2. the order differs depending on the keyword: you have SELECT expr AS column-alias, but WITH table-name AS (stmt) (we treat the CTE table name as an alias)

We can model this with mostly-empty defaultdicts with per-clause format strings:

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    formats = (
        defaultdict(lambda: '{value}'),
        defaultdict(lambda: '{value} AS {alias}', WITH='{alias} AS {value}'),
    )

... and choose the right defaultdict using the alias's boolean value:2

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    def _lines_keyword(self, keyword, things):
        for i, thing in enumerate(things, 1):
            last = i == len(things)

            format = self.formats[bool(thing.alias)][keyword]
            yield self._indent(format.format(value=thing.value, alias=thing.alias))

            if not last:
                try:
                    yield ' ' + self.separators[keyword]
                except KeyError:
                    yield self.default_separator

            yield '\n'
We add an aliased expression to the test.
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def test_query_simple():
    query = (
        Query()
        .SELECT('select-one', ('alias', 'select-two'))
        .FROM('from-one', 'from-two')
        .WHERE('where-one', 'where-two')
    )
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        SELECT
            select-one,
            select-two AS alias
        FROM
            from-one,
            from-two
        WHERE
            where-one AND
            where-two
        """
    )

The code so far: builder.py, test_builder.py.

Subqueries #

Currently, WITH is still a little broken:

>>> print(Query().WITH(('table-name', 'SELECT 1')))
WITH
    table-name AS SELECT 1

Since common table expressions always have the SELECT statement paranthesized, we'd like to have it out of the box, with proper indentation:

WITH
    table-name AS (
        SELECT 1
    )

A simple way of handling this is to change the WITH format string to '{alias} AS (\n{indented}\n)', where indented is the value, but indented.3

This kinda works, but is limited in usefulness; for instance, we can't easily build something like this on top:

Query().FROM(('alias', 'SELECT 1'), is_subquery=True)

Instead, let's keep refining our model, and use a flag to mark subqueries:

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class _Thing(NamedTuple):
    value: str
    alias: str = ''
    is_subquery: bool = False

    @classmethod
    def from_arg(cls, arg, **kwargs):
        if isinstance(arg, str):
            alias, value = '', arg
        elif len(arg) == 2:
            alias, value = arg
        else:
            raise ValueError(f"invalid arg: {arg!r}")
        return cls(_clean_up(value), _clean_up(alias), **kwargs)

We can then check if a clause always has subqueries, and set the flag accordingly:

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    subquery_keywords = {'WITH'}
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    def add(self, keyword, *args):
        target = self.data[keyword]

        kwargs = {}
        if keyword in self.subquery_keywords:
            kwargs.update(is_subquery=True)

        for arg in args:
            target.append(_Thing.from_arg(arg, **kwargs))

        return self

Using it for output is just an extra if:

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    def _lines_keyword(self, keyword, things):
        for i, thing in enumerate(things, 1):
            last = i == len(things)

            format = self.formats[bool(thing.alias)][keyword]
            value = thing.value
            if thing.is_subquery:
                value = f'(\n{self._indent(value)}\n)'
            yield self._indent(format.format(value=value, alias=thing.alias))

            if not last:
                try:
                    yield ' ' + self.separators[keyword]
                except KeyError:
                    yield self.default_separator

            yield '\n'
We add WITH to our test.
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def test_query_simple():
    query = (
        Query()
        .WITH(('alias', 'with'))
        .SELECT('select-one', ('alias', 'select-two'))
        .FROM('from-one', 'from-two')
        .WHERE('where-one', 'where-two')
    )
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        WITH
            alias AS (
                with
            )
        SELECT
            select-one,
            select-two AS alias
        FROM
            from-one,
            from-two
        WHERE
            where-one AND
            where-two
        """
    )

The code so far: builder.py, test_builder.py.

Joins #

One clause that's entirely missing is JOIN. And it's important, changing your mind about what you're selecting from happens quite often.

JOIN is a bit more complicated, mostly because it has different forms – JOIN, LEFT JOIN and so on; SQLite supports at least 10 variations.

I initially treated any keyword containing JOIN as a separate keyword, and dealt with it during output. This has a few drawbacks, though; aside from making the code more complicated, it reorders the tables: query​.JOIN('a')​.LEFT_JOIN('b')​.JOIN('c') results in JOIN a JOIN c LEFT JOIN b.

A better solution is to refine our model even further.

Take a look at these railroad diagrams for the SELECT statement:

select-core (FROM clause)

select-core

join-clause

join-clause

join-operator

join-operator

You may notice table-or-subquery followed by , in FROM is actually a subset of table-or-subquery followed by join-operator in join-clause. That is, for SQLite, a comma is just another join operator.

Put the other way around, a join operator is just another separator.

Because our separators come after things, not before, we'll model join operators separately, as fake keywords (that is, not used to index into data).

First, let's set them:

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class _Thing(NamedTuple):
    value: str
    alias: str = ''
    keyword: str = ''
    is_subquery: bool = False
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    fake_keywords = dict(JOIN='FROM')
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    def add(self, keyword, *args):
        keyword, fake_keyword = self._resolve_fakes(keyword)
        target = self.data[keyword]

        kwargs = {}
        if fake_keyword:
            kwargs.update(keyword=fake_keyword)
        if keyword in self.subquery_keywords:
            kwargs.update(is_subquery=True)

        for arg in args:
            target.append(_Thing.from_arg(arg, **kwargs))

        return self

    def _resolve_fakes(self, keyword):
        for part, real in self.fake_keywords.items():
            if part in keyword:
                return real, keyword
        return keyword, ''

We could've probably just hardcoded this in add() (if 'JOIN' in keyword: ...), but doing it like this makes it easier to see at a glance that "JOIN is a fake FROM".

Using keyword as a separator is relatively straightforward:

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    def _lines(self):
        for keyword, things in self.data.items():
            if not things:
                continue

            yield f'{keyword}\n'

            grouped = [], []
            for thing in things:
                grouped[bool(thing.keyword)].append(thing)
            for group in grouped:
                yield from self._lines_keyword(keyword, group)

    def _lines_keyword(self, keyword, things):
        for i, thing in enumerate(things, 1):
            last = i == len(things)

            if thing.keyword:
                yield thing.keyword + '\n'

            format = self.formats[bool(thing.alias)][keyword]
            value = thing.value
            if thing.is_subquery:
                value = f'(\n{self._indent(value)}\n)'
            yield self._indent(format.format(value=value, alias=thing.alias))

            if not last and not thing.keyword:
                try:
                    yield ' ' + self.separators[keyword]
                except KeyError:
                    yield self.default_separator

            yield '\n'

Since FROM always comes before JOIN, we make sure to output the real ones first.

We add a JOIN to the test.
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def test_query_simple():
    query = (
        Query()
        .WITH(('alias', 'with'))
        .SELECT('select-one', ('alias', 'select-two'))
        .FROM('from-one', 'from-two')
        .JOIN('join')
        .WHERE('where-one', 'where-two')
    )
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        WITH
            alias AS (
                with
            )
        SELECT
            select-one,
            select-two AS alias
        FROM
            from-one,
            from-two
        JOIN
            join
        WHERE
            where-one AND
            where-two
        """
    )

The code so far: builder.py, test_builder.py.

Distinct #

The final model change is to support SELECT DISTINCT.

DISTINCT and ALL are flags that apply to the whole clause; we'll model them as such:

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class _FlagList(list):
    flag: str = ''
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    def __init__(self):
        self.data = {k: _FlagList() for k in self.keywords}

Since most of the time we're OK with the default flag, we don't bother setting it in __init__, and use a class variable instead. If we need to customize it, we can set flag on the instance, shadowing the class variable.

A __repr__ showing the flag would be nice, but it'd only be useful during debugging, so we skip it as well.

We set the flag based on a known set for each clause; like with fake keywords, we pull the "parsing" logic into a separate method:

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    flag_keywords = dict(SELECT={'DISTINCT', 'ALL'})
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    def add(self, keyword, *args):
        keyword, fake_keyword = self._resolve_fakes(keyword)
        keyword, flag = self._resolve_flags(keyword)
        target = self.data[keyword]

        if flag:
            if target.flag:
                raise ValueError(f"{keyword} already has flag: {flag!r}")
            target.flag = flag

        kwargs = {}
        if fake_keyword:
            kwargs.update(keyword=fake_keyword)
        if keyword in self.subquery_keywords:
            kwargs.update(is_subquery=True)

        for arg in args:
            target.append(_Thing.from_arg(arg, **kwargs))

        return self
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    def _resolve_flags(self, keyword):
        prefix, _, flag = keyword.partition(' ')
        if prefix in self.flag_keywords:
            if flag and flag not in self.flag_keywords[prefix]:
                raise ValueError(f"invalid flag for {prefix}: {flag!r}")
            return prefix, flag
        return keyword, ''

Using it for output is again straightforward:

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    def _lines(self):
        for keyword, things in self.data.items():
            if not things:
                continue

            if things.flag:
                yield f'{keyword} {things.flag}\n'
            else:
                yield f'{keyword}\n'

            grouped = [], []
            for thing in things:
                grouped[bool(thing.keyword)].append(thing)
            for group in grouped:
                yield from self._lines_keyword(keyword, group)
We add a SELECT DISTINCT to our test.
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def test_query_simple():
    query = (
        Query()
        .WITH(('alias', 'with'))
        .SELECT('select-one', ('alias', 'select-two'))
        .FROM('from-one', 'from-two')
        .JOIN('join')
        .WHERE('where-one', 'where-two')
        .SELECT_DISTINCT('select-three')
    )
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        WITH
            alias AS (
                with
            )
        SELECT DISTINCT
            select-one,
            select-two AS alias,
            select-three
        FROM
            from-one,
            from-two
        JOIN
            join
        WHERE
            where-one AND
            where-two
        """
    )

The code so far: builder.py, test_builder.py.

More tests #

Our only test isn't all that simple anymore; maybe it's time to split it in two: one with a really simple query, and one with a really complicated query.

... something like this.
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def test_query_simple():
    query = Query().SELECT('select').FROM('from').JOIN('join').WHERE('where')
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        SELECT
            select
        FROM
            from
        JOIN
            join
        WHERE
            where
        """
    )


def test_query_complicated():
    """Test a complicated query:

    * order between different keywords does not matter
    * arguments of repeated calls get appended, with the order preserved
    * SELECT can receive 2-tuples
    * WHERE and HAVING arguments are separated by AND
    * JOIN arguments are separated by the keyword, and come after plain FROM
    * no-argument keywords have no effect, unless they are flags

    """
    query = (
        Query()
        .WHERE()
        .OUTER_JOIN('outer join')
        .JOIN('join')
        .LIMIT('limit')
        .JOIN()
        .ORDER_BY('first', 'second')
        .SELECT('one')
        .HAVING('having')
        .SELECT(('two', 'expr'))
        .GROUP_BY('group by')
        .FROM('from')
        .SELECT('three', 'four')
        .FROM('another from')
        .WHERE('where')
        .ORDER_BY('third')
        .OUTER_JOIN('another outer join')
        # this isn't technically valid
        .WITH('first cte')
        .GROUP_BY('another group by')
        .HAVING('another having')
        .WITH(('fancy', 'second cte'))
        .JOIN('another join')
        .WHERE('another where')
        .NATURAL_JOIN('natural join')
        .SELECT()
        .SELECT_DISTINCT()
    )
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        WITH
            (
                first cte
            ),
            fancy AS (
                second cte
            )
        SELECT DISTINCT
            one,
            expr AS two,
            three,
            four
        FROM
            from,
            another from
        OUTER JOIN
            outer join
        JOIN
            join
        OUTER JOIN
            another outer join
        JOIN
            another join
        NATURAL JOIN
            natural join
        WHERE
            where AND
            another where
        GROUP BY
            group by,
            another group by
        HAVING
            having AND
            another having
        ORDER BY
            first,
            second,
            third
        LIMIT
            limit
        """
    )

The code so far: builder.py, test_builder.py.

More init #

One last feature: I'd like to reuse the formatting logic for paranthesized lists.

Good thing __init__ doesn't take any arguments yet:

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    def __init__(self, data=None, separators=None):
        self.data = {}
        if data is None:
            data = dict.fromkeys(self.keywords, ())
        for keyword, args in data.items():
            self.data[keyword] = _FlagList()
            self.add(keyword, *args)

        if separators is not None:
            self.separators = separators

Using it looks like:

>>> print(Query({'(': ['one', 'two'], ')': ['']}, separators={'(': 'OR'}))
(
    one OR
    two
)

We could have required data to have the same structure as the attribute; however, it would be too verbose to use, and I'd have to do all the clean up myself; that's not very convenient. Instead, we make it mean "add() these strings for these keywords".4

We add a separate test for the fancy __init__.
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def test_query_init():
    query = Query({'(': ['one', 'two', 'three'], ')': ['']}, {'(': 'OR'})
    assert str(query) == dedent(
        """\
        (
            one OR
            two OR
            three
        )

        """
    )

OK, now we're really done. We've spent 148 lines, or 101 statements.

The final version of the code: builder.py, test_builder.py. You can find the type-annotated version used by reader on GitHub.


That's it for now. :)

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This is my first planned series, and still a work in progress.

This means you get a say in it. Email me your questions or comments, and I'll do my best to address them in one of the future articles.

Bonus: things that didn't make the cut #

When talking about trade-offs, I said we'll only add features as needed; this may seem a bit handwavy – how can I tell adding them won't make the code explode?

Because I did add them; that's what prototyping was for. But since they weren't actually used, I removed them – there's no point in them rotting away.

Here's how you'd go about implementing a few of them.

Insert / update / delete #

Make them flag keywords, to support the OR ABORT/FAIL/... variants.

To make VALUES bake in the parentheses, set its format to ({value}). That's to add one values tuple at a time.

To add one column at a time, we could do this:

  • allow add()ing INSERT with arbitrary flags
  • make INSERT('column', into='table') a synonym of add('INSERT INTO table', 'column')
  • classify INSERT and VALUES as parens_keywords – like subquery_keywords, but they apply once per keyword, not per value

It'd look like this:

# first insert sets flag
query.INSERT('one', into='table').VALUES(':one')
# later we just add stuff
query.INSERT('two').VALUES(':two')

Arbitrary strings as subqueries #

Allow setting add(..., is_subquery=True); you'd then do:

query.FROM('subquery', is_subquery=True)
query.FROM('not subquery')

Query objects as subqueries #

Using Query objects as subqueries without having to convert them explicitly to strings would allow changing them after being add()ed.

To do it, we just need to allow _Thing.value to be a Query, and override its is_subquery based on an isinstance() check.

Union / intersect / except #

This one goes a bit meta:

  • add a "virtual" COMPOUND keyword
  • add a new compound(keyword) method, which moves everything except WITH and ORDER BY to a subquery, and appends the subquery to data['COMPOUND'] with the appropriate fake keyword
  • make __getattr__ return a compound() partial for compound keywords
  • special-case COMPOUND in _lines()

  1. The guaranteed insertion order was actually added to the language specification in 3.7, but in 3.6 both CPython and PyPy had it as an implementation detail. [return]

  2. This works because False == 0 and True == 1, and is likely too clever. [return]

  3. That's what I did initially. [return]

  4. An alternate constructor or a subclass might have been a better choice here. We'll fix it if we need __init__ for something else. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ [return]


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