Abstract

The DBI package defines the generic DataBase Interface for R. The connection to individual DBMS is provided by other packages that import DBI (so-called DBI backends). This document formalizes the behavior expected by the methods declared in DBI and implemented by the individual backends. To ensure maximum portability and exchangeability, and to reduce the effort for implementing a new DBI backend, the DBItest package defines a comprehensive set of test cases that test conformance to the DBI specification. This document is derived from comments in the test definitions of the DBItest package. Any extensions or updates to the tests will be reflected in this document.

DBI: R Database Interface

DBI defines an interface for communication between R and relational database management systems. All classes in this package are virtual and need to be extended by the various R/DBMS implementations (so-called DBI backends).

Definition

A DBI backend is an R package which imports the DBI and methods packages. For better or worse, the names of many existing backends start with ‘R’, e.g., RSQLite, RMySQL, RSQLServer; it is up to the backend author to adopt this convention or not.

DBI classes and methods

A backend defines three classes, which are subclasses of DBIDriver, DBIConnection, and DBIResult. The backend provides implementation for all methods of these base classes that are defined but not implemented by DBI. All methods have an ellipsis in their formals.

Construction of the DBIDriver object

The backend must support creation of an instance of its DBIDriver subclass with a constructor function. By default, its name is the package name without the leading ‘R’ (if it exists), e.g., SQLite for the RSQLite package. However, backend authors may choose a different name. The constructor must be exported, and it must be a function that is callable without arguments. DBI recommends to define a constructor with an empty argument list.

Examples

RSQLite::SQLite()

Determine the SQL data type of an object

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbDataType(dbObj, obj, ...)

Description

Returns an SQL string that describes the SQL data type to be used for an object. The default implementation of this generic determines the SQL type of an R object according to the SQL 92 specification, which may serve as a starting point for driver implementations. DBI also provides an implementation for data.frame which will return a character vector giving the type for each column in the dataframe.

Arguments

dbObj

A object inheriting from DBIDriver or DBIConnection

obj

An R object whose SQL type we want to determine.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Details

The data types supported by databases are different than the data types in R, but the mapping between the primitive types is straightforward:

  • Any of the many fixed and varying length character types are mapped to character vectors

  • Fixed-precision (non-IEEE) numbers are mapped into either numeric or integer vectors.

Notice that many DBMS do not follow IEEE arithmetic, so there are potential problems with under/overflows and loss of precision.

Value

dbDataType() returns the SQL type that corresponds to the obj argument as a non-empty character string. For data frames, a character vector with one element per column is returned. An error is raised for invalid values for the obj argument such as a NULL value.

Specification

The backend can override the dbDataType() generic for its driver class.

This generic expects an arbitrary object as second argument. To query the values returned by the default implementation, run example(dbDataType, package = “DBI”). If the backend needs to override this generic, it must accept all basic R data types as its second argument, namely logical, integer, numeric, character, dates (see Dates), date-time (see DateTimeClasses), and difftime. If the database supports blobs, this method also must accept lists of raw vectors, and blob::blob objects. As-is objects (i.e., wrapped by I()) must be supported and return the same results as their unwrapped counterparts. The SQL data type for factor and ordered is the same as for character. The behavior for other object types is not specified.

All data types returned by dbDataType() are usable in an SQL statement of the form “CREATE TABLE test (a …)”.

Examples

dbDataType(ANSI(), 1:5)
dbDataType(ANSI(), 1)
dbDataType(ANSI(), TRUE)
dbDataType(ANSI(), Sys.Date())
dbDataType(ANSI(), Sys.time())
dbDataType(ANSI(), Sys.time() - as.POSIXct(Sys.Date()))
dbDataType(ANSI(), c("x", "abc"))
dbDataType(ANSI(), list(raw(10), raw(20)))
dbDataType(ANSI(), I(3))

dbDataType(ANSI(), iris)

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbDataType(con, 1:5)
dbDataType(con, 1)
dbDataType(con, TRUE)
dbDataType(con, Sys.Date())
dbDataType(con, Sys.time())
dbDataType(con, Sys.time() - as.POSIXct(Sys.Date()))
dbDataType(con, c("x", "abc"))
dbDataType(con, list(raw(10), raw(20)))
dbDataType(con, I(3))

dbDataType(con, iris)

dbDisconnect(con)

Create a connection to a DBMS

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbConnect(drv, ...)

Description

Connect to a DBMS going through the appropriate authentication procedure. Some implementations may allow you to have multiple connections open, so you may invoke this function repeatedly assigning its output to different objects. The authentication mechanism is left unspecified, so check the documentation of individual drivers for details.

Arguments

drv

an object that inherits from DBIDriver, or an existing DBIConnection object (in order to clone an existing connection).

authentication arguments needed by the DBMS instance; these typically include user, password, host, port, dbname, etc. For details see the appropriate DBIDriver.

Value

dbConnect() returns an S4 object that inherits from DBIConnection. This object is used to communicate with the database engine.

Specification

DBI recommends using the following argument names for authentication parameters, with NULL default:

  • user for the user name (default: current user)

  • password for the password

  • host for the host name (default: local connection)

  • port for the port number (default: local connection)

  • dbname for the name of the database on the host, or the database file name

The defaults should provide reasonable behavior, in particular a local connection for host = NULL. For some DBMS (e.g., PostgreSQL), this is different to a TCP/IP connection to localhost.

Examples

# SQLite only needs a path to the database. (Here, ":memory:" is a special
# path that creates an in-memory database.) Other database drivers
# will require more details (like user, password, host, port, etc.)
con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")
con

dbListTables(con)

dbDisconnect(con)

Disconnect (close) a connection

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbDisconnect(conn, ...)

Description

This closes the connection, discards all pending work, and frees resources (e.g., memory, sockets).

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Value

dbDisconnect() returns TRUE, invisibly.

Specification

A warning is issued on garbage collection when a connection has been released without calling dbDisconnect(). A warning is issued immediately when calling dbDisconnect() on an already disconnected or invalid connection.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")
dbDisconnect(con)

Execute a query on a given database connection

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbSendQuery(conn, statement, ...)

Description

The dbSendQuery() method only submits and synchronously executes the SQL query to the database engine. It does not extract any records — for that you need to use the dbFetch() method, and then you must call dbClearResult() when you finish fetching the records you need. For interactive use, you should almost always prefer dbGetQuery().

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

statement

a character string containing SQL.

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Details

This method is for SELECT queries only. Some backends may support data manipulation queries through this method for compatibility reasons. However, callers are strongly encouraged to use dbSendStatement() for data manipulation statements.

The query is submitted to the database server and the DBMS executes it, possibly generating vast amounts of data. Where these data live is driver-specific: some drivers may choose to leave the output on the server and transfer them piecemeal to R, others may transfer all the data to the client – but not necessarily to the memory that R manages. See individual drivers’ dbSendQuery() documentation for details.

Value

dbSendQuery() returns an S4 object that inherits from DBIResult. The result set can be used with dbFetch() to extract records. Once you have finished using a result, make sure to clear it with dbClearResult(). An error is raised when issuing a query over a closed or invalid connection, if the syntax of the query is invalid, or if the query is not a non-NA string.

Specification

No warnings occur under normal conditions. When done, the DBIResult object must be cleared with a call to dbClearResult(). Failure to clear the result set leads to a warning when the connection is closed.

If the backend supports only one open result set per connection, issuing a second query invalidates an already open result set and raises a warning. The newly opened result set is valid and must be cleared with dbClearResult().

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars)
rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM mtcars WHERE cyl = 4;")
dbFetch(rs)
dbClearResult(rs)

dbDisconnect(con)

Fetch records from a previously executed query

This section describes the behavior of the following methods:

dbFetch(res, n = -1, ...)

fetch(res, n = -1, ...)

Description

Fetch the next n elements (rows) from the result set and return them as a data.frame.

Arguments

res

An object inheriting from DBIResult, created by dbSendQuery().

n

maximum number of records to retrieve per fetch. Use n = -1 or n = Inf to retrieve all pending records. Some implementations may recognize other special values.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Details

fetch() is provided for compatibility with older DBI clients - for all new code you are strongly encouraged to use dbFetch(). The default implementation for dbFetch() calls fetch() so that it is compatible with existing code. Modern backends should implement for dbFetch() only.

Value

dbFetch() always returns a data.frame with as many rows as records were fetched and as many columns as fields in the result set, even if the result is a single value or has one or zero rows. An attempt to fetch from a closed result set raises an error. If the n argument is not an atomic whole number greater or equal to -1 or Inf, an error is raised, but a subsequent call to dbFetch() with proper n argument succeeds. Calling dbFetch() on a result set from a data manipulation query created by dbSendStatement() can be fetched and return an empty data frame, with a warning.

Specification

Fetching multi-row queries with one or more columns be default returns the entire result. Multi-row queries can also be fetched progressively by passing a whole number (integer or numeric) as the n argument. A value of Inf for the n argument is supported and also returns the full result. If more rows than available are fetched, the result is returned in full without warning. If fewer rows than requested are returned, further fetches will return a data frame with zero rows. If zero rows are fetched, the columns of the data frame are still fully typed. Fetching fewer rows than available is permitted, no warning is issued when clearing the result set.

A column named row_names is treated like any other column.

The column types of the returned data frame depend on the data returned:

  • integer for integer values between -2^31 and 2^31 - 1

  • numeric for numbers with a fractional component

  • logical for Boolean values (some backends may return an integer)

  • character for text

  • lists of raw for blobs (with NULL entries for SQL NULL values)

  • coercible using as.Date() for dates (also applies to the return value of the SQL function current_date)

  • coercible using hms::as.hms() for times (also applies to the return value of the SQL function current_time)

  • coercible using as.POSIXct() for timestamps (also applies to the return value of the SQL function current_timestamp)

  • NA for SQL NULL values

If dates and timestamps are supported by the backend, the following R types are used:

  • Date for dates (also applies to the return value of the SQL function current_date)

  • POSIXct for timestamps (also applies to the return value of the SQL function current_timestamp)

R has no built-in type with lossless support for the full range of 64-bit or larger integers. If 64-bit integers are returned from a query, the following rules apply:

  • Values are returned in a container with support for the full range of valid 64-bit values (such as the integer64 class of the bit64 package)

  • Coercion to numeric always returns a number that is as close as possible to the true value

  • Loss of precision when converting to numeric gives a warning

  • Conversion to character always returns a lossless decimal representation of the data

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars)

# Fetch all results
rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM mtcars WHERE cyl = 4")
dbFetch(rs)
dbClearResult(rs)

# Fetch in chunks
rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM mtcars")
while (!dbHasCompleted(rs)) {
  chunk <- dbFetch(rs, 10)
  print(nrow(chunk))
}

dbClearResult(rs)
dbDisconnect(con)

Clear a result set

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbClearResult(res, ...)

Description

Frees all resources (local and remote) associated with a result set. In some cases (e.g., very large result sets) this can be a critical step to avoid exhausting resources (memory, file descriptors, etc.)

Arguments

res

An object inheriting from DBIResult.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Value

dbClearResult() returns TRUE, invisibly, for result sets obtained from both dbSendQuery() and dbSendStatement(). An attempt to close an already closed result set issues a warning in both cases.

Specification

dbClearResult() frees all resources associated with retrieving the result of a query or update operation. The DBI backend can expect a call to dbClearResult() for each dbSendQuery() or dbSendStatement() call.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT 1")
print(dbFetch(rs))

dbClearResult(rs)
dbDisconnect(con)

Bind values to a parameterized/prepared statement

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbBind(res, params, ...)

Description

For parametrized or prepared statements, the dbSendQuery() and dbSendStatement() functions can be called with statements that contain placeholders for values. The dbBind() function binds these placeholders to actual values, and is intended to be called on the result set before calling dbFetch() or dbGetRowsAffected().

Arguments

res

An object inheriting from DBIResult.

params

A list of bindings, named or unnamed.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Details

DBI supports parametrized (or prepared) queries and statements via the dbBind() generic. Parametrized queries are different from normal queries in that they allow an arbitrary number of placeholders, which are later substituted by actual values. Parametrized queries (and statements) serve two purposes:

  • The same query can be executed more than once with different values. The DBMS may cache intermediate information for the query, such as the execution plan, and execute it faster.

  • Separation of query syntax and parameters protects against SQL injection.

The placeholder format is currently not specified by DBI; in the future, a uniform placeholder syntax may be supported. Consult the backend documentation for the supported formats. For automated testing, backend authors specify the placeholder syntax with the placeholder_pattern tweak. Known examples are:

  • ? (positional matching in order of appearance) in RMySQL and RSQLite

  • $1 (positional matching by index) in RPostgres and RSQLite

  • :name and $name (named matching) in RSQLite

Value

dbBind() returns the result set, invisibly, for queries issued by dbSendQuery() and also for data manipulation statements issued by dbSendStatement(). Calling dbBind() for a query without parameters raises an error. Binding too many or not enough values, or parameters with wrong names or unequal length, also raises an error. If the placeholders in the query are named, all parameter values must have names (which must not be empty or NA), and vice versa, otherwise an error is raised. The behavior for mixing placeholders of different types (in particular mixing positional and named placeholders) is not specified.

Calling dbBind() on a result set already cleared by dbClearResult() also raises an error.

Specification

DBI clients execute parametrized statements as follows:

  1. Call dbSendQuery() or dbSendStatement() with a query or statement that contains placeholders, store the returned DBIResult object in a variable. Mixing placeholders (in particular, named and unnamed ones) is not recommended. It is good practice to register a call to dbClearResult() via on.exit() right after calling dbSendQuery() or dbSendStatement() (see the last enumeration item). Until dbBind() has been called, the returned result set object has the following behavior:

  2. Construct a list with parameters that specify actual values for the placeholders. The list must be named or unnamed, depending on the kind of placeholders used. Named values are matched to named parameters, unnamed values are matched by position in the list of parameters. All elements in this list must have the same lengths and contain values supported by the backend; a data.frame is internally stored as such a list. The parameter list is passed to a call to dbBind() on the DBIResult object.

  3. Retrieve the data or the number of affected rows from the DBIResult object.

    • For queries issued by dbSendQuery(), call dbFetch().

    • For statements issued by dbSendStatements(), call dbGetRowsAffected(). (Execution begins immediately after the dbBind() call, the statement is processed entirely before the function returns.)

  4. Repeat 2. and 3. as necessary.

  5. Close the result set via dbClearResult().

The elements of the params argument do not need to be scalars, vectors of arbitrary length (including length 0) are supported. For queries, calling dbFetch() binding such parameters returns concatenated results, equivalent to binding and fetching for each set of values and connecting via rbind(). For data manipulation statements, dbGetRowsAffected() returns the total number of rows affected if binding non-scalar parameters. dbBind() also accepts repeated calls on the same result set for both queries and data manipulation statements, even if no results are fetched between calls to dbBind().

At least the following data types are accepted:

  • integer

  • numeric

  • logical for Boolean values (some backends may return an integer)

  • NA

  • character

  • factor (bound as character, with warning)

  • Date

  • POSIXct timestamps

  • POSIXlt timestamps

  • lists of raw for blobs (with NULL entries for SQL NULL values)

  • objects of type blob::blob

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "iris", iris)

# Using the same query for different values
iris_result <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM iris WHERE [Petal.Width] > ?")
dbBind(iris_result, list(2.3))
dbFetch(iris_result)
dbBind(iris_result, list(3))
dbFetch(iris_result)
dbClearResult(iris_result)

# Executing the same statement with different values at once
iris_result <- dbSendStatement(con, "DELETE FROM iris WHERE [Species] = $species")
dbBind(iris_result, list(species = c("setosa", "versicolor", "unknown")))
dbGetRowsAffected(iris_result)
dbClearResult(iris_result)

nrow(dbReadTable(con, "iris"))

dbDisconnect(con)

Send query, retrieve results and then clear result set

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbGetQuery(conn, statement, ...)

Description

Returns the result of a query as a data frame. dbGetQuery() comes with a default implementation (which should work with most backends) that calls dbSendQuery(), then dbFetch(), ensuring that the result is always free-d by dbClearResult().

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

statement

a character string containing SQL.

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Details

This method is for SELECT queries only. Some backends may support data manipulation statements through this method for compatibility reasons. However, callers are strongly advised to use dbExecute() for data manipulation statements.

Value

dbGetQuery() always returns a data.frame with as many rows as records were fetched and as many columns as fields in the result set, even if the result is a single value or has one or zero rows. An error is raised when issuing a query over a closed or invalid connection, if the syntax of the query is invalid, or if the query is not a non-NA string. If the n argument is not an atomic whole number greater or equal to -1 or Inf, an error is raised, but a subsequent call to dbGetQuery() with proper n argument succeeds.

Implementation notes

Subclasses should override this method only if they provide some sort of performance optimization.

Specification

Fetching multi-row queries with one or more columns be default returns the entire result. A value of Inf for the n argument is supported and also returns the full result. If more rows than available are fetched, the result is returned in full without warning. If zero rows are fetched, the columns of the data frame are still fully typed. Fetching fewer rows than available is permitted, no warning is issued.

A column named row_names is treated like any other column.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars)
dbGetQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM mtcars")

dbDisconnect(con)

Execute a data manipulation statement on a given database connection

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbSendStatement(conn, statement, ...)

Description

The dbSendStatement() method only submits and synchronously executes the SQL data manipulation statement (e.g., UPDATE, DELETE, INSERT INTO, DROP TABLE, …) to the database engine. To query the number of affected rows, call dbGetRowsAffected() on the returned result object. You must also call dbClearResult() after that. For interactive use, you should almost always prefer dbExecute().

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

statement

a character string containing SQL.

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Details

dbSendStatement() comes with a default implementation that simply forwards to dbSendQuery(), to support backends that only implement the latter.

Value

dbSendStatement() returns an S4 object that inherits from DBIResult. The result set can be used with dbGetRowsAffected() to determine the number of rows affected by the query. Once you have finished using a result, make sure to clear it with dbClearResult(). An error is raised when issuing a statement over a closed or invalid connection, if the syntax of the statement is invalid, or if the statement is not a non-NA string.

Specification

No warnings occur under normal conditions. When done, the DBIResult object must be cleared with a call to dbClearResult(). Failure to clear the result set leads to a warning when the connection is closed. If the backend supports only one open result set per connection, issuing a second query invalidates an already open result set and raises a warning. The newly opened result set is valid and must be cleared with dbClearResult().

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "cars", head(cars, 3))
rs <- dbSendStatement(con,
  "INSERT INTO cars (speed, dist) VALUES (1, 1), (2, 2), (3, 3);")
dbHasCompleted(rs)
dbGetRowsAffected(rs)
dbClearResult(rs)
dbReadTable(con, "cars")   # there are now 6 rows

dbDisconnect(con)

Execute an update statement, query number of rows affected, and then close result set

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbExecute(conn, statement, ...)

Description

Executes a statement and returns the number of rows affected. dbExecute() comes with a default implementation (which should work with most backends) that calls dbSendStatement(), then dbGetRowsAffected(), ensuring that the result is always free-d by dbClearResult().

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

statement

a character string containing SQL.

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Value

dbExecute() always returns a scalar numeric that specifies the number of rows affected by the statement. An error is raised when issuing a statement over a closed or invalid connection, if the syntax of the statement is invalid, or if the statement is not a non-NA string.

Implementation notes

Subclasses should override this method only if they provide some sort of performance optimization.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "cars", head(cars, 3))
dbReadTable(con, "cars")   # there are 3 rows
dbExecute(con,
  "INSERT INTO cars (speed, dist) VALUES (1, 1), (2, 2), (3, 3);")
dbReadTable(con, "cars")   # there are now 6 rows

dbDisconnect(con)

Quote literal strings

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbQuoteString(conn, x, ...)

Description

Call this method to generate a string that is suitable for use in a query as a string literal, to make sure that you generate valid SQL and avoid SQL injection.

Arguments

conn

A subclass of DBIConnection, representing an active connection to an DBMS.

x

A character vector to quote as string.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Value

dbQuoteString() returns an object that can be coerced to character, of the same length as the input. For an empty character vector this function returns a length-0 object.

When passing the returned object again to dbQuoteString() as x argument, it is returned unchanged. Passing objects of class SQL should also return them unchanged. (For backends it may be most convenient to return SQL objects to achieve this behavior, but this is not required.)

Specification

The returned expression can be used in a SELECT … query, and for any scalar character x the value of dbGetQuery(paste0(“SELECT”, dbQuoteString(x)))[[1]] must be identical to x, even if x contains spaces, tabs, quotes (single or double), backticks, or newlines (in any combination) or is itself the result of a dbQuoteString() call coerced back to character (even repeatedly). If x is NA, the result must merely satisfy is.na(). The strings “NA” or “NULL” are not treated specially.

NA should be translated to an unquoted SQL NULL, so that the query SELECT * FROM (SELECT 1) a WHERE … IS NULL returns one row.

Examples

# Quoting ensures that arbitrary input is safe for use in a query
name <- "Robert'); DROP TABLE Students;--"
dbQuoteString(ANSI(), name)

# NAs become NULL
dbQuoteString(ANSI(), c("x", NA))

# SQL vectors are always passed through as is
var_name <- SQL("select")
var_name
dbQuoteString(ANSI(), var_name)

# This mechanism is used to prevent double escaping
dbQuoteString(ANSI(), dbQuoteString(ANSI(), name))

Quote identifiers

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbQuoteIdentifier(conn, x, ...)

Description

Call this method to generate a string that is suitable for use in a query as a column name, to make sure that you generate valid SQL and avoid SQL injection.

Arguments

conn

A subclass of DBIConnection, representing an active connection to an DBMS.

x

A character vector to quote as identifier.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Value

dbQuoteIdentifier() returns an object that can be coerced to character, of the same length as the input. For an empty character vector this function returns a length-0 object. An error is raised if the input contains NA, but not for an empty string.

When passing the returned object again to dbQuoteIdentifier() as x argument, it is returned unchanged. Passing objects of class SQL should also return them unchanged. (For backends it may be most convenient to return SQL objects to achieve this behavior, but this is not required.)

Specification

Calling dbGetQuery() for a query of the format SELECT 1 AS … returns a data frame with the identifier, unquoted, as column name. Quoted identifiers can be used as table and column names in SQL queries, in particular in queries like SELECT 1 AS … and SELECT * FROM (SELECT 1) …. The method must use a quoting mechanism that is unambiguously different from the quoting mechanism used for strings, so that a query like SELECT … FROM (SELECT 1 AS …) throws an error if the column names do not match.

The method can quote column names that contain special characters such as a space, a dot, a comma, or quotes used to mark strings or identifiers, if the database supports this. In any case, checking the validity of the identifier should be performed only when executing a query, and not by dbQuoteIdentifier().

Examples

# Quoting ensures that arbitrary input is safe for use in a query
name <- "Robert'); DROP TABLE Students;--"
dbQuoteIdentifier(ANSI(), name)

# SQL vectors are always passed through as is
var_name <- SQL("select")
var_name

dbQuoteIdentifier(ANSI(), var_name)

# This mechanism is used to prevent double escaping
dbQuoteIdentifier(ANSI(), dbQuoteIdentifier(ANSI(), name))

Copy data frames from database tables

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbReadTable(conn, name, ...)

Description

Reads a database table to a data frame, optionally converting a column to row names and converting the column names to valid R identifiers.

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

name

A character string specifying the unquoted DBMS table name, or the result of a call to dbQuoteIdentifier().

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Additional arguments

The following arguments are not part of the dbReadTable() generic (to improve compatibility across backends) but are part of the DBI specification:

  • row.names

  • check.names

They must be provided as named arguments. See the “Value” section for details on their usage.

Specification

The name argument is processed as follows, to support databases that allow non-syntactic names for their objects:

Value

dbReadTable() returns a data frame that contains the complete data from the remote table, effectively the result of calling dbGetQuery() with SELECT * FROM <name>. An error is raised if the table does not exist. An empty table is returned as a data frame with zero rows.

The presence of rownames depends on the row.names argument, see sqlColumnToRownames() for details:

  • If FALSE or NULL, the returned data frame doesn’t have row names.

  • If TRUE, a column named “row_names” is converted to row names, an error is raised if no such column exists.

  • If NA, a column named “row_names” is converted to row names if it exists, otherwise no translation occurs.

  • If a string, this specifies the name of the column in the remote table that contains the row names, an error is raised if no such column exists.

The default is row.names = FALSE.

If the database supports identifiers with special characters, the columns in the returned data frame are converted to valid R identifiers if the check.names argument is TRUE, otherwise non-syntactic column names can be returned unquoted.

An error is raised when calling this method for a closed or invalid connection. An error is raised if name cannot be processed with dbQuoteIdentifier() or if this results in a non-scalar. Unsupported values for row.names and check.names (non-scalars, unsupported data types, NA for check.names) also raise an error.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[1:10, ])
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

dbDisconnect(con)

Copy data frames to database tables

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbWriteTable(conn, name, value, ...)

Description

Writes, overwrites or appends a data frame to a database table, optionally converting row names to a column and specifying SQL data types for fields.

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

name

A character string specifying the unquoted DBMS table name, or the result of a call to dbQuoteIdentifier().

value

a data.frame (or coercible to data.frame).

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Additional arguments

The following arguments are not part of the dbWriteTable() generic (to improve compatibility across backends) but are part of the DBI specification:

  • row.names (default: NA)

  • overwrite (default: FALSE)

  • append (default: FALSE)

  • field.types (default: NULL)

  • temporary (default: FALSE)

They must be provided as named arguments. See the “Specification” and “Value” sections for details on their usage.

Specification

The name argument is processed as follows, to support databases that allow non-syntactic names for their objects:

If the overwrite argument is TRUE, an existing table of the same name will be overwritten. This argument doesn’t change behavior if the table does not exist yet.

If the append argument is TRUE, the rows in an existing table are preserved, and the new data are appended. If the table doesn’t exist yet, it is created.

If the temporary argument is TRUE, the table is not available in a second connection and is gone after reconnecting. Not all backends support this argument. A regular, non-temporary table is visible in a second connection and after reconnecting to the database.

SQL keywords can be used freely in table names, column names, and data. Quotes, commas, and spaces can also be used in the data, and, if the database supports non-syntactic identifiers, also for table names and column names.

The following data types must be supported at least, and be read identically with dbReadTable():

  • integer

  • numeric (the behavior for Inf and NaN is not specified)

  • logical

  • NA as NULL

  • 64-bit values (using “bigint” as field type); the result can be converted to a numeric, which may lose precision,

  • character (in both UTF-8 and native encodings), supporting empty strings

  • factor (returned as character)

  • list of raw (if supported by the database)

  • objects of type blob::blob (if supported by the database)

  • date (if supported by the database; returned as Date)

  • time (if supported by the database; returned as objects that inherit from difftime)

  • timestamp (if supported by the database; returned as POSIXct with time zone support)

Mixing column types in the same table is supported.

The field.types argument must be a named character vector with at most one entry for each column. It indicates the SQL data type to be used for a new column.

The interpretation of rownames depends on the row.names argument, see sqlRownamesToColumn() for details:

  • If FALSE or NULL, row names are ignored.

  • If TRUE, row names are converted to a column named “row_names”, even if the input data frame only has natural row names from 1 to nrow(…).

  • If NA, a column named “row_names” is created if the data has custom row names, no extra column is created in the case of natural row names.

  • If a string, this specifies the name of the column in the remote table that contains the row names, even if the input data frame only has natural row names.

Value

dbWriteTable() returns TRUE, invisibly. If the table exists, and both append and overwrite arguments are unset, or append = TRUE and the data frame with the new data has different column names, an error is raised; the remote table remains unchanged.

An error is raised when calling this method for a closed or invalid connection. An error is also raised if name cannot be processed with dbQuoteIdentifier() or if this results in a non-scalar. Invalid values for the additional arguments row.names, overwrite, append, field.types, and temporary (non-scalars, unsupported data types, NA, incompatible values, duplicate or missing names, incompatible columns) also raise an error.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[1:5, ])
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[6:10, ], append = TRUE)
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[1:10, ], overwrite = TRUE)
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

# No row names
dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars[1:10, ], overwrite = TRUE, row.names = FALSE)
dbReadTable(con, "mtcars")

List remote tables

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbListTables(conn, ...)

Description

Returns the unquoted names of remote tables accessible through this connection. This should, where possible, include temporary tables, and views.

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Additional arguments

TBD: temporary = NA

This must be provided as named argument. See the “Specification” section for details on their usage.

Value

dbListTables() returns a character vector that enumerates all tables and views in the database. Tables added with dbWriteTable() are part of the list, including temporary tables if supported by the database. As soon a table is removed from the database, it is also removed from the list of database tables.

The returned names are suitable for quoting with dbQuoteIdentifier(). An error is raised when calling this method for a closed or invalid connection.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbListTables(con)
dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars)
dbListTables(con)

dbDisconnect(con)

Does a table exist?

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbExistsTable(conn, name, ...)

Description

Returns if a table given by name exists in the database.

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

name

A character string specifying a DBMS table name.

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Additional arguments

TBD: temporary = NA

This must be provided as named argument. See the “Specification” section for details on their usage.

Specification

The name argument is processed as follows, to support databases that allow non-syntactic names for their objects:

For all tables listed by dbListTables(), dbExistsTable() returns TRUE.

Value

dbExistsTable() returns a logical scalar, TRUE if the table or view specified by the name argument exists, FALSE otherwise. This includes temporary tables if supported by the database.

An error is raised when calling this method for a closed or invalid connection. An error is also raised if name cannot be processed with dbQuoteIdentifier() or if this results in a non-scalar.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbExistsTable(con, "iris")
dbWriteTable(con, "iris", iris)
dbExistsTable(con, "iris")

dbDisconnect(con)

Remove a table from the database

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbRemoveTable(conn, name, ...)

Description

Remove a remote table (e.g., created by dbWriteTable()) from the database.

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

name

A character string specifying a DBMS table name.

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Value

dbRemoveTable() returns TRUE, invisibly. If the table does not exist, an error is raised. An attempt to remove a view with this function may result in an error.

An error is raised when calling this method for a closed or invalid connection. An error is also raised if name cannot be processed with dbQuoteIdentifier() or if this results in a non-scalar.

Specification

A table removed by dbRemoveTable() doesn’t appear in the list of tables returned by dbListTables(), and dbExistsTable() returns FALSE. The removal propagates immediately to other connections to the same database. This function can also be used to remove a temporary table.

The name argument is processed as follows, to support databases that allow non-syntactic names for their objects:

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbExistsTable(con, "iris")
dbWriteTable(con, "iris", iris)
dbExistsTable(con, "iris")
dbRemoveTable(con, "iris")
dbExistsTable(con, "iris")

dbDisconnect(con)

Is this DBMS object still valid?

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbIsValid(dbObj, ...)

Description

This generic tests whether a database object is still valid (i.e. it hasn’t been disconnected or cleared).

Arguments

dbObj

An object inheriting from DBIObject, i.e. DBIDriver, DBIConnection, or a DBIResult

Other arguments to methods.

Value

dbIsValid() returns a logical scalar, TRUE if the object specified by dbObj is valid, FALSE otherwise. A DBIConnection object is initially valid, and becomes invalid after disconnecting with dbDisconnect(). For an invalid connection object (e.g., for some drivers if the object is saved to a file and then restored), the method also returns FALSE. A DBIResult object is valid after a call to dbSendQuery(), and stays valid even after all rows have been fetched; only clearing it with dbClearResult() invalidates it. A DBIResult object is also valid after a call to dbSendStatement(), and stays valid after querying the number of rows affected; only clearing it with dbClearResult() invalidates it. If the connection to the database system is dropped (e.g., due to connectivity problems, server failure, etc.), dbIsValid() should return FALSE. This is not tested automatically.

Examples

dbIsValid(RSQLite::SQLite())

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")
dbIsValid(con)

rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT 1")
dbIsValid(rs)

dbClearResult(rs)
dbIsValid(rs)

dbDisconnect(con)
dbIsValid(con)

Completion status

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbHasCompleted(res, ...)

Description

This method returns if the operation has completed. A SELECT query is completed if all rows have been fetched. A data manipulation statement is always completed.

Arguments

res

An object inheriting from DBIResult.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Value

dbHasCompleted() returns a logical scalar. For a query initiated by dbSendQuery() with non-empty result set, dbHasCompleted() returns FALSE initially and TRUE after calling dbFetch() without limit. For a query initiated by dbSendStatement(), dbHasCompleted() always returns TRUE. Attempting to query completion status for a result set cleared with dbClearResult() gives an error.

Specification

The completion status for a query is only guaranteed to be set to FALSE after attempting to fetch past the end of the entire result. Therefore, for a query with an empty result set, the initial return value is unspecified, but the result value is TRUE after trying to fetch only one row. Similarly, for a query with a result set of length n, the return value is unspecified after fetching n rows, but the result value is TRUE after trying to fetch only one more row.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars)
rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM mtcars")

dbHasCompleted(rs)
ret1 <- dbFetch(rs, 10)
dbHasCompleted(rs)
ret2 <- dbFetch(rs)
dbHasCompleted(rs)

dbClearResult(rs)
dbDisconnect(con)

Get the statement associated with a result set

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbGetStatement(res, ...)

Description

Returns the statement that was passed to dbSendQuery() or dbSendStatement().

Arguments

res

An object inheriting from DBIResult.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Value

dbGetStatement() returns a string, the query used in either dbSendQuery() or dbSendStatement(). Attempting to query the statement for a result set cleared with dbClearResult() gives an error.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars)
rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM mtcars")
dbGetStatement(rs)

dbClearResult(rs)
dbDisconnect(con)

The number of rows fetched so far

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbGetRowCount(res, ...)

Description

Returns the total number of rows actually fetched with calls to dbFetch() for this result set.

Arguments

res

An object inheriting from DBIResult.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Value

dbGetRowCount() returns a scalar number (integer or numeric), the number of rows fetched so far. After calling dbSendQuery(), the row count is initially zero. After a call to dbFetch() without limit, the row count matches the total number of rows returned. Fetching a limited number of rows increases the number of rows by the number of rows returned, even if fetching past the end of the result set. For queries with an empty result set, zero is returned even after fetching. For data manipulation statements issued with dbSendStatement(), zero is returned before and after calling dbFetch(). Attempting to get the row count for a result set cleared with dbClearResult() gives an error.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars)
rs <- dbSendQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM mtcars")

dbGetRowCount(rs)
ret1 <- dbFetch(rs, 10)
dbGetRowCount(rs)
ret2 <- dbFetch(rs)
dbGetRowCount(rs)
nrow(ret1) + nrow(ret2)

dbClearResult(rs)
dbDisconnect(con)

The number of rows affected

This section describes the behavior of the following method:

dbGetRowsAffected(res, ...)

Description

This method returns the number of rows that were added, deleted, or updated by a data manipulation statement.

Arguments

res

An object inheriting from DBIResult.

Other arguments passed on to methods.

Value

dbGetRowsAffected() returns a scalar number (integer or numeric), the number of rows affected by a data manipulation statement issued with dbSendStatement(). The value is available directly after the call and does not change after calling dbFetch(). For queries issued with dbSendQuery(), zero is returned before and after the call to dbFetch(). Attempting to get the rows affected for a result set cleared with dbClearResult() gives an error.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "mtcars", mtcars)
rs <- dbSendStatement(con, "DELETE FROM mtcars")
dbGetRowsAffected(rs)
nrow(mtcars)

dbClearResult(rs)
dbDisconnect(con)

Begin/commit/rollback SQL transactions

This section describes the behavior of the following methods:

dbBegin(conn, ...)

dbCommit(conn, ...)

dbRollback(conn, ...)

Description

A transaction encapsulates several SQL statements in an atomic unit. It is initiated with dbBegin() and either made persistent with dbCommit() or undone with dbRollback(). In any case, the DBMS guarantees that either all or none of the statements have a permanent effect. This helps ensuring consistency of write operations to multiple tables.

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Details

Not all database engines implement transaction management, in which case these methods should not be implemented for the specific DBIConnection subclass.

Value

dbBegin(), dbCommit() and dbRollback() return TRUE, invisibly. The implementations are expected to raise an error in case of failure, but this is not tested. In any way, all generics throw an error with a closed or invalid connection. In addition, a call to dbCommit() or dbRollback() without a prior call to dbBegin() raises an error. Nested transactions are not supported by DBI, an attempt to call dbBegin() twice yields an error.

Specification

Actual support for transactions may vary between backends. A transaction is initiated by a call to dbBegin() and committed by a call to dbCommit(). Data written in a transaction must persist after the transaction is committed. For example, a table that is missing when the transaction is started but is created and populated during the transaction must exist and contain the data added there both during and after the transaction, and also in a new connection.

A transaction can also be aborted with dbRollback(). All data written in such a transaction must be removed after the transaction is rolled back. For example, a table that is missing when the transaction is started but is created during the transaction must not exist anymore after the rollback.

Disconnection from a connection with an open transaction effectively rolls back the transaction. All data written in such a transaction must be removed after the transaction is rolled back.

The behavior is not specified if other arguments are passed to these functions. In particular, RSQLite issues named transactions with support for nesting if the name argument is set.

The transaction isolation level is not specified by DBI.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "cash", data.frame(amount = 100))
dbWriteTable(con, "account", data.frame(amount = 2000))

# All operations are carried out as logical unit:
dbBegin(con)
withdrawal <- 300
dbExecute(con, "UPDATE cash SET amount = amount + ?", list(withdrawal))
dbExecute(con, "UPDATE account SET amount = amount - ?", list(withdrawal))
dbCommit(con)

dbReadTable(con, "cash")
dbReadTable(con, "account")

# Rolling back after detecting negative value on account:
dbBegin(con)
withdrawal <- 5000
dbExecute(con, "UPDATE cash SET amount = amount + ?", list(withdrawal))
dbExecute(con, "UPDATE account SET amount = amount - ?", list(withdrawal))
if (dbReadTable(con, "account")$amount >= 0) {
  dbCommit(con)
} else {
  dbRollback(con)
}

dbReadTable(con, "cash")
dbReadTable(con, "account")

dbDisconnect(con)

Self-contained SQL transactions

This section describes the behavior of the following methods:

dbWithTransaction(conn, code, ...)

dbBreak()

Description

Given that transactions are implemented, this function allows you to pass in code that is run in a transaction. The default method of dbWithTransaction() calls dbBegin() before executing the code, and dbCommit() after successful completion, or dbRollback() in case of an error. The advantage is that you don’t have to remember to do dbBegin() and dbCommit() or dbRollback() – that is all taken care of. The special function dbBreak() allows an early exit with rollback, it can be called only inside dbWithTransaction().

Arguments

conn

A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().

code

An arbitrary block of R code.

Other parameters passed on to methods.

Details

DBI implements dbWithTransaction(), backends should need to override this generic only if they implement specialized handling.

Value

dbWithTransaction() returns the value of the executed code. Failure to initiate the transaction (e.g., if the connection is closed or invalid of if dbBegin() has been called already) gives an error.

Specification

dbWithTransaction() initiates a transaction with dbBegin(), executes the code given in the code argument, and commits the transaction with dbCommit(). If the code raises an error, the transaction is instead aborted with dbRollback(), and the error is propagated. If the code calls dbBreak(), execution of the code stops and the transaction is silently aborted. All side effects caused by the code (such as the creation of new variables) propagate to the calling environment.

Examples

con <- dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")

dbWriteTable(con, "cash", data.frame(amount = 100))
dbWriteTable(con, "account", data.frame(amount = 2000))

# All operations are carried out as logical unit:
dbWithTransaction(
  con,
  {
    withdrawal <- 300
    dbExecute(con, "UPDATE cash SET amount = amount + ?", list(withdrawal))
    dbExecute(con, "UPDATE account SET amount = amount - ?", list(withdrawal))
  }
)

# The code is executed as if in the curent environment:
withdrawal

# The changes are committed to the database after successful execution:
dbReadTable(con, "cash")
dbReadTable(con, "account")

# Rolling back with dbBreak():
dbWithTransaction(
  con,
  {
    withdrawal <- 5000
    dbExecute(con, "UPDATE cash SET amount = amount + ?", list(withdrawal))
    dbExecute(con, "UPDATE account SET amount = amount - ?", list(withdrawal))
    if (dbReadTable(con, "account")$amount < 0) {
      dbBreak()
    }
  }
)

# These changes were not committed to the database:
dbReadTable(con, "cash")
dbReadTable(con, "account")

dbDisconnect(con)