~ $ Working with SQL Relations in Go - Part 1

Posted on Tue 7 2020 to Programming

In my last post I touched on the idea of using query builders for building up somewhat complex SQL queries in Go. Well, in this post I’d like to go further, and explore how this can be used to idiomatically build out a simple system for modelling relationships in Go. This post going forward will assume that you have read the aforementioned post.

Preface

This post is split up into multiple parts simply due to how long it is going to be. In this first part we will cover setting up the entities, models and stores for our example application. We will also implement some simple query logic for gracefully handling input variables that will be passed to the underlying SQL queries.

The posts being split up into multiple parts should also aid in the digestion of said posts.

First I’d like to cover some terminology that I will be using throughout this article. This isn’t official terminology or anything, but terms that I like to use to aid in describing the different components of modelling the data.

  • Entity - an independent type that is bespoke to the system
  • Store - something that returns models from the database
  • Model - a representation of an Entity’s data that was either taken from the database, or will be put in the database

This article will be covering a lot, and will be providing lot’s of code examples, all of which will be elided (denoted via ...) for brevity.

Setting the Stage

Let’s assume we’re building a simple blogging application with the following entities at play,

  1. User
  2. Category
  3. Post
  4. Comment
  5. Tag

where a User entity has a one-to-many relationship with Post, and Comment. The Category entity has a one-to-many relationship with Post, and finally, the Post entity has a one-to-many relationship with Tag, and Comment.

So let’s assume we’re implementing the following routes in our blogging application,

  1. /categories
  2. /category/{category:[0-9]+}
  3. /posts
  4. /posts/{post:[0-9]+}

Note: we’re primarily focussed on readonly routes right now.

where /categories, and /posts return a list of the respective entities. The /categories route will support the search and page query parameters, and the /posts route will support the search, page, and tag query parameters.

Nothing too strenuous so far, so let’s move onto the next step and start modelling our would be blogging application in Go.

The Initial Models

First we’ll break up our entities into their top-level packages. Assume our source tree looks something like below,

$ ls -l
category
post
user

you’ll notice that we’ve missed out the Tag and Comment entity packages, this is because these will both be in the Post entity package.

Next, we’ll write out our structs.

// category/category.go
type Category struct {
    ID   int64  `db:"id"`
    Name string `db:"name"`
}

-

// post/post.go
type Post struct {
    ID         int64  `db:"id"`
    UserID     int64  `db:"user_id"`
    CategoryID int64  `db:"category_id"`
    Title      string `db:"title"`
    Body       string `db:"body"`
}

-

// post/comment.go
type Comment struct {
    ID     int64  `db:"id"`
    UserID int64  `db:"user_id"`
    PostID int64  `db:"post_id"`
    Body   string `db:"body"`
}

-

// post/tag.go
type Tag struct {
    ID     int64  `db:"id"`
    PostID int64  `db:"post_id"`
    Name   string `db:"name"`
}

-

// user/user.go
type User struct {
    ID       int64  `db:"id"`
    Email    string `db:"email"`
    Username string `db:"username"`
    Password []byte `db:"password"`
}

We now have our entities modelled. If we think about what we want our blogging application to do, we want to retrieve multiple models at once, filter them based on the HTTP request data, and also retrieve individual models too.

Ideally we would also want to keep our logic for querying the database separate from the model structs themselves, to make them easier to work with from an API standpoint. We would also like to abstract away some of the commonalities between our current disparate models.

Abstracting Commonalities

What things do our models have in common with each other? Well for one they have primary keys as denoted by the ID field, and they also have arbitrary column values too.

With this in mind let’s begin defining a simple Model interface that can allow us access to the model’s primary key, and it’s column values. We shall do this in the model package.

// model/model.go
type Model interface {
    Primary() (string, int64)

    IsZero() bool

    Values() map[string]interface{}
}

The Primary method will return two values, first a string which should be the name of the column that is the primary key, and the int64 value of the primary key itself.

The IsZero method will return bool denoting whether the model is empty.

The Values method will return all of the column values, sans the primary key, as a map of string to interface{}.

We will come back to the Model interface later on.

Next we should define a struct that ought to be used for handling the querying of multiple models, or of individual models from the database.

// model/model.go
import (
    "database/sql"

    "github.com/andrewpillar/query"

    "github.com/jmoiron/sqlx"
)

type Store struct {
    *sqlx.DB
}

func (s Store) All(i interface{}, table string, opts ...query.Option) error {
}

func (s Store) Get(i interface{}, table string, opts ...query.Option) error {
}

The two methods, All and Get have the same interface. First, they both take an interface{}, which will be the destination where the queried data will be loaded into. Next they take a string for the table name to query against, and finally a variadic list of query.Option that will be applied to the underlying query that is performed.

So let’s implement the two methods.

func (s Store) All(i interface{}, table string, opts ...query.Option) error {
    opts = append([]query.Option{
        query.Columns("*"),
        query.From(table),
    }, opts...)

    q := query.Select(opts...)

    err := s.Select(i, q.Build(), q.Args()...)

    if err == sql.ErrNoRows {
        err = nil
    }
    return err
}

-

func (s Store) Get(i interface{}, table string, opts ...query.Option) error {
    opts = append([]query.Option{
        query.Columns("*"),
        query.From(table),
    }, opts...)

    q := query.Select(opts...)

    err := s.DB.Get(i, q.Build(), q.Args()...)

    if err == sql.ErrNoRows {
        err = nil
    }
    return err
}

The implementation themselves are similar, all that changes is the underlying call to sqlx.DB.

So, we have a simple way of now querying the data, let’s look at how we can utilise this with our models we have so far.

Entity Stores

For our blogging application we will create stores for the Category and Post entity, since we’re mainly concerned with implementing routes for them. This will also help with keeping this article shorter as it will be covering a lot.

So let’s implement stores specific for these entities.

// category/category.go
import (
    "blogger/model"

    "github.com/jmoiron/sqlx"
)
...
type Store struct {
    model.Store
}

var table = "categories"

func NewStore(db *sqlx.DB) Store {
    return Store{
        Store: model.Store,
    }
}

func (s Store) All(opts ...query.Option) ([]*Category, error) {
    cc := make([]*Category, 0)

    err := s.Store.All(&cc, table, opts...)
    return cc, err
}

func (s Store) Get(opts ...query.Option) (*Category, error) {
    c := &Category{}

    err := s.Store.Get(c, table, opts...)
    return c, err
}

-

// post/post.go
import (
    "blogger/model"

    "github.com/jmoiron/sqlx"
)
...
type Store struct {
    model.Store
}

var table = "posts"

func NewStore(db *sqlx.DB) Store {
    return Store{
        Store: model.Store,
    }
}

func (s Store) All(opts ...query.Option) ([]*Post, error) {
    pp := make([]*Post, 0)

    err := s.Store.All(&pp, table, opts...)
    return pp, err
}

func (s Store) Get(opts ...query.Option) (*Post, error) {
    p := &Post{}

    err := s.Store.Get(p, table, opts...)
    return p, err
}

Pretty east to implement. We setup a constructio function which takes an sqlx.DB connection and returns a new instance of the store. Then, we implement the All and Get methods for returning a slice of models, and a single model respectively. The top level unexported variable is used to define the table for the entity.

So, with the start of our models and stores in place, let’s start writing a handler for the /categories route.

A Barebones Handler

This handler will be incredibly simple, it will simply hit the All method on the category.Store, and return a JSON encoded slice of the results. Nothing too special.

// category/handler.go
package category

import (
    "encoding/json"
    "net/http"

    "blogger/model"
)

type Handler struct {
    Store Store
}

func (h Handler) Index(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    cc, err := h.Store.All(model.Search("name", r.URL.Query().Get("search")))

    if err != nil {
        // handle error
    }

    w.Header().Set("Content-Type", "application/json; charset=utf-8")
    json.NewEncoder(w).Encode(cc)
}

We have the handler for /categories done, now let’s implement /categories/{category:[0-9]+}.

// category/handler.go
import (
    "strconv"
...
    "github.com/gorilla/mux"
)
...
func (h Handler) Show(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    id, err := strconv.ParseInt(mux.Vars(r)["category"], 10, 64)

    if err != nil {
        // handle error
    }

    c, err := h.Store.Get(query.Where("id", "=", id))

    if err != nil {
        // handle error
    }

    w.Header().Set("Content-Type", "application/json; charset=utf-8")
    json.NewEncoder(w).Encode(c)
}

Not as simple as Index, but get’s the job done. To finish, let’s implement a function to register the routes.

// category/handler.go
import (
...
    "github.com/jmoiron/sqlx"
)
...
func RegisterRoutes(db *sqlx.DB, r *mux.Router) {
    h := Handler{
        Store: NewStore(db),
    }

    r.HandleFunc("/categories", h.Index)
    r.HandleFunc("/categories/{category:[0-9]+}", h.Show)
}

We’ve implemented the Category entity routes, now time for the Post entity routes.

// post/handler.go
import (
    "encoding/json"
    "net/http"
    "strconv"

    "blogger/model"

    "github.com/gorilla/mux"

    "github.com/jmoiron/sqlx"
)

type Handler struct {
    Store Store
}

func (h Handler) Index(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    q := r.URL.Query()

    pp, err := h.Store.All(
        model.Search("title", q.Get("search"),
        WhereTag(q.Get("tag")),
    )

    if err != nil {
        // handle error
    }

    w.Header().Set("Content-Type", "application/json; charset=utf-8")
    json.NewEncoder(w).Encode(pp)
}

func (h Handler) Show(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    id, err := strconv.ParseInt(mux.Vars(r)["post"], 10, 64)

    if err != nil {
        // handle error
    }

    p, err := h.Store.Get(query.Where("id", "=", id))

    if err != nil {
        // handle error
    }

    w.Header().Set("Content-Type", "application/json; charset=utf-8")
    json.NewEncoder(w).Encode(p)
}

func RegisterRoutes(db *sqlx.DB, r *mux.Router) {
    h := Handler{
        Store: NewStore(db),
    }

    r.HandleFunc("/posts", h.Index)
    r.HandleFunc("/posts/{post:[0-9]+}", h.Show)
}

We have both entity handlers implemented now, however you will notice a few things,

  1. We made reference to model.Search in both of them, a function we have not implemented yet.
  2. The Post entity Index handler makes reference to a WhereTag function which too doesn’t exist.

So, let’s implement these custom functions for the API we’re building up here.

Implementing Custom Query Options

With these custom query options we want to gracefully handle zero-values given to these functions. This will avoid having to pollute our handlers with checks for against the values we’re pulling in from the request.

First, let’s implement model.Search,

// model/model.go
...
import (
    "github.com/andrewpillar/query"
)
...
func Search(col, pattern string) query.Option {
    return func(q query.Query) query.Query {
        if pattern == "" {
            return q
        }
        return query.Where(col, "LIKE", "%"+pattern+"%")(q)
    }
}

Simple enough, we check to see if the given pattern is a zero-value, if it is then we do nothing. Otherwise, we return a WHERE LIKE clause via a call to query.Where passing it the query.

Now let’s implement the bind.WhereTag function,

// build/tag.go
...
import (
    "github.com/andrewpillar/query"
)
...
var tagTable = "post_tags"
...
func WhereTag(tag string) query.Option {
    return func(q query.Query) query.Query {
        if tag == "" {
            return q
        }
        return query.WhereQuery("id", "IN",
            query.Select(
                query.Columns("post_id"),
                query.From(tagTable),
                query.Where("name", "=", tag),
            ),
        )(q)
    }
}

Here, we return a WHERE IN clause which will limit the posts we select to those that have an ID in the set returned from the sub SELECT query. This sub-query is what actually uses the given tag parameter, and only selects the post_id column from the table. Again we check for a zero-value tag, and do nothing if the check passes.

So let’s assume a users hits the following route,

GET /posts?search=programming&tag=go

the following query would be performed against the posts table,

SELECT * FROM posts
WHERE (
    title LIKE '%programming%'
    AND WHERE (
        id IN (
            SELECT post_id FROM post_tags
            WHERE (name = 'go')
        )
    )
)

And of course if no query parameters are given then it will simply perform,

SELECT * FROM posts

Conclusion

So quite a bit has been presented here, we established the entities we would be working with in this example application. Implemented an interface to help abstract away the commonalities between the model entities. And started work on the entity store implementations, which we can build upon for our query interface.

In the next post we will look into how we can refactor what we currently have, and handle pagination of the models.