Database migrations are the key to all data driven web applications. Coast makes them easy.

Creating Migrations

To make a new migration call this from your shell in the same directory as your Coast app

coast gen migration create-table-member

This generates a file in the db/migrations folder with a timestamp and the name create_table_member.clj:

(ns migrations.20190926190239-create-table-member
  (:require [coast.db.migrations :refer :all]))

(defn change []
  (create-table :member

NOTE: The primary key column id is automatically included with the create-table function.

There is also a way to specify columns from the shell as well:

coast gen migration create-table-member email:text nick-name:text password:text photo:text

Which yields:

(ns migrations.20190926190239-create-table-member
  (:require [coast.db.migrations :refer :all]))

(defn change []
  (create-table :member
    (text :email)
    (text :nick-name)
    (text :password)
    (text :photo)

Migration Files

A migration file requires either two functions up and down or a change function. The change function attempts to automatically detect the opposite sql it should generate on a rollback function. So, create-table becomes drop-table. add-column becomes drop-column. The up and down functions are still required for the edges.

NOTE: Things less straightforward than creating/dropping tables may not do what you intend in change so be prepared to write up and down migrations still for things like add-column/drop-column.


The up function is run when you call make db/migrate


The down function is run when you call make db/rollback


The change function is run when you call both.

NOTE: It's recommended to keep your migrations as simple as possible.

Usually each migration file will either create a table or add a few columns or add indices but not all of those at the same time.

It's easier to find out which migration changed which part of the database when they do separate and specific things.

Column Types

This is the full list of column types supported by Coast migrations:

Column Types

textadds a text column
timestampadds a timestamp column
datetimeadds a datetime column
timestamptzadds a timezone specific timestamp column (postgres only)
integeradds an integer column
booladds a boolean column
decimaladds a decimal column
timestampsadds "createdat" and "updatedat" columns
jsonadds a json column

Column Modifiers

This is the full list of column attributes you can pass into each column function

:collatestringsets the column collation (e.g. utf8_unicode)
:nulltrue/falseadds "not null" if null is set to false
:uniquetrue/falsecreates a unique constraint for this column
:defaultany valuesets the default column value on insert
:referencescolumncreates a foreign key constraint on this column
:on-deletecascade, set null, set default, no actiontakes the specified action on delete
:on-updatecascade, set null, set default, no actiontakes the specified action on update

TIP: Don't create multiple tables in a single schema file. Instead, create a new file for each database change. This way you keep your database atomic and can roll back to any version.

Migration Commands

Below is the list of available migration commands.

Command List

coast gen migration creates a new migration file in db/migrations
make db/migrateruns all pending migration files
make db/rollbackrolls back the most recent migration file

Schema Table API

Below is the list of schema functions available to interact with database tables


Create a new database table:

(defn change []
  (create-table :person))

Create a new table if it doesn't already exist:

(defn change []
  (create-table :person {:if-not-exists true}))

Create a new table with a primary key other than id:

(defn change []
  (create-table :person {:primary-key "person_id"}))


Rename an existing database table:

(defn change []
  (rename-table :person :people))


Drop a database table:

(defn down []
  (drop-table :person))

NOTE: Typically you can rely on the change function with create-table to drop tables for you on rollback.

(add-column table column-name column-type)

Alter a table and add a column

(defn change []
  (add-column :person :first-name :text :null false :unique true ...))

See the list of column modifiers above for the full list of arguments.

(add-foreign-key from to & {col :col pk :pk fk-name :name :as m})

(defn change []
  (add-foreign-key :todo :person))

(add-index table-name cols & {:as m})

(defn change []
  (add-index :person :first-name))

; or for multiple columns

(defn change []
  (add-index :person [:first-name :last-name]))

; or for a unique index

(defn change []
  (add-index :person [:first-name :last-name] :unique true))

(add-reference table-name ref-name & {:as m})

(defn change []
  (add-reference :todo :person))


(defn change []
  (alter-column :person :first-name :json))


(defn change []
  (rename-column :person :first-name :f-name))


(defn change []
  (rename-index :old-index :new-index))


(defn change []
  (create-extension "extension name"))


(defn down []
  (drop-extension "extension name"))


(defn down []
  (drop-column :person :first-name))


(defn down []
  (drop-foreign-key :todo :table :person))


(defn down []
  (drop-index :person :column :first-name))

; or multiple columns

(defn down []
  (drop-index :person :column [:first-name :last-name]))

; or by name

(defn down []
  (drop-index :person :name "person_first_name_index"))


(defn down []
  (drop-reference :todo :person))

Run Migrations

To run migrations, run the makefile command db/migrate from your terminal

make db/migrate

make db/migrate

The change function handles both migrations and rollbacks of a schema.

So create-table :member becomes drop-table :member when calling make db/rollback.

make db/rollback

To undo the last migration run db/rollback:

make db/rollback

SQL Migrations

Plain SQL migrations in plain sql files are also supported

Append .sql to the end of a migration name to create a SQL migration:

coast gen migration the-name-of-a-migration.sql

This creates a sql migration instead of a clojure one.

Here's an example sql migration

-- up
create table customer (
  id serial primary key,
  email text unique not null,
  password text not null,
  first_name text,
  last_name text

-- down
drop table customer;