Database Migrations


For development purposes, you already know the Update DB workflow from the Schema Designer. Once your app is running in production you will at some point need to make changes to your database schema. With migrations, you can evolve your production database schema by writing short SQL statements to make the necessary changes.

In IHP a migration file is a plain SQL file consisting of ALTER TABLE and other SQL statements that patch the database. They are stored in Application/Migration and are named by a timestamp and an optional description.

Here’s how a directory structure with a few migrations can look like:


Generating a Migration

Open the Code Generator and click Migration. You need to enter an optional description, e.g. Create Posts Table. The description will be sluggified to create-posts-table when generating the migration file.

Click Generate. Your editor will open with the new .sql file.

You can also call this from the command line:

new-migration "Create Posts Table"

To generate our new posts table we copy the DDL statement from Schema.sql into this migration:

    id UUID DEFAULT uuid_generate_v4() PRIMARY KEY NOT NULL,
    title TEXT NOT NULL,
    body TEXT NOT NULL

After that, we can already run this migration to update our production database.

Running Migrations

IHP provides a shell command migrate that runs all migrations that haven’t be executed yet. A table schema_migratons is used to keep track of which migrations already have been run. The table will be automatically created by the migrate tool.

To test your migrations locally, you can run this tool locally like:


In a production context you need to specify the correct database URL via the DATABASE_URL environment variable:

DATABASE_URL=postgresql://... migrate

Skipping Old Migrations

You can set the MINIMUM_REVISION env variable when running migrate to ignore migration revisions older than the specified unix timestamp:


# 'Application/Migration/999-old-migration.sql' would be ignored now when running 'migrate'

A good value for MINIMUM_REVISION is typically the unix timestamp of the time when the database was initially created.

Common Issues

ALTER TYPE … ADD cannot run inside a transaction block

When running a miration like this:

ALTER TYPE my_enum ADD VALUE 'some_value';

you will typical get an error like this:

Query (89.238182ms): "BEGIN" ()
migrate: SqlError {sqlState = "25001", sqlExecStatus = FatalError, sqlErrorMsg = "ALTER TYPE ... ADD cannot run inside a transaction block", sqlErrorDetail = "", sqlErrorHint = ""}

IHP implicit wraps the migration within a transaction. You can disable this implicit transaction manually like this:

COMMIT; -- Commit the transaction previously started by IHP
ALTER TYPE my_enum ADD VALUE 'some_value';
BEGIN; -- Restart the connection as IHP will also try to run it's own COMMIT