Database connections in Vapor 4

Version 4 of the Swift web framework Vapor was released a while ago. Vapor emphasizes their ORM, Fluent, and it seems that version 4 has changed how a database connection can be acquired if you prefer to write the SQL yourself. They've also skipped documenting it, so getting things working requires some digging. In this post I'll explain how to do it. I'm using PostgreSQL.

You need a connection pool. The right place to set it up is your app's configure(_:Application) method. Use an environment variable to feed a database URL to your app:

import Vapor

public func configure(_ app: Application) throws {
    guard let dbUrlString = Environment.get("DBURL") else {
        preconditionFailure("Missing DBURL")
    }
    /* … */

    // register routes
    try routes(app)
}

Now that you have a URL, import PostgresKit and set up the pool:

import PostgresKit
import Vapor

public func configure(_ app: Application) throws {
    guard let dbUrlString = Environment.get("DBURL") else {
        preconditionFailure("Missing DBURL")
    }
    
    let postgresConfiguration = PostgresConfiguration(url: dbUrlString)!
    let pool = EventLoopGroupConnectionPool(
        source: PostgresConnectionSource(configuration: postgresConfiguration),
        on: app.eventLoopGroup
    )
    /* … */

    // register routes
    try routes(app)
}

Next we need to make the pool available to our request handlers and make sure it's shut down correctly. Making it available to request handlers happens by inserting it into the Application object's storage. Shutdown requires implementing Vapor's LifecycleHandler and registering it with the Application.

First define a struct that wraps the pool:

struct DatabaseService {
    let pool: EventLoopGroupConnectionPool<PostgresConnectionSource>
}

To keep the service in Application.storage, we need a key type:

struct DatabaseServiceKey: StorageKey {
    typealias Value = DatabaseService
}

Add an Application extension property to make it easier to access the service in the storage:

extension Application {
    var databaseService: DatabaseService? {
        get { self.storage[DatabaseServiceKey.self] }
        set { self.storage[DatabaseServiceKey.self] = newValue }
    }
}

The lifecycle implementation looks like this:

extension DatabaseService: LifecycleHandler {
    func shutdown(_ application: Application) {
        self.pool.shutdown()
    }
}

Now you just have slot these pieces in place in configure:

import PostgresKit
import Vapor

public func configure(_ app: Application) throws {
    guard let dbUrlString = Environment.get("DBURL") else {
        preconditionFailure("Missing DBURL")
    }
    
    let postgresConfiguration = PostgresConfiguration(url: dbUrlString)!
    let pool = EventLoopGroupConnectionPool(
        source: PostgresConnectionSource(configuration: postgresConfiguration),
        on: app.eventLoopGroup
    )

    let dbService = DatabaseService(pool: pool)
    app.databaseService = dbService
    app.lifecycle.use(dbService)

    // register routes
    try routes(app)
}

Now you have a working database setup. If you want to run migrations, the configure method is probably a good place to do it, before you set up the routes. I keep the DB code in a domain specific DBClient type; you can use any division of responsibilities you like.

    app.lifecycle.use(dbService)

    let db = dbService.pool.database(logger: app.logger)
    let dbClient = DBClient(database: db)
    app.logger.info("Will run migrate on DB")
    _ = try dbClient.migrate().wait()
    app.logger.info("DB migration done")

    // register routes

When handling requests, you'll just have to get the database service from Request.application. I like to create a struct called RequestEnvironment that encapsulates acquisition of the service and creation of domain logic services. Something like this:

struct RequestEnvironment {
    var makeFooService: () -> FooService

    static func makeDefault(req: Request) -> RequestEnvironment {
        guard let dbService = req.application.databaseService else {
            fatalError("Missing DatabaseService")
        }
        let db = dbService.pool.database(logger: req.logger)
        let dbClient = DBClient(database: db)
        return RequestEnvironment(
            makeFooService: { FooService(dbClient: dbClient, request: req) }
        )
    }    
}

Now when your controller handles a request, create the RequestEnvironment object and use it to call your services with the database client:

struct FooController {
    func create(_ req: Request) -> EventLoopFuture<FooExternal> {
        let newFoo = try req.content.decode(NewFooIncoming.self)
        let env = RequestEnvironment.makeDefault(req: req)
        return env.makeFooService().makeFoo(newFoo)
    }
}

That's it! Go forth and SQL, swiftly.

© Juri Pakaste 2021