— modern ops stuff —
SQLite, Node, and foreign keys
20 July 2012 // Node

I’ve been experimenting with writing a new interface to s-audit in Node, storing host data in a a SQLite database. It was all going well, creating audit groups, adding new clients and new audit types, but when I started to delete them, I hit problems. I’d used foreign keys with the CASCADE keyword to cascade DELETEs down through the tables, and they didn’t work. A bit of digging through the SQlite documentation (which is generally very good, and one of many reasons to like the software) and I found that with recent SQLite versions, foreign keys are turned off by default. I could turn them on manually with the SQLite client using

PRAGMA FOREIGN KEY=on;

but the docs said my client may not even have foreign key support compiled in. How to find out? This bit of Node showed me what I needed to know:

db.get('PRAGMA foreign_keys', function(err, res) {
    console.log('pragma res is ' + res.foreign_keys);
});

It gave me a big fat 0. If I didn’t have foreign key support in my library, then I think it would have been undefined. So, how to pass the pragma? It seems horribly inefficient to tag it in front of every query, so I tried putting an anonymous callback into my function which creates the SQLite session used throughout the code:

var db = new sqlite3.Database(config.DB, function() {
    db.run('PRAGMA foreign_keys=on');
    }
);

When node hit the db.get code above, it gave me the beautiful 1 I was looking for, and my foreign keys worked a charm.

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