Testing migrations

Generate test code to write unit tests for your migrations.

While migrations can be written manually without additional help from drift, dedicated tools testing your migrations help to ensure that they are correct and aren't loosing any data.

Drift's migration tooling consists of the following steps:

  1. After each change to your schema, use a tool to export the current schema into a separate file.
  2. Use a drift tool to generate test code able to verify that your migrations are bringing the database into the expected schema.
  3. Use generated code to make writing schema migrations easier.

This page describes steps 2 and 3. It assumes that you're already following step 1 by exporting your schema when it changes.

Writing tests

After you've exported the database schemas into a folder, you can generate old versions of your database class based on those schema files. For verifications, drift will generate a much smaller database implementation that can only be used to test migrations.

You can put this test code whereever you want, but it makes sense to put it in a subfolder of test/. If we wanted to write them to test/generated_migrations/, we could use

$ dart run drift_dev schema generate drift_schemas/ test/generated_migrations/

After that setup, it's finally time to write some tests! For instance, a test could look like this:

import 'package:test/test.dart';
import 'package:drift_dev/api/migrations.dart';

// The generated directory from before.
import 'generated_migrations/schema.dart';

void main() {
  late SchemaVerifier verifier;

  setUpAll(() {
    // GeneratedHelper() was generated by drift, the verifier is an api
    // provided by drift_dev.
    verifier = SchemaVerifier(GeneratedHelper());

  test('upgrade from v1 to v2', () async {
    // Use startAt(1) to obtain a database connection with all tables
    // from the v1 schema.
    final connection = await verifier.startAt(1);
    final db = MyDatabase(connection);

    // Use this to run a migration to v2 and then validate that the
    // database has the expected schema.
    await verifier.migrateAndValidate(db, 2);

In general, a test looks like this:

  1. Use verifier.startAt() to obtain a connection to a database with an initial schema. This database contains all your tables, indices and triggers from that version, created by using Migrator.createAll.
  2. Create your application database with that connection. For this, create a constructor in your database class that accepts a QueryExecutor and forwards it to the super constructor in GeneratedDatabase. Then, you can pass the result of calling newConnection() to that constructor to create a test instance of your database.
  3. Call verifier.migrateAndValidate(db, version). This will initiate a migration towards the target version (here, 2). Unlike the database created by startAt, this uses the migration logic you wrote for your database.

migrateAndValidate will extract all CREATE statement from the sqlite_schema table and semantically compare them. If it sees anything unexpected, it will throw a SchemaMismatch exception to fail your test.

Verifying data integrity

In addition to the changes made in your table structure, its useful to ensure that data that was present before a migration is still there after it ran. You can use schemaAt to obtain a raw Database from the sqlite3 package in addition to a connection. This can be used to insert data before a migration. After the migration ran, you can then check that the data is still there.

Note that you can't use the regular database class from you app for this, since its data classes always expect the latest schema. However, you can instruct drift to generate older snapshots of your data classes and companions for this purpose. To enable this feature, pass the --data-classes and --companions command-line arguments to the drift_dev schema generate command:

$ dart run drift_dev schema generate --data-classes --companions drift_schemas/ test/generated_migrations/

Then, you can import the generated classes with an alias:

import 'generated_migrations/schema_v1.dart' as v1;
import 'generated_migrations/schema_v2.dart' as v2;

This can then be used to manually create and verify data at a specific version:

void main() {
  // ...
  test('upgrade from v1 to v2', () async {
    final schema = await verifier.schemaAt(1);

    // Add some data to the table being migrated
    final oldDb = v1.DatabaseAtV1(schema.newConnection());
    await oldDb.into(oldDb.todos).insert(v1.TodosCompanion.insert(
          title: 'my first todo entry',
          content: 'should still be there after the migration',
    await oldDb.close();

    // Run the migration and verify that it adds the name column.
    final db = MyDatabase(schema.newConnection());
    await verifier.migrateAndValidate(db, 2);
    await db.close();

    // Make sure the entry is still here
    final migratedDb = v2.DatabaseAtV2(schema.newConnection());
    final entry = await migratedDb.select(migratedDb.todos).getSingle();
    expect(entry.id, 1);
    expect(entry.dueDate, isNull); // default from the migration
    await migratedDb.close();