Opened 7 years ago

Closed 9 days ago

#14204 closed New feature (fixed)

Take advantage of SQLite support for FK constraints

Reported by: Ramiro Morales Owned by: Claude Paroz
Component: Database layer (models, ORM) Version: master
Severity: Normal Keywords: sqlite, foreign key
Cc: me@…, Simon Charette Triage Stage: Accepted
Has patch: yes Needs documentation: no
Needs tests: no Patch needs improvement: no
Easy pickings: no UI/UX: no

Description (last modified by Ramiro Morales)

SQLite3 3.6.19 from Oct 14 2009 adds support for enforcing these constraints. See

Creating this ticket to track this feature, with an initial implementation patch to get feedback. Will also open a django-dev thread.

Attachments (1)

14204-sqlite-fk-constraints.diff (5.0 KB) - added by Ramiro Morales 7 years ago.
First implementation

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (24)

Changed 7 years ago by Ramiro Morales

First implementation

comment:1 Changed 7 years ago by Ramiro Morales

Needs documentation: set
Needs tests: set

See also #5698 and #12210.

comment:2 Changed 7 years ago by Russell Keith-Magee

Triage Stage: UnreviewedAccepted

Accepted on principle; however, we need to be clear on the backwards compatibility consequences of this change. In particular, I'm concerned about automatically enabling "PRAGMA foreign_keys" just because the feature is available.

comment:3 Changed 7 years ago by Ramiro Morales

Summary: Take advantage of (newish) SQLlite support for FK constraintsTake advantage of (newish) SQLite support for FK constraints

comment:4 Changed 6 years ago by Graham King

Keywords: sqlite foreign key added
Severity: Normal
Type: New feature

comment:5 Changed 5 years ago by Aymeric Augustin

UI/UX: unset

Change UI/UX from NULL to False.

comment:6 Changed 5 years ago by Aymeric Augustin

Easy pickings: unset

Change Easy pickings from NULL to False.

comment:7 Changed 4 years ago by Simon Charette

#19659 was a duplicate.

comment:8 Changed 4 years ago by Ramiro Morales

Description: modified (diff)

comment:9 Changed 4 years ago by Ramiro Morales <cramm0@…>

In 5782c94f2382303dd28a35a9b9591ad480286220:

Added generation of SQLite FK DDL in initial migrations.

SQLite accepts the relevant standard SQL (although by default it doesn't
enforce the constraint), and the 'traditional' creation backend helper
generate it, so this allows us to:

  • Maintain the status quo
  • Improve readability of the SQL code generated for that backend.

Also, we will need this for when we fix Refs #14204.

comment:10 Changed 3 years ago by Tim Graham

Patch needs improvement: set
Summary: Take advantage of (newish) SQLite support for FK constraintsTake advantage of SQLite support for FK constraints

5 years later (by the time Django 1.8 will be released), I think we could probably add this unconditionally and say that SQLite versions that don't support FKs aren't supported. Of course, we will still have to consider existing databases for which support isn't enabled.

comment:11 Changed 3 years ago by Anssi Kääriäinen

How about we add a database OPTION key for SQLite to allow disabling foreign keys (mainly usable for backwards compatibility). If "disable foreign keys" flag isn't set, then starting in Django 1.8 automatically enable foreign key support.

comment:12 Changed 3 years ago by Aymeric Augustin

Since it's called an ORM, I'm theoretically in favour of focusing on relational software. Realistically, the main problem is MyISAM. It was MySQL's default until 5.5. As long as we can't drop the code that works around databases not enforcing constraints, there's less to gain by requiring FKs on SQLite.

I'm +1 on enabling FK checks by default in Django and +0 on requiring it unconditionnally.

comment:13 Changed 2 years ago by William Schwartz

+1 on getting this patch merged in. For what it's worth, the patch's implementation of _check_fk_constraint_support looks correct to me based on my reading of the SQLite documentation. My only question about the patch is whether the PRAGMA needs to be issued on every new connection as the patch does, or only once when the database is created.

comment:14 Changed 2 years ago by Tim Graham

If you'd like to see it merged, feel free to update it to apply cleanly and add documentation (release notes). Then send a pull request and update the ticket flags so the patch appears in the review queue.

comment:15 Changed 2 years ago by Aymeric Augustin

The pragma is per-connection. It's a runtime property of the SQLite engine. It doesn't affect the on-disk file format.

comment:16 Changed 2 years ago by Andriy Sokolovskiy

Cc: me@… added
Owner: changed from nobody to Andriy Sokolovskiy
Status: newassigned

I'm working on finishing of this patch

comment:17 Changed 14 months ago by Claude Paroz

Owner: changed from Andriy Sokolovskiy to Claude Paroz

comment:18 Changed 14 months ago by Claude Paroz

There is one major issue with supporting FK constraints on SQLite3: they can only be deactivated outside a transaction (this is a documented behavior).
Take for example the Django TestCase implementation which wraps every test class inside a transaction, that means that foreign keys checking can never be deactivated inside TestCase tests (loading forward references in fixtures is problematic for example, as does fixtures_regress.tests.TestFixtures.test_loaddata_works_when_fixture_has_forward_refs).

WIP work in this commit:

comment:19 Changed 7 months ago by Simon Charette

Cc: Simon Charette added

Is there a reason SQLite foreign key constraints are not created DEFERRABLE INITIALLY DEFERRED like they are on PostgreSQL and Oracle?

If they were the issue mentioned by Claude regarding transaction wrapping could be solved.

comment:20 Changed 7 months ago by Claude Paroz

I don't have the time to investigate right now, but if it can help someone, I rebased the commit which is now

comment:21 Changed 3 weeks ago by Tim Graham

I've worked on updating Claude's patch by incorporating Simon's suggestion of adding DEFERRABLE INITIALLY DEFERRED: PR

There are still some issues to figure out.

comment:22 Changed 2 weeks ago by Tim Graham

Needs documentation: unset
Needs tests: unset
Patch needs improvement: unset

The PR linked in the previous comment is now ready for review.

comment:23 Changed 9 days ago by Tim Graham <timograham@…>

Resolution: fixed
Status: assignedclosed

In 169c3b3:

Fixed #14204 -- Enforced SQLite foreign key constraints.

Thanks Tim Graham for contributing to the patch and
Simon Charette for advice and review.

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