#sql #postgres #schema #migration #revision

bin+lib jrny

Simple SQL-based PostgreSQL schema revisions

7 releases (2 stable)

2.0.0-beta.8 Apr 20, 2023
2.0.0-beta.7 Mar 3, 2023
2.0.0-beta.5 Oct 26, 2021
1.3.0 Dec 19, 2020
1.2.0 Dec 16, 2020

#454 in Command line utilities

26 downloads per month


1.5K SLoC


Data modeling is a journey - manage yours with jrny

Important: Journey is still very much a prototype; being version >= 1 simply means that it reached minimum required (and working) features, and development continues to be sporadic due to the responsibilities of life.



Other SQL-based schema migration tools already exist (like dbmate), but there is still room for another.

jrny is an option for people who...

  • ... think database revision files should be an immutable record and are guaranteed to represent what was applied to database

  • ... want a guaranteed revision order across all environments

  • ... would rather write SQL than translate it to method calls or YAML entries that are often more verbose and less documented

  • ... want explicit control of transactions and the ability to easily ignore them or leverage them across multiple revisions

  • ... prefer to install compiled binaries rather than manage a language and dependencies on whatever system(s) run migrations

  • ... like the idea of single responsibility, especially if multiple applications (potentially in different repos and written in different languages) access the same tables

  • ... believe that separating migrations from application deploys encourages one to write non-breaking migrations and helps enable zero-downtime updates

  • ... prefer to avoid reverse migrations, especially as they make it trivially easy to 'change' history by forgetting to add a preexisting index, check constraint, etc. during a typical upgrade/downgrade/edit/upgrade cycle. (Feel free to add your thoughts on this subject here)

CLI Usage

jrny is primarily intended to be used as a precompiled, standalone CLI tool, but it can also be used as a library.


From source

Assuming cargo is installed (easiest is using rustup) then simply run:

$ cargo install jrny --version 2.0.0-beta.8

    Updating crates.io index
  Downloaded jrny v2.0.0-beta.8
  Downloaded 1 crate (28.6 KB) in 0.39s
  Installing jrny v2.0.0-beta.8
   Compiling jrny v2.0.0-beta.8
    Finished release [optimized] target(s) in 2m 03s
  Installing /Users/<user>/.cargo/bin/jrny
   Installed package `jrny v2.0.0-beta.8` (executable `jrny`)


There are 4 steps to managing schema changes with jrny:

  1. begin
  2. plan
  3. review
  4. embark

Begin the journey

Project setup is simple - all that is required is a config file and an empty revisions directory alongside it. These can be created manually or via jrny begin.

$ jrny begin <project-dir>

A journey has begun
  ├── <project-dir>/revisions [created]
  └── <project-dir>/jrny.toml [created]
  └── <project-dir>/jrny-env.toml [created]
  └── <project-dir>/jrny-env.example.toml [created]

The default jrny.toml file specifies the directory in which to locate revisions as well as the database schema & name for the "state table" in which to record details for applied revisions.

# jrny.toml

directory = "revisions"

schema = "public"
name = "jrny_revision"

The revision directory can be renamed any time, provided that the SQL files themselves do not change, but the schena & table cannot be changed once any revisions have been applied. Otherwise, jrny will see an empty state table and attempt to apply all revisions again.

Additionally, jrny-env.toml and jrny-env.example.toml files will be created. The jrny-env.toml environment file is optional but is used to store environment-specific information, including the database connection string.

# jrny-env.example.toml

# Database connection string - for permissible formats and options see:
# https://docs.rs/postgres/0.19.1/postgres/config/struct.Config.html
url = "postgresql://user:password@host:port/dbname"

Both the config and environment files can be freely renamed, but changing their names (or running jrny outside of the project directory) will require passing in their paths via -c [or --config] and -e [or --environment] respectively.

Plan the journey

To create a new SQL revision, run jrny plan [-c <path-to-config>] either specifying the path to the config file via -c or (if ommitted) by looking for jrny.toml in the current directory.

$ jrny plan create-users

Created revisions/001.1606743300.create-users.sql

$ jrny plan 'name with spaces' -c /path/to/my/config.toml

Created /path/to/my/revisions/002.1606743400.name with spaces.sql

This will create a (mostly) empty SQL file for you to populate with wonderful statements. Notice that jrny encourages transactions per-revision but you are free to remove these, particularly if you need to execute statements outside of a transaction - or if you want to write several revision files that should span the same transaction.

$ cat /path/to/my/revisions/002.1606743400.name\ with\ spaces.sql

-- Revision: name with spaces
-- Add description here


-- Add SQL here


Note: It's encouraged to comment-out the commit; line so that you can run the revision in the database without changes actually persisting.

Revision filenames follow the pattern of [id].[timestamp].[name].sql.

Timestamps are just great metadata to capture, and jrny assigns a sequential id to each file. The reason being this enforces a stricter revision order than simply using timestamps can, all without needing pointers between files. (For more information, see the rational behind sequencing.)

Gaps in the id sequence are fine (eg. if you create two new revisions, remove the first one, and then apply the second), and ids can be manually changed as long as the revision hasn't been applied.

Review the journey

To summarize the state of revisions, run jrny review. If you are outside of the project directory, you'll need to specify the config file location, and you will either need to specify the path to the environment file or provide the database URL directly, eg:

# From within project directory & default filenames
$ jrny review

# From outside the project directory *or* with a custom config filename.
# This will look for an environment file named `jrny-env.toml` in
# the same directory as the custom config file.
$ jrny review -c path/to/my-jrny-config.toml

# Same as above except can specify custom environment file with different name
# or in a different directory than the config file.
$ jrny review -c path/to/my-jrny-config.toml -e path/to/my-jrny-env.toml

# Specifying database URL within project directory & default config filename.
# Can be used in conjunction with custom config and/or environment file paths.
# If there is a default environment file in the current directory, the URL option
# will take precedence over the URL supplied by the environment file.
$ jrny review -d 'postgresql://user:password@host:5432/dbname'

This will list all ordered revisions, each with time of creation as well as time of application, if applied to the specified database.

$ jrny review

The journey thus far:

  [1] my-first-revision
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:10:22
    Applied on 30-Mar-2023 09:11:06

  [2] another-revision
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:10:32
    Applied on 30-Mar-2023 09:11:06

  [3] YET-another-revision
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:27:58

Additionally, jrny performs several checks during review to guarantee that...

  • Applied revisions' files have not been changed after having been applied
  • Applied revisions' files have not been removed
  • Pending revisions have not been inserted into the sequence prior to applied revisions
  • All revisions in the sequence (pending and applied) have unique ids
The journey thus far:

  [1] revision-that-gets-changed
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:31:05
    Applied on 30-Mar-2023 10:17:33
      - File has changed after being applied

  [2] revision-that-gets-removed
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:57:56
    Applied on 30-Mar-2023 10:17:33
      - File could not be found

  [3] a-revision-added-in-between
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 10:18:58
      - Later revisions have already been applied

  [4] some-revision-that-is-fine
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:58:19
    Applied on 30-Mar-2023 10:17:33

  [5] a-revision-that-was-fine
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 10:17:24
    Applied on 30-Mar-2023 10:17:33
      - Revision has a duplicate id

  [5] revision-with-duplicate-id
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 10:19:57
      - Revision has a duplicate id

The journey has problems:
  - 1 revision has been changed after being applied
  - 2 revisions have duplicate ids
  - 1 revision file could not be found
  - 1 pending revision has been inserted before revisions already applied

These checks are not necessarily mutually-exclusive, either, meaning a single revision can potentially have multiple errors, eg. having been changed after being applied AND having a duplicate id, if the sequence has been altered as well.

Note: Review will fail with even the addition (or removal) of whitespace or comments; there is currently no attempt to scrub those out prior to generating the checksums used to determine if a file has been changed after being applied.

Embark on the journey!

To apply all pending revisions, run jrny embark.

As with jrny review, applying revisions looks for default config & environment files in the current directory, but either can be overridden and, again, the database URL can be supplied directly.

Revisions will be reviewed prior to applying any pending, and if files have changed, are no longer present on disk, etc., then jrny will issue an error and exit without applying any new revisions.

Otherwise, jrny will simply either list the names of the revisions applied...

$ jrny embark

Applying 1 revision(s)


... or a message indicating that no pending revisions were found.

$ jrny embark

No revisions to apply

Additionally, instead of applying all pending revisions, you can apply only those up through a specified id using --through or -t.

For instance, given a review like:

$ jrny review

The journey thus far:

  [1] my-first-revision
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:10:22
    Applied on 30-Mar-2023 09:11:06

  [2] another-revision
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:10:32

  [3] YET-another-revision
    Created on 30-Mar-2023 09:27:58

  [4] shocker-a-revision
    Created on 19-Apr-2023 15:42:29

  [5] surprise-another-revision
    Created on 19-Apr-2023 15:42:36

If you only wanted to run up through YET-another-revision you would just pass the id 3:

$ jrny embark --through 3

Applying 2 revision(s), skipping 2

  008.1681952321.YET another revision.sql

Library Usage

The jrny CLI tool is a thin wrapper around several structs and functions that can alternatively be imported into a Rust application, if one wants to manage revisions more programmatically.

The library functions make no assumptions about configuration and environment, however; you must explicitly create those objects as necessary, which is admittedly not very ergonomic at the moment.

For a complete (basic) example:

use std::env;
use std::path::PathBuf;

use jrny::context as ctx;

fn main() {
    // Initialize a new `jrny` setup in the `./jrny-test` subdirectory.
    // Note: In addition to creating the necessary revisions directory, this *also*
    // creates the `jrny.toml`, etc files that, when using `jrny` as a library,
    // are entirely unnecessary.
    // See: https://github.com/kevlarr/jrny/issues/35

    // The rest of the commands will need to know the project configuration
    // and potentially other environment details as well.
    let cfg = ctx::Config {
        revisions: ctx::RevisionsSettings {
            directory: PathBuf::from("jrny-test/revisions"),
        table: ctx::TableSettings {
            schema: "public".to_owned(),
            name: "jrny_revision".to_owned(),
    let env = ctx::Environment::from_database_url(&env::var("DATABASE_URL").unwrap());

    // Create a new empty migration
    jrny::plan(&cfg, "my first migration", None).unwrap();

    // Create another migration with some contents
    jrny::plan(&cfg, "a more useful migration", Some("
        create table my_cool_table (
            id bigint
                primary key
                generated always as identity

    // Review the migrations
    jrny::review(&cfg, &env).unwrap();

    // Run the migrations
    jrny::embark(&cfg, &env).unwrap();

Planned improvements, or "things that are missing"

See enhancements for a running list of planned new features.

More importantly, there is currently zero test coverage; fixing this is part of the v2.0.0 milestone.


~439K SLoC