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Introducing the shouldExecute script configuration option

Have you ever wanted more customizable control over when your migrations are executed?

In Flyway Teams Edition 7.3.0 we released the shouldExecute script configuration option which lets you achieve just that!

What is the shouldExecute option?

shouldExecute is a new script configuration option, and if you aren’t already familiar with this concept you can read about it here.

With this new option, you gain the power to easily customize when a migration should execute. Unlike skipExecutingMigrations, this will not update the schema history table.

In order to use this option, you first have to create a script configuration file which contains the line:

shouldExecute=expression

expression must evaluate to a boolean value, and it can be either truefalse, or A==B where A and B are themselves values and not expressions.

At first glance A==B doesn’t seem useful, but the power and customizability comes from… drum roll… placeholder replacement!

Placeholders in expressions

If you’d like to brush up on your knowledge of placeholders, you can read about them here.

The shouldExecute script configuration option supports placeholders within expressions. This means that the execution of migrations can be customized based on the values of easily modifiable placeholders. The A==B expression format begins to shine here, as it can be used with placeholders to control the execution of your migrations.

What better way to see this in action than with some examples!

Examples

Executing migrations in a specific schema

Flyway comes with default placeholders that are automatically populated with useful values, such as the user connecting to the database and the default schema used by Flyway, and these can be used in the expression provided to shouldExecute.

To control the execution of migrations based on the schema, we can use the ${flyway:defaultSchema} default placeholder.

Let’s say we have the following migrations:

V1__A_migration_1.sql
V2__B_migration_1.sql
V3__A_migration_2.sql

Migrations V1 and V3 should only be executed against schema A, and V2 against schema B. We can achieve this by creating a script configuration file V1__A_migration_1.sql.conf for V1 which contains the line shouldExecute=${flyway:defaultSchema}==A, and similarly for V3. The script configuration file for V2 would have the line shouldExecute=${flyway:defaultSchema}==B.

With this, if we run flyway migrate then only V1 and V3 will be executed, and V2 will be ignored.

Customize execution with placeholders – injecting environments

When working with databases you often have different environments such as test, development, or production. In each of these environments you might want to execute different migrations, and this can now be achieved by injecting the environment with a placeholder!

Once again, let’s say we have the following migrations:

V1__tst_migration_1.sql
V2__dev_migration_1.sql
V3__prd_migration_1.sql

Migration V1 should only be executed in the test environment, V2 in the development environment, and V3 in the production environment. Migration V1’s script configuration file would need to contain the line shouldExecute=${environment}==testV2’s will need the line shouldExecute=${environment}==development and V3’s will need the line shouldExecute=${environment}==production.

Now, if we set the value of the ${environment} placeholder to contain the environment we are running Flyway in, we can achieve our desired result.

Running flyway -placeholders.environment=test migrate will only apply V1. Similarly flyway -placeholders.environment=development migrate will only apply V2, and flyway -placeholders.environment=production migrate will only apply V3.

The benefit of setting shouldExecute=false

Initially it may not be obvious how hardcoding false for shouldExecute would be useful, since this just has the same effect as using cherryPick with all of the migrations you do want to execute.

However, we quite often want to defer the execution of a long running migration so that it can run, for example, overnight. Using cherryPick can become unwieldy when the number of migrations you do want to execute is large. cherryPick also requires changing how you execute Flyway, which makes it less desirable in fully automated pipelines. Let’s see how you can achieve this with shouldExecute!

For the last time, let’s say we have the following migrations:

V1__shrt_migration_1.sql
V2__long_migration_1.sql
V3__shrt_migration_2.sql

In this example, let’s also assume that we have a basic automated pipeline running flyway migrate on each commit to version control.

Since migration V2 takes too long to execute during a work day, we decide to execute it overnight, but don’t want to delay executing V1 and V3. We can still execute migrations V1 and V3, but first need to create a script configuration file V2__long_migration_1.sql.conf for V2 with the line shouldExecute=false. When we commit this to version control, migrations V1 and V3 will automatically be applied, ignoring V2.

When we reach the end of the day and decide it’s time to apply V2, we can modify the script configuration file and remove the line containing shouldExecute=false since the default value is true. We also need to modify the Flyway configuration file and set outOfOrder=true. Once we commit this, migration V2 will automatically begin execution in our pipeline.

We have successfully deferred migration execution in an automated pipeline without changing how we call Flyway!

Try it out!

You can do some pretty cool things with shouldExecute! If you’re an existing Flyway Teams user, try it out! If this is something you’d like to experiment with, head on over to download in order to start your free trial today!

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