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Database Tips

Access the database (psql)

Option 1

Access the database container using psql on your local machine:

psql -d fmtm -U fmtm -h localhost

Option 2

Access a PostgreSQL shell inside the fmtm-db container:


docker exec -it fmtm-${GIT_BRANCH}-fmtm-db-1 psql -U fmtm fmtm

And then connect to the database using this command:

\c fmtm

A few helpful psql commands

  • You can list all the databases using the command:
  • To list all the schemas of the currently connected database, use the command:
  • To list all the functions in the current database, use the command:
  • To list all the views in the current database, use the command:
  • To list all the users and roles, use the command:
  • To list all the tables in the current database, use the command:
  • To describe a table, use the command:
\d table_name

Replace "table_name" with the name of the table you want to describe.

  • To execute the last command again, use the command:
  • To view your command history, use the command:
  • To save your command history to a file, use the command:
\s filename

Replace "filename" with the name of the file you want to save the command history to.

  • To execute commands from a file, use the command:
\i filename

Replace "filename" with the name of the file containing the commands you want to execute.

  • To view a list of all psql commands, use the command:
  • To view help for a specific command, use the command:
\h command_name

Replace "command_name" with the name of the command you want help with.

  • To exit psql, use the command:

Note: If you make a change, don't forget to commit the change!


  • Migrations are a way to manage changes to the database schema over time.
  • They are handled automatically by a management script when FMTM starts up.
  • Individual SQL migration scripts are placed in the src/backend/migrations dir.
    • These should be idempotent, i.e. can run over and over without causing errors.
    • There should also be a commented out SQL script for how to revert the migration.
    • Scripts should be named sequentially, i.e. the first is 001-some-migration.sql, then they increment by one.
    • Example 000-remove-user-password.sql:
-- ## Migration to remove password field from public.users (replaced with OSM OAuth)

-- ## Apply Migration
-- Start a transaction
-- Drop the 'password' column if it exists
-- Commit the transaction

-- ## Revert Migration (comment above, uncomment below)
-- -- Start a transaction
-- -- Add the 'password' column back if it doesn't exist
-- ALTER TABLE public.users
-- ADD COLUMN IF NOT EXISTS password character varying;
-- -- Commit the transaction
  • When the docker compose stack starts, an additional container starts up and runs a bash script once.
  • The script generates a table called migrations, which simply tracks the script name and execution date.
  • The migrations directory is scanned for new files, and if there is no record in the database of being applied, the migration is applied.

Running Migrations Manually

If for any reason you need to run migrations manually, there are a few options:

Restart the migrations container

docker compose restart migrations

Run the migration script in docker

This runs inside the backend container:

docker compose exec api bash /`

Run the migration script directly

Make sure you have the 4 env vars for the database connection set on your machine, then run the migration script directly:

bash src/backend/

Last update: July 22, 2024