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Last updated: 15 Apr 2021

publishing-api: Writing data migrations

Are you writing a migration to change Publishing API data?

We have a lot of migrations added to the Publishing API to change data, our long term plan is to reduce these so that these can be done via the API itself and not need migrations. Until we are at that point please use the following guidelines when creating migrations.

Run the migration on your machine first

At the very least this will ensure that the code runs and that your data looks correct, but it also allows you to get an idea for how long the migration will take to finish. You should then include that information in the PR to help with whoever is doing the deployment.

We also encourage you to run and check the results of the migration on integration, since the data there will be closer to production.

Always include the schema.rb file

Even if the change is just the timestamp, it's important to include this file in your commit otherwise when trying to use the app in testing an error saying there are pending migrations will appear.

Mistakes in migrations can and do happen, by at least targeting the application you are affecting (with .where(publishing_app: )) you can avoid unnecessary fallout.

Don't assume the records you are altering exist

Migrations get run in test environments, on old databases or when a developer first clones the project. You should always make sure that your migrations run fine without the data there that you are expecting.

Do you need to represent this data downstream?

Representing the data downstream won't work on local machines, so you will need to have a check in the migration making sure it is running in the right environment (Rails.env.production?). Alternatively, and ideally, you can use the represent_downstream: class of rake tasks in Jenkins to achieve the same result. If you do decide to represent downstream in the migration itself, you must disable transactions for this migration (by running the disable_ddl_transaction! method) as otherwise you will be representing downstream before the data is committed to the database.

If you are disabling the transaction, ensure the migration is idempotent

If you have disable_ddl_transaction! in your migration for some reason, you should make sure that the migration will do the right thing if it gets run again. This could happen if it happens to fail the first time, but since it will not be running in a transaction, the data won't be rolled back.