Transactions are protective blocks where SQL statements are only permanent if they can all succeed as one atomic action. The classic example is a transfer between two accounts where you can only have a deposit if the withdrawal succeeded and vice versa. Transactions enforce the integrity of the database and guard the data against program errors or database break-downs. So basically you should use transaction blocks whenever you have a number of statements that must be executed together or not at all.
ActiveRecord::Base.transaction do david.withdrawal(100) mary.deposit(100) end
This example will only take money from David and give it to Mary if neither
deposit raise an exception. Exceptions will force a ROLLBACK that returns the database to the state before the transaction began. Be aware, though, that the objects will not have their instance data returned to their pre-transactional state.
Different Active Record classes in a single transaction
transaction class method is called on some Active Record class, the objects within the transaction block need not all be instances of that class. This is because transactions are per-database connection, not per-model.
In this example a
balance record is transactionally saved even though
transaction is called on the
Account.transaction do balance.save! account.save! end
transaction method is also available as a model instance method. For example, you can also do this:
balance.transaction do balance.save! account.save! end
Transactions are not distributed across database connections
A transaction acts on a single database connection. If you have multiple class-specific databases, the transaction will not protect interaction among them. One workaround is to begin a transaction on each class whose models you alter:
Student.transaction do Course.transaction do course.enroll(student) student.units += course.units end end
This is a poor solution, but fully distributed transactions are beyond the scope of Active Record.
destroy are automatically wrapped in a transaction
Both #save and #destroy come wrapped in a transaction that ensures that whatever you do in validations or callbacks will happen under its protected cover. So you can use validations to check for values that the transaction depends on or you can raise exceptions in the callbacks to rollback, including
As a consequence changes to the database are not seen outside your connection until the operation is complete. For example, if you try to update the index of a search engine in
after_save the indexer won't see the updated record. The
after_commit callback is the only one that is triggered once the update is committed. See below.
Exception handling and rolling back
Also have in mind that exceptions thrown within a transaction block will be propagated (after triggering the ROLLBACK), so you should be ready to catch those in your application code.
One exception is the
ActiveRecord::Rollback exception, which will trigger a ROLLBACK when raised, but not be re-raised by the transaction block.
Warning: one should not catch
ActiveRecord::StatementInvalid exceptions inside a transaction block.
ActiveRecord::StatementInvalid exceptions indicate that an error occurred at the database level, for example when a unique constraint is violated. On some database systems, such as PostgreSQL, database errors inside a transaction cause the entire transaction to become unusable until it's restarted from the beginning. Here is an example which demonstrates the problem:
# Suppose that we have a Number model with a unique column called 'i'. Number.transaction do Number.create(i: 0) begin # This will raise a unique constraint error... Number.create(i: 0) rescue ActiveRecord::StatementInvalid # ...which we ignore. end # On PostgreSQL, the transaction is now unusable. The following # statement will cause a PostgreSQL error, even though the unique # constraint is no longer violated: Number.create(i: 1) # => "PG::Error: ERROR: current transaction is aborted, commands # ignored until end of transaction block" end
One should restart the entire transaction if an
transaction calls can be nested. By default, this makes all database statements in the nested transaction block become part of the parent transaction. For example, the following behavior may be surprising:
User.transaction do User.create(username: 'Kotori') User.transaction do User.create(username: 'Nemu') raise ActiveRecord::Rollback end end
creates both “Kotori” and “Nemu”. Reason is the
ActiveRecord::Rollback exception in the nested block does not issue a ROLLBACK. Since these exceptions are captured in transaction blocks, the parent block does not see it and the real transaction is committed.
In order to get a ROLLBACK for the nested transaction you may ask for a real sub-transaction by passing
requires_new: true. If anything goes wrong, the database rolls back to the beginning of the sub-transaction without rolling back the parent transaction. If we add it to the previous example:
User.transaction do User.create(username: 'Kotori') User.transaction(requires_new: true) do User.create(username: 'Nemu') raise ActiveRecord::Rollback end end
only “Kotori” is created.
Most databases don't support true nested transactions. At the time of writing, the only database that we're aware of that supports true nested transactions, is MS-SQL. Because of this, Active Record emulates nested transactions by using savepoints. See dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/en/savepoint.html for more information about savepoints.
after_commit callbacks are called on every record saved or destroyed within a transaction immediately after the transaction is committed.
after_rollback callbacks are called on every record saved or destroyed within a transaction immediately after the transaction or savepoint is rolled back.
These callbacks are useful for interacting with other systems since you will be guaranteed that the callback is only executed when the database is in a permanent state. For example,
after_commit is a good spot to put in a hook to clearing a cache since clearing it from within a transaction could trigger the cache to be regenerated before the database is updated.
If you're on MySQL, then do not use Data Definition Language (DDL) operations in nested transactions blocks that are emulated with savepoints. That is, do not execute statements like 'CREATE TABLE' inside such blocks. This is because MySQL automatically releases all savepoints upon executing a DDL operation. When
transaction is finished and tries to release the savepoint it created earlier, a database error will occur because the savepoint has already been automatically released. The following example demonstrates the problem:
Model.connection.transaction do # BEGIN Model.connection.transaction(requires_new: true) do # CREATE SAVEPOINT active_record_1 Model.connection.create_table(...) # active_record_1 now automatically released end # RELEASE SAVEPOINT active_record_1 # ^^^^ BOOM! database error! end
Note that “TRUNCATE” is also a MySQL DDL statement!
This callback is called after a record has been created, updated, or destroyed.
You can specify that the callback should only be fired by a certain action with the
after_commit :do_foo, on: :create after_commit :do_bar, on: :update after_commit :do_baz, on: :destroy after_commit :do_foo_bar, on: [:create, :update] after_commit :do_bar_baz, on: [:update, :destroy]
# File activerecord/lib/active_record/transactions.rb, line 232 def after_commit(*args, &block) set_options_for_callbacks!(args) set_callback(:commit, :after, *args, &block) end
after_commit :hook, on: :create.
# File activerecord/lib/active_record/transactions.rb, line 244 def after_create_commit(*args, &block) set_options_for_callbacks!(args, on: :create) set_callback(:commit, :after, *args, &block) end
after_commit :hook, on: :destroy.
# File activerecord/lib/active_record/transactions.rb, line 256 def after_destroy_commit(*args, &block) set_options_for_callbacks!(args, on: :destroy) set_callback(:commit, :after, *args, &block) end
This callback is called after a create, update, or destroy are rolled back.
Please check the documentation of
after_commit for options.
# File activerecord/lib/active_record/transactions.rb, line 264 def after_rollback(*args, &block) set_options_for_callbacks!(args) set_callback(:rollback, :after, *args, &block) end
after_commit :hook, on: [ :create, :update ].
# File activerecord/lib/active_record/transactions.rb, line 238 def after_save_commit(*args, &block) set_options_for_callbacks!(args, on: [ :create, :update ]) set_callback(:commit, :after, *args, &block) end
after_commit :hook, on: :update.
# File activerecord/lib/active_record/transactions.rb, line 250 def after_update_commit(*args, &block) set_options_for_callbacks!(args, on: :update) set_callback(:commit, :after, *args, &block) end
ConnectionAdapters::DatabaseStatements#transaction API docs.
# File activerecord/lib/active_record/transactions.rb, line 211 def transaction(**options, &block) connection.transaction(**options, &block) end