benbro / pgo

Erlang Postgres client and connection pool

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PG...Oh god not nother Postgres client in Erlang...


  • No message passing. Clients checkout the socket and use it directly.
  • Binary protocol with input oids cached.
  • Simple and direct. Tries to limit runtime options as much as possible.
  • Instrumented with Telemetry and OpenCensus
  • Mix apps currently too hard to use in a Rebar3 project.


Erlang/OTP 21.3 and above.


Pools defined in the pgo application's environment will be started on boot. You can also add pools dynamically with pgo:start_pool/3.

To try pgo simply modify config/example.config by replacing the host, database, user and password values for the database you wish to connect to:

  {pgo, [{pools, [{default, #{pool_size => 10,
                              host => "",
                              database => "test",
                              user => "test"}}]}]}

default is the name of the pool, size is the number of connections to create for the pool. Or you can start the pool through pgo:start_pool/2 which creates it as a child of pgo's simple one for one:

> pgo:start_pool(default, #{pool_size => 5, host => "", database => "test", user => "test"}). 

Or start a pool as a child of your application's supervisor:

ChildSpec = #{id => pgo_pool,
              start => {pgo_pool, start_link, [Name, PoolConfig]},
              shutdown => 1000},

Then start a shell with rebar3 shell, it will boot the applications which will start the pool automatically if it is configured through sys.config.

> pgo:query("select 1").
#{command => select, num_rows => 1, rows => [{1}]}
> pgo:transaction(fun() ->
>     pgo:query("INSERT INTO my_table(name) VALUES('Name 1')"),
>     pgo:query("INSERT INTO my_table(name) VALUES('Name 2')")
> end).
#{command => insert,num_rows => 1,rows => []}


Pool configuration includes the Postgres connection information, pool configuration like size and defaults for options used at query time.

#{host => string(),
  port => integer(),
  user => string(),
  password => string(),
  database => string(),

  %% pool specific settings
  pool_size => integer(),
  queue_target => integer(),
  queue_interval => integer(),
  idle_interval => integer(),

  %% defaults for options used at query time
  queue => boolean(),
  trace => boolean(),
  decode_opts => [decode_option()]}

The query time options can also be set through options passed to pgo:query/3:

decode_fun() :: fun((row(), fields()) -> row()) | undefined.

decode_option() :: return_rows_as_maps | {return_rows_as_maps, boolean()} |
                   column_name_as_atom | {column_name_as_atom, boolean()} |
                   {decode_fun, decode_fun()}.
#{pool => atom(),
  trace => boolean(),
  queue => boolean(),
  decode_opts => [decode_option()]}

Query Options

  • pool (default: default): Name of the pool to use for checking out a connection to the database.
  • return_rows_as_maps (default: false): When true each row is returned as a map of column name to value instead of a list of values.
  • column_name_as_atom (default: false): If true converts each column name in the result to an atom.
  • decode_fun (default: undefined): Optional function for performing transformations on each row in a result. It must be a 2-arity function returning a list or map for the row and takes the row (as a list or map) and a list of #row_description_field{} records.
  • queue (default: true): Whether to wait for a connection from the pool if none are available.
  • trace (default: false): pgo is instrumented with OpenCensus and when this option is true a span will be created (if sampled).

Database Settings

  • host (default: Database server hostname.
  • port (default: 5432): Port the server is listening on.
  • user: Username to connect to database as.
  • password: Password for the user.
  • database: Name of database to use.
  • ssl (default: false): Whether to use SSL or not.
  • ssl_options: List of SSL options to use if ssl is true. See the Erlang SSL connect options.
  • connection_parameters (default: []): List of 2-tuples, where key and value must be binary strings. You can include any Postgres connection parameter here, such as {<<"application_name">>, <<"myappname">>} and {<<"timezone">>, <<"GMT">>}.

Pool Settings

  • pool_size (default: 1): Number of connections to keep open with the database
  • queue_target (default: 50) and queue_interval (default: 1000): Checking out connections is handled through a queue. If it takes longer than queue_target to get out of the queue for longer than queue_interval then the queue_target will be doubled and checkouts will start to be dropped if that target is surpassed.
  • idle_interval (default: 1000): The database is pinged every idle_interval when the connection is idle.

Telemetry and Tracing

A Telemetry event [pgo, query] can be attached to for receiving the time a query takes as well as other metadata for each query.

OpenCensus spans can be enabled for queries and transactions by either setting the trace_default to true for the pool:

> pgo:start_pool(default, #{host => "", 
                            database => "test", 
                            user => "test",
                            pool_size => 5,
                            trace_default => true}]). 

Or by passing #{trace => true} in the options for a query or transaction:

> pgo:query("select 1", [], #{trace => true}).
#{command => select, num_rows => 1, rows => [{1}]}
> pgo:transaction(fun() ->
>     pgo:query("INSERT INTO my_table(name) VALUES('Name 1')"),
>     pgo:query("INSERT INTO my_table(name) VALUES('Name 2')")
> end, #{trace => true}).
#{command => insert,num_rows => 1,rows => []}

Note that since this is optional the opencensus application is not included as a dependency of pgo. So it must be included as a rebar3 dependency and runtime dependency (listed in your application's .app.src applications or the list of applications for relx to include in a release).

Running Tests

Pool functionality is tested with common test suites:

$ rebar3 ct

Postgres query functionality is tested with eunit, create user test and database test:

$ rebar3 eunit


Much is owed to (especially for protocol step logic) and (especially for some decoding logic).

The pool implementation is owed to James Fish's found in db_connection PR 108. While db_connection and postgrex as a whole were both used as inspiration as well.


Erlang Postgres client and connection pool

License:Apache License 2.0


Language:Erlang 100.0%