actioniq-oss / luna

Luna makes Slick DAOs simple



Build Status Luna makes Slick DAOs simple


So I hear you want to interact with a database and you already use Slick or may want to use Slick. Slick provides:

  • Type safe interface for querying a database
  • Asynchronous execution of queries
  • Connection pool management
  • Functional interface to SQL actions
  • Mechanism for converting rows to case classes

However, Slick can be both complicated and limiting. Slick:

  • Is definitely not an ORM and favors towards scala tuples, which can get pretty hard to navigate (like _._1._2._3)
  • Was written by scala ninjas so the library source can be hard to parse / extend
  • Abstracts how/where queries are run via DBIOActions, so it is not obvious if queries are ran in the same connection or transaction. Slick provides the functionality to force queries to run together but you need to be very careful.
  • Favors query building over common actions. Typical database operations are CRUD based (Create, Read, Update, Delete) but those abstractions are too high level for Slick to expose

"Proper" development practice stipulates that a DAO (Data Access OBject) should wrap database actions. Because Slick is very low level and can be complicated to use, we need some other abstraction to simply provide common DAO functionality.

Therefore we built LUNA to make creating DAOs easy.


  • MySQL/Postgres/H2 Database (probably can easily be extended to support others)
  • For each table that you query, you will need the typical slick abstractions. You will need a case class to represent the data from each row. You will also need a "table" class that maps the fields in the table to the fields in the case class
  • Your database table needs some sort of ID. Either a Long or UUID.



This is an abstraction around IDs a row might have. The IdType has two functions that make it like an option because auto incremented rows might not have an ID before they are created. Common Prepackaged IdTypes:

  • DbLongOptID - Id is a Long and optional (because of autoincrement)
  • DbUUID - Id is a UUID stored as a byte array


The "slick table" representation. This is used by slick to map between rows to models. You will need to implement one of these. There is a table implementation for each database type. Slick needs to know the database type for certain query mechanics.

  • MySQLDAOTable - Table for MySQL
  • PostgresDAOTable - Table for Postgres
  • H2DAOTable - Table for H2
  • DAODynamicProfileTable - Table that supports runtime injection of the database type. Useful if you want to run tests against H2 but use a different database in production.

IdModel / DAOModel

An IdModel is just a case class that has an id field of some IdType. The models representing database rows should inherit from this construct. You will need to implement one of these. There is a model implementation for each database type. Slick needs to know the database type for certain query mechanics.

  • MySQLIdModel - Model for MySQL
  • PostgresIdModel - Model for Postgres
  • H2IdModel - Model for H2

The Actual DAO

When you implement your DAO, you will be extending some version of the base DAO class. The base DAO class is a hierarchy of a bunch of classes, so let's look at it from the bottom up.


A very common use case for a DAO is to have some default filter on every action you take. Typically, you want the caller of the DAO to be limited to objects they have access to. All of the CRUD operations and their derivatives will utilize the default filters. These default filters are traits and stackable.


DAOQuery will generate slick queries based on default filters and input. Most functions return a Query type or some variation. Most functions are protected and for internal DAO use. Common Prepackaged DAOQueries:

  • DAOLongIdQuery - DAO Query that uses an optional long for id
  • DAOUUIDQuery - DAO Query that uses a UUID for id These prepackaged classes are necessary because you need to implement different ways of comparing or retrieving ids. Your DAO class will need to extend one of these.


ACTION PACKED center of the DAO structure. CRUD "action" functions are implemented here. Most functions return a DBIOAction or some variation, which is Slick's nonblocking representation of some database action. These can be stacked into a transaction, or run separately. The functions are protected and are for internal DAO use. Create and Update based functions will optionally call a validator. A validator is a simple function that takes input (and original if an update) and validate that all the values follow business rules. The validator can actually return multiple errors. The code to log transactions lives in this class.


YOU MADE IT!!!111! This is the class you should be extending to build your DAO. The functions defined here actually run the DBIOActions generated by the DAOAction functions. The proper calls will be chained into a transaction and most functions return a future. Returning futures makes perfect sense because service calls return futures, and everything can be chained nicely. DAO create and update operations also have optional pre and post processing functions, allowing the developer to implement default values / values that cannot be overridden once set.

  • MySQLDAO - DAO for MySQL
  • PostgresDAO - DAO for Postgres
  • H2DAO - DAO for H2 Again, you need to mix in one of the DAO Id Query types of DAOLongIdQuery or DAOUUIDQuery


Check out test example


Generally, it is a good idea to make some base DAOModel and DAOTable classes that you can reuse everywhere so that you don't need to remember what to mix in. So you might make

  trait BaseModel extends MySQLIdModel[DbUUID]
  abstract class BaseTable[V <: BaseModel](
    tag: Tag,
    tableName: String,
    schemaName: Option[String] = None
  ) extends MySQLIdTable
  abstract class BaseDAO[T <: BaseTable[V], V <: BaseModel](
    override val db: DBWithLogging,
    override val slickQuery: TableQuery[PlayerTable]
  ) extends MySQLDAO[T, V, DbUUID] with DAOUUIDQuery[T, V, MySQLProfile] 

Advanced Features

Transaction Logging

DAOs have hooks after any CREATE, UPDATE, or DELETE operation is ran. These can be used to call the "write" method on your implementation of a TransactionLogger that gets attached to the DB instance variable. For example:

  override protected def addCreateTransaction(id: DbUUID, input: Player): Unit =
    db.transactionLogger.write(LoggingModel(TransactionAction.create, id,

Your TransactionLogger needs to implement the write operation and flush operation. Flush is called after a transaction successfully commits. You can look at or extend the LoggingFile class.

Action Hooks

In some situations you may want to pre process or post process data. Perhaps a field's value should be derived from other fields or you want to hide a value. You can implement any of these functions:

  def processPreCreate(input: V): V
  def processPostCreate(input: V): V
  def processPreUpdate(input: V, original: Option[V]): V
  def processPostUpdate(input: V): V

Pre functions alter the data before it is used by DAO functions and Post afterwards

Compiled Queries

Each time you run some Slick code, Slick converts that code path into a SQL query. SOMETIMES this can actually be a slow process. In rare cases it can take 100 or so milliseconds. Slick provides what are called "compiled queries", which are something like prepared statements with placeholders. The DAO library has some helpers to build and utilize compiled queries since their API within Slick can be somewhat terse (

  • SlickCompiledFunctionSingleton - A trait to include with an object class to store compiled queries. The trait has a simple singleton map so you can access queries by a keyword. The main function provided is getOrInitCompiledQuery, which allows you to get a compiled query or build it for the next time.

  • getCompiledQuerySeq - A function in the DAOQuery class that helps with generating compiled queries for queries that utilize the "in" operator for an id field over a dynamic set of data. This function works by generating queries for <= 100 ids, <= 200 ids, <=500 ids, and <= 1000 ids. It currently does not support an in with over 1000 inputs.


Often you will want to enable query logging in slick for your application. However, it is hard to align calls to queries. Utilizing MDC (, you can add a tracing identifier to your logs.
The problem is that MDC is thread local and Slick has its own threadpool. To solve this you can use the DefaultSlickMDCExecutor to create a slick executor pool when creating your Database instance.

Zipkin Tracing

ZipkinLogbackAppender utilizes MDC and internal slick logging to log queries and their runtime to zipkin. This allows for more in-depth performance analysis.


Often you want to validate data before storing it. Sometimes you need to run some sort of database query to perform a validation. A common example is making sure that a "name" field is unique. Typically you want to run these validations as part of a transaction. The DAO classes are required to implement validateCreate and validateUpdate.
These get called in the create and update actions transactionally. The functions have a return type of DBIOAction[FormValidatorMessageSeq]. The FormValidatorMessageSeq class is a mutable wrapper around a sequence of FormValidatorMessages. The DAO internals will run this function and see if there are any form validator messages. If so it will throw an exception. FormValidatorMessageSeq has a helper method called assert to easily add form validator exceptions. Example:

    val errors = FormValidatorMessageSeq()
    for {
      existingItems <- readAction(q => q.filter( ===
      _ = assert(existingItems.isEmpty, s"Name ${} already used")
    } yield errors

If you don't want to validate anything, just return a noop

  override def validateCreate(
    input: Player
  )(implicit ec: ExecutionContext): DBIOAction[FormValidatorMessageSeq, NoStream, Effect.Read] = {