verify - Verifying schema changes

Added in v1.24.0

Schema updates and poorly-written queries often bring down production databases. That’s bad.

Out of the box, sqlc generate catches some of these issues. Running sqlc vet with the sqlc/db-prepare rule catches more subtle problems. But there is a large class of issues that sqlc can’t prevent by looking at current schema and queries alone.

For instance, when a schema change is proposed, existing queries and code running in production might fail when the schema change is applied. Enter sqlc verify, which analyzes existing queries against new schema changes and errors if there are any issues.

Let’s look at an example. Assume you have these two tables in production.


CREATE TABLE user_actions (
  user_id UUID NOT NULL,
  action TEXT,
  created_at TIMESTAMP

Your application contains the following query to join user actions against the users table.

-- name: GetUserActions :many
SELECT * FROM users u
JOIN user_actions ua ON = ua.user_id
ORDER BY created_at;

So far, so good. Then assume you propose this schema change:


Running sqlc generate fails with this change, returning a column reference "created_at" is ambiguous error. You update your query to fix the issue.

-- name: GetUserActions :many
SELECT * FROM users u
JOIN user_actions ua ON = ua.user_id
ORDER BY u.created_at;

While that change fixes the issue, there’s a production outage waiting to happen. When the schema change is applied, the existing GetUserActions query will begin to fail. The correct way to fix this is to deploy the updated query before applying the schema migration.

It ensures migrations are safe to deploy by sending your current schema and queries to sqlc cloud. There, we run the queries for your latest push against your new schema changes. This check catches backwards incompatible schema changes for existing queries.

Here sqlc verify alerts you to the fact that ORDER BY “created_at” is ambiguous.

$ sqlc verify
FAIL: app query.sql

=== Failed
=== FAIL: app query.sql GetUserActions
    ERROR: column reference "created_at" is ambiguous (SQLSTATE 42702)

By the way, this scenario isn’t made up! It happened to us a few weeks ago. We’ve been happily testing early versions of verify for the last two weeks and haven’t had any issues since.

This type of verification is only the start. If your application is deployed on-prem by your customers, verify could tell you if it’s safe for your customers to rollback to an older version of your app, even after schema migrations have been run.

Using verify requires that you push your queries and schema when you tag a release of your application. We run it on every push to main, as we continuously deploy those commits.


sqlc expects to find a valid auth token in the value of the SQLC_AUTH_TOKEN environment variable. You can create an auth token via the dashboard.

export SQLC_AUTH_TOKEN=sqlc_xxxxxxxx

Expected workflow

Using sqlc verify requires pushing your queries and schema to sqlc Cloud. When you release a new version of your application, you should push your schema and queries as well. For example, we run sqlc push after any change has been merged into our main branch on Github, as we deploy every commit to production.

$ sqlc push --tag main

Locally or in pull requests, run sqlc verify to check that existing queries continue to work with your current database schema.

$ sqlc verify --against main

Picking a tag

Without an against argument, verify will run its analysis of the provided schema using your most-recently pushed queries. We suggest using the against argument to explicitly select a set of queries for comparison.

$ sqlc verify --against [tag]