Nick Charlton

Rails: Importing Local Data Dumps

I regularly work with production data (obfuscated when necessary) with local Rails apps. It’s much better to work with real-world data when building out projects as it allows you to make decisions according to what will really happen.

But, importing them can be a bit of a pain. I’d previously been writing out the command for pg_import manually. So, I wrote a quick Rake task to do this for me:

namespace :db do
  desc "Import a given file into the database"
  task :import, [:path] => :environment do |_t, args|
    dump_path = args.path
    connection_config = ActiveRecord::Base.connection_config

    case connection_config[:adapter]
    when "postgresql"
      system("PGPASSWORD=#{connection_config[:password]} pg_restore " \
        "--verbose --clean --no-acl --no-owner " \
        "--username=#{connection_config[:username]} " \
        "-d #{connection_config[:database]} #{dump_path}")
    when "mysql", "mysql2"
      system("mysql -u #{connection_config[:username]} " \
        "-p#{connection_config[:password]} " \
        "#{connection_config[:database]} < #{dump_path}")
      raise NotImplementedError, "An importer hasn't been implemented for: " \

This uses the database configuration for the current Rails environment to invoke the standard tools for importing into Postgres and MySQL. If a different database adaptor is being used, it’ll safely fail with a message.

Postgres doesn’t provide a command line manner in which to provide the password, so we’re using the (not-recommended) approach of using an environment variable. In our case, this shouldn’t be an issue as this is intending to be imported into a local development database.

Rake’s argument handling can appear a little strange (because you can run multiple commands at once, using OptParser becomes a little bit more complex), but it’s executed like so:

bundle exec rake db:import[latest.dump]

…where latest.dump is a file in the same directory as you’re executing the command.

This version supports just Postgres and MySQL as I don’t come across others so regularly, more database adaptors are left as an exercise for the reader.