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Thu, 03 May 2012

SQLite support for DBIish

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DBIish, the new database interface for Rakudo Perl 6, now has a working SQLite backend. It uses prepared statements and placeholders, and supports standard CRUD operations.

Previously the SQLite driver would randomly report "Malformed UTF-8 string" or segfault, but usually worked pretty well when run under valgrind. The problem turned out to be a mismatch between the caller's and the callee's ideas about memory management.

In particular, parrot's garbage collector would deallocate strings passed to sqlite3_bind_text after the call was done, but sqlite wants such values to stay around until the next call to sqlite3_step in the very least.

Fixing this mismatch was enabled by this patch, which lets you mark strings as explicitly managed. Such strings keep their marshalled C string equivalent around until they are garbage-collected themselves. So now the sqlite driver keeps a copy of the strings as long as necessary, and the SQLite tests pass reliably.

Currently it still needs the cstr branches in the nqp and zavolaj repositories, but they will be merged soon -- certainly before the May release of Rakudo.

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