SQLAlchemy 0.6 Documentation

Release: 0.6.9 | Release Date: May 5, 2012


Support for the MaxDB database.

This dialect is not ported to SQLAlchemy 0.6 or 0.7.

This dialect is not tested on SQLAlchemy 0.6 or 0.7.


The maxdb dialect is experimental and has only been tested on and Of these, only will work with SQLAlchemy’s ORM. The earlier version has severe LEFT JOIN limitations and will return incorrect results from even very simple ORM queries.

Only the native Python DB-API is currently supported. ODBC driver support is a future enhancement.


The username is case-sensitive. If you usually connect to the database with sqlcli and other tools in lower case, you likely need to use upper case for DB-API.

Implementation Notes

With the driver and Python 2.5, it seems that all DB-API generated exceptions are broken and can cause Python to crash.

For ‘somecol.in_([])’ to work, the IN operator’s generation must be changed to cast ‘NULL’ to a numeric, i.e. NUM(NULL). The DB-API doesn’t accept a bind parameter there, so that particular generation must inline the NULL value, which depends on [ticket:807].

The DB-API is very picky about where bind params may be used in queries.

Bind params for some functions (e.g. MOD) need type information supplied. The dialect does not yet do this automatically.

Max will occasionally throw up ‘bad sql, compile again’ exceptions for perfectly valid SQL. The dialect does not currently handle these, more research is needed.

MaxDB 7.5 and Sap DB <= 7.4 reportedly do not support schemas. A very slightly different version of this dialect would be required to support those versions, and can easily be added if there is demand. Some other required components such as an Max-aware ‘old oracle style’ join compiler (thetas with (+) outer indicators) are already done and available for integration- email the devel list if you’re interested in working on this.

Versions tested: and, native Python DB-API

  • MaxDB has severe limitations on OUTER JOINs, which are essential to ORM eager loading. And rather than raise an error if a SELECT can’t be serviced, the database simply returns incorrect results.
  • Version seems to JOIN properly, however the docs do not show the OUTER restrictions being lifted (as of this writing), and no changelog is available to confirm either. If you are using a different server version and your tasks require the ORM or any semi-advanced SQL through the SQL layer, running the SQLAlchemy test suite against your database is HIGHLY recommended before you begin.
  • Version is LHS/RHS sensitive in FROM lhs LEFT OUTER JOIN rhs ON lhs.col=rhs.col vs rhs.col=lhs.col!
  • Version is confused by SELECT DISTINCT col as alias FROM t ORDER BY col - these aliased, DISTINCT, ordered queries need to be re-written to order by the alias name.
  • Version 7.6.x supports creating a SAVEPOINT but not its RELEASE.
  • MaxDB supports autoincrement-style columns (DEFAULT SERIAL) and independent sequences. When including a DEFAULT SERIAL column in an insert, 0 needs to be inserted rather than NULL to generate a value.
  • MaxDB supports ANSI and “old Oracle style” theta joins with (+) outer join indicators.
  • The SQLAlchemy dialect is schema-aware and probably won’t function correctly on server versions (pre-7.6?). Support for schema-less server versions could be added if there’s call.
  • ORDER BY is not supported in subqueries. LIMIT is not supported in subqueries. In, TOP does work in subqueries, but without limit not so useful. OFFSET does not work in 7.6 despite being in the docs. Row number tricks in WHERE via ROWNO may be possible but it only seems to allow less-than comparison!
  • Version can’t LIMIT if a derived table is in FROM: SELECT * FROM (SELECT * FROM a) LIMIT 2
  • MaxDB does not support sql’s CAST and can only usefullly cast two types. There isn’t much implicit type conversion, so be precise when creating PassiveDefaults in DDL generation: ‘3’ and 3 aren’t the same.


  • As of 2007-10-22 the Python 2.4 and 2.5 compatible versions of the DB-API are no longer available. A forum posting at SAP states that the Python driver will be available again “in the future”. The last release from MySQL AB works if you can find it.
  • sequence.NEXTVAL skips every other value!
  • No rowcount for executemany()
  • If an INSERT into a table with a DEFAULT SERIAL column inserts the results of a function INSERT INTO t VALUES (LENGTH(‘foo’)), the cursor won’t have the serial id. It needs to be manually yanked from tablename.CURRVAL.
  • Super-duper picky about where bind params can be placed. Not smart about converting Python types for some functions, such as MOD(5, ?).
  • LONG (text, binary) values in result sets are read-once. The dialect uses a caching RowProxy when these types are present.
  • Connection objects seem like they want to be either `close()`d or garbage collected, but not both. There’s a warning issued but it seems harmless.