New features

  • tbl() and copy_to() now work directly with DBI connections (#2423, #2576), so there is no longer a need to generate a dplyr src.

    con <- DBI::dbConnect(RSQLite::SQLite(), ":memory:")
    copy_to(con, mtcars)
    mtcars2 <- tbl(con, "mtcars")
  • glimpse() now works with remote tables (#2665)

  • dplyr has gained a basic SQL optimiser, which collapses certain nested SELECT queries into a single query (#1979). This will improve query execution performance for databases with less sophisticated query optimisers, and fixes certain problems with ordering and limits in subqueries (#1979). A big thanks goes to @hhoeflin for figuring out this optimisation.

  • compute() and collapse() now preserve the “ordering” of rows. This only affects the computation of window functions, as the rest of SQL does not care about row order (#2281).

  • copy_to() gains an overwrite argument which allows you to overwrite an existing table. Use with care! (#2296)

  • New in_schema() function makes it easy to refer to tables in schema: in_schema("my_schema_name", "my_table_name").

Deprecated and defunct

  • query() is no longer exported. It hasn’t been useful for a while so this shouldn’t break any code.

Verb-level SQL generation

  • Partial evaluation occurs immediately when you execute a verb (like filter() or mutate()) rather than happening when the query is executed (#2370).

  • mutate.tbl_sql() will now generate as many subqueries as necessary so that you can refer to variables that you just created (like in mutate with regular dataframes) (#2481, #2483).

  • SQL joins have been improved:

    • SQL joins always use the ON ... syntax, avoiding USING ... even for natural joins. Improved handling of tables with columns of the same name (#1997, @javierluraschi). They now generate SQL more similar to what you’d write by hand, eliminating a layer or two of subqueries (#2333)

    • [API] They now follow the same rules for including duplicated key variables that the data frame methods do, namely that key variables are only kept from x, and never from y (#2410)

    • [API] The sql_join() generic now gains a vars argument which lists the variables taken from the left and right sides of the join. If you have a custom sql_join() method, you’ll need to update how your code generates joins, following the template in sql_join.generic().

    • full_join() throws a clear error when you attempt to use it with a MySQL backend (#2045)

  • group_by() can now perform an inline mutate for database backends (#2422).

  • The SQL generation set operations (intersect(), setdiff(), union(), and union_all()) have been considerably improved.

    By default, the component SELECT are surrounded with parentheses, except on SQLite. The SQLite backend will now throw an error if you attempt a set operation on a query that contains a LIMIT, as that is not supported in SQLite (#2270).

    All set operations match column names across inputs, filling in non-matching variables with NULL (#2556).

  • rename() and group_by() now combine correctly (#1962)

  • tbl_lazy() and lazy_tbl() have been exported. These help you test generated SQL with out an active database connection.

  • ungroup() correctly resets grouping variables (#2704).

Vector-level SQL generation

  • New as.sql() safely coerces an input to SQL.

  • New ident_q() makes it possible to specifier identifiers that do not need to be quoted.

  • Translation of inline scalars:

    • Logical values are now translated differently depending on the backend. The default is to use “true” and “false” which is the SQL-99 standard, but not widely support. SQLite translates to “0” and “1” (#2052).

    • Inf and -Inf are correctly escaped

    • Better test for whether or not a double is similar to an integer and hence needs a trailing 0.0 added (#2004).

    • Quoting defaults to DBI::dbEscapeString() and DBI::dbQuoteIdentifier() respectively.

  • :: and ::: are handled correctly (#2321)

  • x %in% 1 is now correctly translated to x IN (1) (#511).

  • ifelse() and if_else() use correct argument names in SQL translation (#2225).

  • ident() now returns an object with class c("ident", "character"). It no longer contains “sql” to indicate that this is not already escaped.

  • is.na() and is.null() gain extra parens in SQL translation to preserve correct precedence (#2302).

  • [API] log(x, b) is now correctly translated to the SQL log(b, x) (#2288). SQLite does not support the 2-argument log function so it is translated to log(x) / log(b).

  • nth(x, i) is now correctly translated to nth_value(x, i).

  • n_distinct() now accepts multiple variables (#2148).

  • [API] substr() is now translated to SQL, correcting for the difference in the third argument. In R, it’s the position of the last character, in SQL it’s the length of the string (#2536).

  • win_over() escapes expression using current database rules.


  • copy_to() now uses db_write_table() instead of db_create_table() and db_insert_into(). db_write_table.DBIConnection() uses dbWriteTable().

  • New db_copy_to(), db_compute() and db_collect() allow backends to override the entire database process behind copy_to(), compute() and collect(). db_sql_render() allow additional control over the SQL rendering process.

  • All generics whose behaviour can vary from database to database now provide a DBIConnection method. That means that you can easily scan the NAMESPACE to see the extension points.

  • sql_escape_logical() allows you to control the translation of literal logicals (#2614).

  • src_desc() has been replaced by db_desc() and now dispatches on the connection, eliminating the last method that required dispatch on the class of the src.

  • win_over(), win_rank(), win_recycled(), win_cumulative(), win_current_group() and win_current_order() are now exported. This should make it easier to provide customised SQL for window functions (#2051, #2126).

  • SQL translation for Microsoft SQL Server (@edgararuiz)

Minor bug fixes and improvements

  • collect() once again defaults to return all rows in the data (#1968). This makes it behave the same as as.data.frame() and as_tibble().

  • collect() only regroups by variables present in the data (#2156)

  • collect() will automatically LIMIT the result to the n, the number of rows requested. This will provide the query planner with more information that it may be able to use to improve execution time (#2083).

  • common_by() gets a better error message for unexpected inputs (#2091)

  • copy_to() no longer checks that the table doesn’t exist before creation, intead preferring to fall back on the database for error messages. This should reduce both false positives and false negative (#1470)

  • copy_to() now succeeds for MySQL if a character column contains NA (#1975, #2256, #2263, #2381, @demorenoc, @eduardgrebe).

  • copy_to() now returns it’s output invisibly (since you’re often just calling for the side-effect).

  • distinct() reports improved variable information for SQL backends. This means that it is more likely to work in the middle of a pipeline (#2359).

  • Ungrouped do() on database backends now collects all data locally first (#2392).

  • Call dbFetch() instead of the deprecated fetch() (#2134). Use DBI::dbExecute() for non-query SQL commands (#1912)

  • explain() and show_query() now invisibly return the first argument, making them easier to use inside a pipeline.

  • print.tbl_sql() displays ordering (#2287) and prints table name, if known.

  • print(df, n = Inf) and head(df, n = Inf) now work with remote tables (#2580).

  • db_desc() and sql_translate_env() get defaults for DBIConnection.

Lazy ops

  • [API] The signature of op_base has changed to op_base(x, vars, class)

  • [API] translate_sql() and partial_eval() have been refined:

    • translate_sql() no longer takes a vars argument; instead call partial_eval() yourself.

    • Because it no longer needs the environment translate_sql()_ now works with a list of dots, rather than a lazy_dots.

    • partial_eval() now takes a character vector of variable names rather than a tbl.

    • This leads to a simplification of the op data structure: dots is now a list of expressions rather than a lazy_dots.

  • [API] op_vars() now returns a list of quoted expressions. This enables escaping to happen at the correct time (i.e. when the connection is known).