• Ecto: How to build dynamic fragments and case statements

I needed a way to create a dynamic case statement for an order_by/3 call in a Phoenix app using Ecto.

Take the following example:

order_by_lowest_amount(queryable, rates) do
  order_by(queryable, [x], fragment(
      WHEN ? = 'USD' THEN ? * ?
      WHEN ? = 'AUD' THEN ? * ?
      # ...
    x.currency, x.amount, ^Map.get(rates, :USD, 1),
    x.currency, x.amount, ^Map.get(rates, :AUD, 1),
    # ...)

As you can see I’ll need to write a very large fragment to cover all currencies in my app. So let’s refactor it!

We can use a macro to dynamically build the fragment which will make the code far more manageable:

defmacro lowest_amount_fragment_sql() do
  sql = Money.known_currencies()
  |> Enum.map(&"WHEN ? = '#{&1}' THEN ? * ?")
  |> Enum.join("\n")


defmacro lowest_amount_fragment(rates) do
  arguments = Money.known_currencies()
  |> Enum.map(&[(quote do: x.currency),
                (quote do: x.amount),
                (quote do: ^Map.get(unquote(rates), unquote(&1), 1)))])
  |> List.flatten()
  |> List.insert_at(0, lowest_amount_fragment_sql())

  quote do: fragment(unquote_splicing(arguments))

defp order_by_lowest_amount(queryable, rates) do
  order_by(queryable, [x], lowest_amount_fragment(rates))

You should always take care with macros, but this should give you a good idea of ways to use macros to help your build more complex queries. Happy coding!

The Author

Dan Schultzer is an active experienced entrepreneur, starting the Being Proactive groups, Dream Conception organization, among other things. You can find him at twitter

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