PostgreSQL and Grails

Just a few notes on setting up Grails with PostgreSQL and PostgreSQL accounts for JDBC connections.

First you need to have postgreSQL installed. The install varies per OS. I'll let you figure that out since there's plenty of documentation on that part.

Next you need to set up your grails application to connect to the database.

Download a PostgreSQL JDBC driver and copy it into your applications lib folder, for example: myProject/lib/pg74.216.jdbc3.jar in my set up. I don't really need to talk about setting up an application from scratch or anything do I? You've all seen that enough times right?

Next, set up your data-source for using your PostgreSQL driver...

dataSource {
pooled = false
dbCreate = "create-drop" // one of 'create', 'create-drop','update'
url = "jdbc:postgresql://localhost:5432/grails"
driverClassName = "org.postgresql.Driver"
username = "grails"
password = "grails"

// NOTE: both of these dialects have worked for me. But some people
// recommend using the net.sf version and not the org.hibernate version.
// dialect = org.hibernate.dialect.PostgreSQLDialect // honestly, not sure what
dialect = net.sf.hibernate.dialect.PostgreSQLDialect // the difference is.


Right now, this configuration will promptly fail. There is no grails database and no grails user. Setting one up requires a little thinking. Obviously, we need to make the grails database first. Let's get that out of the way and move to the slightly more ... confusing ... stuff.

Setting up a database and user on a fresh install requires you to be the postgres user. This is the username created by the postgres installer that the postgres daemon runs under. I have no idea what my postgres user password is so this is how I run the postgres commands to create the grails user and database...

$ sudo su
# su postgres
> createuser -P grails
> createdb grails

... as the user postgres still, we set the grails user's password ...

> psql grails
grails=# ALTER ROLE grails WITH PASSWORD 'grails' \g
grails=# \q

... and this would be ready to go except that when we try to login as grails we get an authentication error.

By default Postgres uses the authentication system of the OS for determining the identity of the user. This could be a problem if you plan on having users other than your own username or jetty/jboss/nobody use your databases. Most likely you'll want different users depending on application. So we need to modify the postgres configuration files to allow for users other than the console users to login.

The configuration files are found in /var/lib/pgsql/data or other data directory depending on your specific setup. The file for controlling authentication policies is pg_hba.conf. It is pretty well documented on its own and by default the "method" for authentication is set to ident meaning that if I am username "fred" then I can only use the database as "fred" even if I'm running the application "grails".

So for local and host users to login as a password authenticated user we need to set the "method" to password instead. I've set my pg_hba.conf to read...
# "local" is for Unix domain socket connections only
local all all password sameuser
# IPv4 local connections:
host all all password sameuser
# IPv6 local connections:
host all all ::1/128 ident sameuser

... allowing a user from local host to login using a username and password pair. I restart postgres (as my own username not postgres)

$ sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql restart

... and now from my shell I can login as the grails user to the grails database...

$ psql -U grails grails
Password for user grails:

... and I supply the password grails and I'm logged in. That means this time when I start my grails project with grails run-app the grails user will authenticate and now my grails project can use postgres for development against the postgres database and we can work against postgres on our development machine.

Your whole Grails configuration file (as of Grails 1.1) should look like this

* The top dataSource holds configuration options for ALL
* environments... I'm presuming you want PostgreSQL in all
* your environments but you may want to use the default
* Hypersonic database in development and testing instead.
dataSource {
pooled = true
driverClassName = "org.postgresql.Driver"
// dialect = org.hibernate.dialect.PostgreSQLDialect
dialect = net.sf.hibernate.dialect.PostgreSQLDialect
hibernate {
// environment specific settings
environments {
development {
dataSource {
// one of 'create', 'create-drop','update'
dbCreate = "create-drop"
username = "dev"
password = "dev"
test {
dataSource {
dbCreate = "update"
driverClassName = "org.postgresql.Driver"
username = "tester"
password = "tester"
production {
dataSource {
dbCreate = "update"
username = "grails"
password = "grails"