Sunday, March 27, 2011

Emacs + Vertica = vsql-mode

The other day it occurred to me that Vertica is grown up and therefore deserve its own emacs mode. Thus, I went and hacked together a bit of elisp (thank you 6.001) and voila! the vsql mode mode was born.

The emacs SQL mode lets a developer/vertica user connect and interact with a database from within emacs. Emacs ships with specializations for all the big databases (Oracle, SQLServer, Postgres, etc.) -- the vsql mode is a specialization for the Vertica client tool.

As a little back story: I am an avid (addicted?) emacs user, and as I get more and more entrenched in the editor I find it does more and more. I am often embarrassed, in fact, when someone asks me “how did you do x”, and I don't know. Typically I need to watch my hands as they recall the pattern from muscle memory to tell them. One mode I particularly like and use daily is the SQL mode and I have used the postgres mode for the last three years at Vertica (killer feature: C-c C-r) while developing the Vertica Optimizer. I can get away by symlinking vsql to psql because they behave similarly enough, but it was time for native vsql support.

To use:

Download vsql.el from github (

Add the following to your .emacs file (pointing at wherever you downloaded vsql.el):

;; vsql specific emacs SQL mode:
;; run via M-x sql-vertica
(load “vsql")

Invoke the mode with M-x sql-vertica

Tip: you can send sql text from other buffers to the *SQL* buffer via C-c C-r.

Things left to do: update the keywords list for the vertica specific SQL dialect, and maybe other stuff. Feel free to help out or tell me what would make it more useful


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