Drupal and Drush: Updating the database from the command-line

So now that we’re doing all our configuration changes in source code, it makes sense to automate database updates as much as I can. Here’s something I’ve added to drush_tools so that I can run all the schema changes from the command-line:

function drush_tools_update($command = '') {
  require_once 'includes/install.inc';
  require_once 'update.php';
  $ret = ob_get_contents();

  $list = module_list();
  $update_list = array();
  foreach ($list as $module) {
    $updates = drupal_get_schema_versions($module);
    if ($updates !== FALSE) {
      $latest = 0;
      $base = drupal_get_installed_schema_version($module);
      foreach ($updates as $update) {
        if ($update > $base) {
          if ($update > $latest) { $latest = $update; }
          $update_list[$module][] = $update;
      if ($latest) {
        printf("%-30s %5d -> %5d (%s)\n", $module, $base, $latest, join(', ', $update_list[$module]));
      } else {
        printf("%-30s %5d\n", $module, $base);
  if (count($update_list) == 0) return;
  if ($command != 'force' && !drush_confirm(t('Do you really want to continue?'))) {
  foreach ($update_list as $module => $versions) {
    foreach ($versions as $v) {
      print "Running " . $module . "_update_" . $v . "\n";
      update_data($module, $v);
  $updates = ob_get_contents();

  cache_clear_all('*', 'cache', TRUE);
  cache_clear_all('*', 'cache_page', TRUE);
  cache_clear_all('*', 'cache_menu', TRUE);
  cache_clear_all('*', 'cache_filter', TRUE);
  $output = '';
  if (!empty($_SESSION['update_results'])) {
    $output .= "The following queries were executed:\n";
    foreach ($_SESSION['update_results'] as $module => $updates) {
      $output .= "\n" . $module . "\n--------------------------\n";
      foreach ($updates as $number => $queries) {
        $output .= 'Update #'. $number . ":\n";
        foreach ($queries as $query) {
          if ($query['success']) {
            $output .= "SUCCESS: " . $query['query'] . "\n";
          else {
            $output .= "FAILURE: " . $query['query'] . "\n";
        if (!count($queries)) {
          $output .= "No queries\n";
    $output .= "\n";
    print $output;
  • http://www.eatsleepandcode.com Jason

    Thanks for this, I’ve wondered about how to do schema updates without having to switch to my browser, can’t wait to try it out!

  • Anonymouis

    This does not support multi-part updates.

  • http://growingventuresolutions.com greggles

    This is great news. Thanks for providing the code.

    There is an issue for this in the Drush issue queue http://drupal.org/node/194107

    Could you please post this as a patch to that? http://drupal.org/patch/create shows the style for Drupal patches.


  • http://drupal.org/moshe Moshe Weitzman

    Cool – but it does not handle batch API style update. See http://cvs.drupal.org/viewvc.py/drupal/contributions/docs/developer/examples/batch_example.install?revision=1.3&view=markup for an example (look for ‘sandbox’). yched made same comment at http://drupal.org/node/233091#comment-992365

  • http://christian.roy.name/ Christian Roy

    This code that Sacha wrote is for Drupal 5 only.
    It is my understanding that the batch api was introduced in drupal 6.

    I posted Sacha’s patch into the drush project for drush-1.4-5.x


    Since they are already working on a D6 and D7 version as a stand alone shell script, maybe this patch is not needed/wanted?

    • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

      Oh, that would be sweet! =D Even better way to do it.

  • Andreas Rydberg

    Hi Sacha.

    Thank you for you code. You seem to have inspired a lot of people with this, includeing me. I’ve used parts of you code to create a drush module for Drupal 6.x, which I’ve proposed to the drush-devs.

    Here is the link: http://drupal.org/node/366779