Auto Migration

Automatically migrate your schema, to keep your schema up to date.

NOTE: AutoMigrate will create tables, missing foreign keys, constraints, columns and indexes. It will change existing column’s type if its size, precision, nullable changed. It WON’T delete unused columns to protect your data.


db.AutoMigrate(&User{}, &Product{}, &Order{})

// Add table suffix when creating tables
db.Set("gorm:table_options", "ENGINE=InnoDB").AutoMigrate(&User{})

NOTE AutoMigrate creates database foreign key constraints automatically, you can disable this feature during initialization, for example:

db, err := gorm.Open(sqlite.Open("gorm.db"), &gorm.Config{
DisableForeignKeyConstraintWhenMigrating: true,

Migrator Interface

GORM provides a migrator interface, which contains unified API interfaces for each database that could be used to build your database-independent migrations, for example:

SQLite doesn’t support ALTER COLUMN, DROP COLUMN, GORM will create a new table as the one you are trying to change, copy all data, drop the old table, rename the new table

MySQL doesn’t support rename column, index for some versions, GORM will perform different SQL based on the MySQL version you are using

type Migrator interface {
// AutoMigrate
AutoMigrate(dst ...interface{}) error

// Database
CurrentDatabase() string
FullDataTypeOf(*schema.Field) clause.Expr

// Tables
CreateTable(dst ...interface{}) error
DropTable(dst ...interface{}) error
HasTable(dst interface{}) bool
RenameTable(oldName, newName interface{}) error
GetTables() (tableList []string, err error)

// Columns
AddColumn(dst interface{}, field string) error
DropColumn(dst interface{}, field string) error
AlterColumn(dst interface{}, field string) error
MigrateColumn(dst interface{}, field *schema.Field, columnType ColumnType) error
HasColumn(dst interface{}, field string) bool
RenameColumn(dst interface{}, oldName, field string) error
ColumnTypes(dst interface{}) ([]ColumnType, error)

// Views
CreateView(name string, option ViewOption) error
DropView(name string) error

// Constraints
CreateConstraint(dst interface{}, name string) error
DropConstraint(dst interface{}, name string) error
HasConstraint(dst interface{}, name string) bool

// Indexes
CreateIndex(dst interface{}, name string) error
DropIndex(dst interface{}, name string) error
HasIndex(dst interface{}, name string) bool
RenameIndex(dst interface{}, oldName, newName string) error


Returns current using database name



// Create table for `User`

// Append "ENGINE=InnoDB" to the creating table SQL for `User`
db.Set("gorm:table_options", "ENGINE=InnoDB").Migrator().CreateTable(&User{})

// Check table for `User` exists or not

// Drop table if exists (will ignore or delete foreign key constraints when dropping)

// Rename old table to new table
db.Migrator().RenameTable(&User{}, &UserInfo{})
db.Migrator().RenameTable("users", "user_infos")


type User struct {
Name string

// Add name field
db.Migrator().AddColumn(&User{}, "Name")
// Drop name field
db.Migrator().DropColumn(&User{}, "Name")
// Alter name field
db.Migrator().AlterColumn(&User{}, "Name")
// Check column exists
db.Migrator().HasColumn(&User{}, "Name")

type User struct {
Name string
NewName string

// Rename column to new name
db.Migrator().RenameColumn(&User{}, "Name", "NewName")
db.Migrator().RenameColumn(&User{}, "name", "new_name")

// ColumnTypes
db.Migrator().ColumnTypes(&User{}) ([]gorm.ColumnType, error)

type ColumnType interface {
Name() string
DatabaseTypeName() string // varchar
ColumnType() (columnType string, ok bool) // varchar(64)
PrimaryKey() (isPrimaryKey bool, ok bool)
AutoIncrement() (isAutoIncrement bool, ok bool)
Length() (length int64, ok bool)
DecimalSize() (precision int64, scale int64, ok bool)
Nullable() (nullable bool, ok bool)
Unique() (unique bool, ok bool)
ScanType() reflect.Type
Comment() (value string, ok bool)
DefaultValue() (value string, ok bool)


Create views by ViewOption. About ViewOption:

  • Query is a subquery, which is required.
  • If Replace is true, exec CREATE OR REPLACE otherwise exec CREATE.
  • If CheckOption is not empty, append to sql, e.g. WITH LOCAL CHECK OPTION.

NOTE SQLite currently does not support Replace in ViewOption

query := db.Model(&User{}).Where("age > ?", 20)

// Create View
db.Migrator().CreateView("users_pets", gorm.ViewOption{Query: query})
// CREATE VIEW `users_view` AS SELECT * FROM `users` WHERE age > 20

// Create or Replace View
db.Migrator().CreateView("users_pets", gorm.ViewOption{Query: query, Replace: true})
// CREATE OR REPLACE VIEW `users_pets` AS SELECT * FROM `users` WHERE age > 20

// Create View With Check Option
db.Migrator().CreateView("users_pets", gorm.ViewOption{Query: query, CheckOption: "WITH CHECK OPTION"})
// CREATE VIEW `users_pets` AS SELECT * FROM `users` WHERE age > 20 WITH CHECK OPTION

// Drop View
// DROP VIEW IF EXISTS "users_pets"


type UserIndex struct {
Name string `gorm:"check:name_checker,name <> 'jinzhu'"`

// Create constraint
db.Migrator().CreateConstraint(&User{}, "name_checker")

// Drop constraint
db.Migrator().DropConstraint(&User{}, "name_checker")

// Check constraint exists
db.Migrator().HasConstraint(&User{}, "name_checker")

Create foreign keys for relations

type User struct {
CreditCards []CreditCard

type CreditCard struct {
Number string
UserID uint

// create database foreign key for user & credit_cards
db.Migrator().CreateConstraint(&User{}, "CreditCards")
db.Migrator().CreateConstraint(&User{}, "fk_users_credit_cards")
// ALTER TABLE `credit_cards` ADD CONSTRAINT `fk_users_credit_cards` FOREIGN KEY (`user_id`) REFERENCES `users`(`id`)

// check database foreign key for user & credit_cards exists or not
db.Migrator().HasConstraint(&User{}, "CreditCards")
db.Migrator().HasConstraint(&User{}, "fk_users_credit_cards")

// drop database foreign key for user & credit_cards
db.Migrator().DropConstraint(&User{}, "CreditCards")
db.Migrator().DropConstraint(&User{}, "fk_users_credit_cards")


type User struct {
Name string `gorm:"size:255;index:idx_name,unique"`

// Create index for Name field
db.Migrator().CreateIndex(&User{}, "Name")
db.Migrator().CreateIndex(&User{}, "idx_name")

// Drop index for Name field
db.Migrator().DropIndex(&User{}, "Name")
db.Migrator().DropIndex(&User{}, "idx_name")

// Check Index exists
db.Migrator().HasIndex(&User{}, "Name")
db.Migrator().HasIndex(&User{}, "idx_name")

type User struct {
Name string `gorm:"size:255;index:idx_name,unique"`
Name2 string `gorm:"size:255;index:idx_name_2,unique"`
// Rename index name
db.Migrator().RenameIndex(&User{}, "Name", "Name2")
db.Migrator().RenameIndex(&User{}, "idx_name", "idx_name_2")


GORM creates constraints when auto migrating or creating table, see Constraints or Database Indexes for details

Atlas Integration

Atlas is an open-source database migration tool that has an official integration with GORM.

While GORM’s AutoMigrate feature works in most cases, at some point you many need to switch to a versioned migrations strategy.

Once this happens, the responsibility for planning migration scripts and making sure they are in line with what GORM expects at runtime is moved to developers.

Atlas can automatically plan database schema migrations for developers using the official GORM Provider. After configuring the provider you can automatically plan migrations by running:

atlas migrate diff --env gorm

To learn how to use Atlas with GORM, check out the official documentation.

Other Migration Tools

To use GORM with other Go-based migration tools, GORM provides a generic DB interface that might be helpful for you.

// returns `*sql.DB`

Refer to Generic Interface for more details.

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