Eager Loading

The Problem

Let's imagine a scenario where you are displaying a list of posts. You fetch the posts:

prc.posts = getInstance( "Post" ).limit( 25 ).get():

And start looping through them:

<cfoutput>
<h1>Posts</h1>
<ul>
<cfloop array="#prc.posts#" item="post">
<li>#post.getTitle()# by #post.getAuthor().getUsername()#</li>
</cfloop>
</ul>
</cfoutput>

When you visit the page, though, you notice it takes a while to load. You take a look at your SQL console and you've executed 26 queries for this one page! What?!?

Turns out that each time you loop through a post to display its author's username you are executing a SQL query to retreive that author. With 25 posts this becomes 25 SQL queries plus one initial query to get the posts. This is where the N+1 problem gets its name.

So what is the solution? Eager Loading.

Eager Loading means to load all the needed users for the posts in one query rather than separate queries and then stitch the relationships together. With Quick you can do this with one method call.

The Solution

with

You can eager load a relationship with the with method call.

prc.posts = getInstance( "Post" )
.with( "author" )
.limit( 25 )
.get();

with takes one parameter, the name of the relationship to load. Note that this is the name of the function, not the entity name. For example:

// Post.cfc
component extends="quick.models.BaseEntity" {
function author() {
return belongsTo( "User" );
}
}

To eager load the User in the snippet above you would call pass author to the with method.

getInstance( "Post" ).with( "author" ).get();

For this operation, only two queries will be executed:

SELECT * FROM `posts` LIMIT 25
SELECT * FROM `users` WHERE `id` IN (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ...)

Quick will then stitch these relationships together so when you call post.getAuthor() it will use the fetched relationship value instead of going to the database.

Nested Relationships

You can eager load nested relationships using dot notation. Each segment must be a valid relationship name.

// User.cfc
component extends="quick.models.BaseEntity" {
function country() {
return belongsTo( "User" );
}
}
getInstance( "Post" ).with( "author.country" );

You can eager load multiple relationships by passing an array of relation names to with or by calling with multiple times.

getInstance( "Post" ).with( [ "author.country", "tags" ] );

Constraining Eager Loaded Relationships

In most cases when you want to constrain an eager loaded relationship, the better approach is to create a new relationship.

// User.cfc
component {
function posts() {
return hasMany( "Post" );
}
function publishedPosts() {
return hasMany( "Post" ).published(); // published is a query scope on Post
}
}

You can eager load either option.

getInstance( "User" ).with( "posts" ).get();
getInstance( "User" ).with( "publishedPosts" ).get();

Occassionally that decision needs to be dynamic. For example, maybe you only want to eager load the posts created within a timeframe defined by a user. To do this, pass a struct instead of a string to the with function. The key should be the name of the relationship and the value should be a function. This function will accept the related entity as its only argument. Here is an example:

getInstance( "User" ).with( { "posts" = function( query ) {
} } ).latest().get();

If you need to load nested relationships with constraints you can call with in your constraint callback to continue eager loading relationships.

getInstance( "User" ).with( { "posts" = function( q1 ) {
return q1
.whereBetween( "published_date", rc.startDate, rc.endDate )
.with( { "comments" = function( q2 ) {
return q2.where( "body", "like", rc.search );
} } );
} } ).latest().get();

load

Finally, you can postpone eager loading until needed by using the load method on QuickCollection. load has the same function signature as with. QuickCollection is the object returned for all Quick queries that return more than one record. Read more about it in Collections.