Since you rarely want every database operation to create a new connection, there are two ways to reuse connections:

  • Grouping Operations using with-db-connection: If you don't want to deal with a connection pooling library, you use this macro to automatically open a connection and maintain it for a body of code.
  • Connection Pooling: This is the recommended approach and is fairly straightforward, with a number of connection pooling libraries available. See How To Use Connection Pooling below for more information.

Using with-db-connection

This macro provides the simplest way to reuse connections, without having to add a dependency on an external connection pooling library:

(ns dbexample
  (:require [ :as jdbc]))

(def db-spec ... ) ;; see above

(with-db-connection [db-con db-spec]
  (let [;; fetch some rows using this connection
        rows (jdbc/query db-con ["SELECT * FROM table WHERE id = ?" 42])]
    ;; insert a copy of the first row using the same connection
    (jdbc/insert! db-con :table (dissoc (first rows) :id))))

Using Connection Pooling

java.jdbc does not provide connection pooling directly but it is relatively easy to add to your project. There are several connection pooling libraries out there, but here we will provide instructions for the popular c3p0 library.

The basic idea is to add your chosen connection pooling library to your project, import the appropriate class(es), define a function that consumes a "database spec" and produces a map containing a :datasource key whose value is the constructed pooled DataSource object, then use that in place of your bare db-spec variable. You are responsible for creating the pooled data source object and passing the map containing it into any functions that need a database connection.

Using the c3p0 library

For more information on c3p0, consult the c3p0 documentation.

If you're using Leiningen, you can add the following to your dependencies:

[com.mchange/c3p0 ""]  ;; check the documentation for latest version

For a Maven-based project, you would add:


Create the pooled datasource from your db-spec

Define your db-spec as usual, for example (for MySQL):

(def db-spec
  {:classname "com.mysql.jdbc.Driver"
   :subprotocol "mysql"
   :subname "//"
   :user "myaccount"
   :password "secret"})

Import the c3p0 class as part of your namespace declaration, for example:

(ns example.db
  (:import com.mchange.v2.c3p0.ComboPooledDataSource))

Define a function that creates a pooled datasource:

(defn pool
  (let [cpds (doto (ComboPooledDataSource.)
               (.setDriverClass (:classname spec))
               (.setJdbcUrl (str "jdbc:" (:subprotocol spec) ":" (:subname spec)))
               (.setUser (:user spec))
               (.setPassword (:password spec))
               ;; expire excess connections after 30 minutes of inactivity:
               (.setMaxIdleTimeExcessConnections (* 30 60))
               ;; expire connections after 3 hours of inactivity:
               (.setMaxIdleTime (* 3 60 60)))]
    {:datasource cpds}))

Now you can create a single connection pool:

(def pooled-db (delay (pool db-spec)))

(defn db-connection [] @pooled-db)

And then call (db-connection) wherever you need access to it. If you're using a component lifecycle for your application, you won't need pooled-db or db-connection. You'll just create (pool db-spec) as part of your application's initialization and pass it around as part of your system configuration.