How to add support for a new SQLAlchemy dialect

This guide will help you extend the Great Expectations execution layer to work on a new SQL dialect.


This guide is a working checklist. We improve it each time we add support for a new SQL dialect, but it still has rough edges. And adding support for a new database will probably never be a cookie-cutter operation.

If you’re interested in extending Great Expectations in this way, please reach out on Slack in the #contributors-contributing channel, and we’ll work with you to get there.


1. Install and document dependencies

  • Install the python dependencies for your dialect. While you’re at it, please add a line(s) to requirements-dev-sqlalchemy.txt. Examples:

  • Install any necessary drivers. sqlalchemy requires special drivers for some databases. If yours is one of them, please carefully document the steps .

  • If possible, add docker containers for test resources. (You can find examples of similar containers in assets/docker/.) Otherwise, please document the steps to set up a suitable test environment.

The core team will not be able to merge your contribution until they’re able to replicate your setup.

2. Make changes to

  • At the top the file, add a try-except block

        import pyhive.sqlalchemy_presto as presto
    except ImportError:
        presto = None
  • In SqlAlchemyDataset.__init__, add an elif clause

    elif == "presto":
        self.dialect = import_module("pyhive.sqlalchemy_presto")
  • In SqlAlchemyDataset.create_temporary_table, add an elif clause

    elif ( == "awsathena"
      or == "presto"):
        stmt = "CREATE OR REPLACE TABLE {table_name} AS {custom_sql}".format(
            table_name=table_name, custom_sql=custom_sql)
  • Review SqlAlchemyDataset methods starting with _get_dialect_

    Methods like _get_dialect_type_module and _get_dialect_regex_expression allow you to customize their behavior to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of specific databases. In some cases, the methods specify defaults that will work for most SQL engines. In other cases, you’ll need to implement custom logic. In either case, you need to verify that they behave properly for your dialect.

3. Make changes to

  • In pytest_addoption, add an option

        help="If set, suppress tests against presto",
  • In build_test_backends_list_v2_api, add a variable and if clause

    no_presto = metafunc.config.getoption("--no-presto")
    if not no_presto:
        presto_conn_str = "presto://[email protected]/memory/test_ci"
            engine = sa.create_engine(presto_conn_str)
            conn = engine.connect()
        except (ImportError, sa.exc.SQLAlchemyError):
            raise ImportError(
                "presto tests are requested, but unable to connect to the presto database at "
        test_backends += ["presto"]
  • In the sa fixture method, add your test_backend to the list of backends

    if "postgresql" not in test_backends and "sqlite" not in test_backends and "presto" not in test_backends:
  • For each of the test datasets, add a schema entry for the dialect.


    • In numeric_high_card_dataset : "presto": {"norm_0_1": "DOUBLE"},

    • In datetime_dataset : "presto": {"datetime": "TIMESTAMP"},

    • In dataset_sample_data : "presto": {"infinities": "DOUBLE", "nulls": "DOUBLE", "naturals": "DOUBLE"},

4. Make changes to tests/

  • Add a try-except clause to import dialect-specific types and map them to type names that will be used in test schema definitions.

        import sqlalchemy.types as sqltypes
        from pyhive.sqlalchemy_presto import presto as prestotypes
        from pyhive.sqlalchemy_presto import PrestoDialect as prestodialect
        PRESTO_TYPES = {
            "VARCHAR": sqltypes.VARCHAR,
            "TEXT": sqltypes.VARCHAR,
            "CHAR": sqltypes.CHAR,
            "DOUBLE": prestotypes.DOUBLE,
            "INTEGER": sqltypes.INTEGER,
            "SMALLINT": sqltypes.SMALLINT,
            "BIGINT": sqltypes.BIGINT,
            "DATETIME": sqltypes.TIMESTAMP,
            "TIMESTAMP": sqltypes.TIMESTAMP,
            "DATE": sqltypes.DATE,
            "FLOAT": prestotypes.DOUBLE,
            "BOOLEAN": prestotypes.BOOLEAN,
    except ImportError:
        PRESTO_TYPES = {}
  • In get_dataset, add an elif clause to build temporary datasets for testing. Note: some SQL backends require a schema. If so, this is also the right place to create a test schema, usually called test_ci.

    elif dataset_type == "presto":
        from sqlalchemy import create_engine
        engine = create_engine("presto://[email protected]/memory/test_ci", echo=False)
        conn = engine.connect()
        sql_dtypes = {}
        if (
            and "presto" in schemas
            and isinstance(engine.dialect, prestodialect)
            schema = schemas["presto"]
            sql_dtypes = {col: PRESTO_TYPES[dtype] for (col, dtype) in schema.items()}
            for col in schema:
                type_ = schema[col].lower()
                if type_ in ["integer", "smallint", "bigint"]:
                    df[col] = pd.to_numeric(df[col])
                elif type_ in ["float", "double"]:
                    df[col] = pd.to_numeric(df[col])
                elif type_ in ["timestamp", "datetime"]:
                    df[col] = pd.to_datetime(df[col]).dt.strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')
                elif type_ in ["varchar"]:
                    df[col] = df[col].astype(str)
        tablename = generate_test_table_name(dataset_id)
        conn.execute("CREATE SCHEMA IF NOT EXISTS test_ci")
        df.to_sql(name=tablename, con=conn, index=False)
        # Build a SqlAlchemyDataset using that database
        return SqlAlchemyDataset(
            tablename, engine=conn, profiler=profiler, caching=caching
  • Add your dialect to candidate_test_is_on_temporary_notimplemented_list_v2_api.

    def candidate_test_is_on_temporary_notimplemented_list_v2_api(context, expectation_type):
        if context in ["sqlite", "postgresql", "mysql", "presto"]:

5. Use tests to verify consistency with other databases

Since Great Expectations already has rich tests for Expectations, we recommend test-driven development when adding support for a new SQL dialect.

You can run the main dev loop with:

pytest --no-postgresql --no-spark tests/test_definitions/

You may need to add specific spot checks to text fixture JSON objects, such as: tests/test_definitions/column_map_expectations/expect_column_values_to_be_of_type.json

In some rare cases, you may need to suppress certain tests for your SQL backend. In that case, you can use the only_for or suppress_test_for flags in the test configs. However, we try very hard to avoid such cases, since they weaken the “works the same on all execution engines” principle of Great Expectations.

Once Expectation tests pass, make sure all the remaining tests pass:

pytest --no-postgresql --no-spark

4. Wrap up


This guide covers steps to add support for a new SQL dialect to SqlAlchemyDataset, and make it testable. To fully enable this SQL dialect in the Great Expectations ecosystem, you may also want to:

  • develop a Datasource for this dialect

  • develop a CLI integration for this dialect