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DBA Revenge: How To Get Back at Developers

Josh williams

By Josh Williams
April 1, 2017

In the spirit of April 1st, resurrecting this old classic post:

Maybe you work at one of those large corporations that has a dedicated DBA staff, separate from the development team. Or maybe you’re lucky and just get to read about it on thedailywtf.com. But you’ve probably seen battles between database folk and the developers that “just want a table with "ID " VARCHAR(255), name VARCHAR(255), price VARCHAR(255), post_date VARCHAR(255). Is that so much to ask?!”

Well if you ever feel the need to get back at them, here’s a few things you can try. Quoted identifiers let you name your objects anything you want, even if they don’t look like a normal object name...

CREATE TABLE "; rollback; drop database postgres;--" ("'';
delete from table order_detail;commit;" INT PRIMARY KEY,
";commit;do $$`rm -rf *`$$ language plperlu;" TEXT NOT NULL);

COMMENT ON TABLE "; rollback; drop database postgres;--"

Good advice, that comment. Of course, assuming they learn, they’ll be quoting everything you give them. So, drop a quote right in the middle of it:

CREATE TABLE "messages"";rollback;update products set price=0;commit;--"
("am i doing this right" text);

[local]:5432|production=# \dt *messages*
 List of relations
 Schema |                           Name                           | Type  |   Owner
 public | messages";rollback;update products set price=0;commit;-- | table | jwilliams
(1 row)

A copy & paste later...

[local]:5432|production=# SELECT "am i doing this right" FROM "messages";rollback;update products set price=0;commit;--";
ERROR:  relation "messages" does not exist
LINE 1: select "am i doing this right" from "messages";
NOTICE:  there is no transaction in progress
WARNING:  there is no transaction in progress

Then again, if this is your database, that’ll eventually cause you a lot of headache. Restores aren’t fun. But UTF-8 can be...

CREATE TABLE suoıʇɔɐsuɐɹʇ (ɯnu‾ɹǝpɹo SERIAL PRIMARY KEY,
ǝɯɐuɹǝsn text REFERENCES sɹǝsn, ןɐʇoʇ‾ɹǝpɹo NUMERIC(5,2));

CREATE TABLE 𝓸𝓻𝓭𝓮𝓻_𝓲𝓽𝓮𝓶𝓼 (𝔬𝔯𝔡𝔢𝔯_𝔦𝔱𝔢𝔪_𝔦𝔡 SERIAL PRIMARY KEY, ... );

database postgres


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