Skip to content



Changelog files need to be runnable in a wide variety of environments, and therefore exactly where a file lives cannot be written into the changelog.

To separate the "where" a file is from the "what" file a changelog wants, Liquibase provides a "Search Path". The search path follows the same pattern as the "Classpath" or the "sys.path" in Python or the "module.paths" in NodeJS.

Each integration defines a list of base locations where Liquibase should look for file references. Each base location in the search path is a liquibase.resource.ResourceAccessor implementation. Liquibase ships with ResourceAccessors that know how to find files in directories and zip files, but ResourceAccessors can be created to read files from anywhere.

When a path like com/example/file.sql is referenced in a changelog, Liquibase will check each ResourceAccessor for that path to find the place(s) it can be found.

It is up to each integration to correctly set up the search path based on expected defaults and/or the user configuration.


A changelog file may include a "com/example/child.changelog.xml" file, or have a <sqlFile> tag with a path of "custom_proc.sql". That same changelog file reference may be run:

  • Via a CLI on Windows-based developer machines which each have their project directories stored in different locations
  • Via Maven on a Linux build server
  • Via Spring, reading the files from pre-built jar files

Compared to PathHandler

There are two styles of file access that Liquibase supports:

  • File references within changelog files which must remain consistent across environments are handled by the ResourceAccessor API
  • File references outside changelog files that point to environment-specific paths are handled by the liquibase.resource.PathHandler API

Standard Implementations

Liquibase ships with the following ResourceAccessor implementations, which can be used directly or extended as needed:

  • liquibase.resource.DirectoryResourceAccessor for files stored in a local directory
  • liquibase.resource.ZipResourceAccessor for files stored in a zip or jar file
  • liquibase.resource.ClassLoaderResourceAccessor for files stored in a Java classpath
  • liquibase.resource.CompositeResourceAccessor combines multiple ResourceAccessors
  • liquibase.resource.SearchPathResourceAccessor creates a composite ResourceAccessor using paths in the liquibase.searchPath setting

API Highlights


There is no priority for ResourceAccessors. They are either created explicitly by integrations or implicitly by a PathHandler.

Therefore, constructor(s) take required and/or common settings.

The search method is used by includeAll and other code which is looking to find files in a directory. The logic must respect the SearchOptions passed and should return the resources in an order that is expected by the user. Oftentimes this is in alphabetical order.


Returns a description of the places this ResourceAccessor will look for paths. Used in error messages and other troubleshooting cases.


Close any references managed by this ResourceAccessor. This can be a no-op if there is nothing kept open.

API Details

The complete javadocs for liquibase.resource.ResourceAccessor is available at

Extension Guides

The following guides provide relevant examples: