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Getting Started with Liquibase and Ant

Apache Ant is a Java library and command-line build tool for Java applications. Liquibase has a set of Ant tasks to automate your database changes at build time.

Note: Liquibase Ant tasks are implemented on the <database> type. For more information about the attributes you can configure for the <database> type, see Ant.

Install and Configure Ant

  1. Ensure you have installed Ant. To verify that Ant is installed, run ant -version at the command prompt. You will get the output that looks like Apache Ant(TM) version 1.10.11 compiled on July 10 2021. Liquibase Ant tasks require Ant 1.7.1 or later versions.
  2. Create a Liquibase project directory to store all Liquibase and Ant files.
  3. Create an Ant build file called build.xml to specify your configuration settings with tasks, targets, and dependencies. The build.xml file also lets you define the needed Liquibase properties. See the following build.xml example for a basic configuration.

    build.xml example

    <project name="liquibase-test" basedir="." xmlns:liquibase="antlib:liquibase.integration.ant">
    <!-- The "prepare" target configures the classpath and properties Liquibase will use during task execution.-->
    <!-- Liquibase targets must include a "depends" attribute to ensure the prepare target executes before the Liquibase task.-->
        <target name="prepare">
            <taskdef resource="liquibase/integration/ant/antlib.xml" uri="antlib:liquibase.integration.ant">
                   <classpath path="lib\liquibase.jar;lib\postgresql-42.2.18.jar"/>
    <!-- set global properties for Liquibase Tasks -->
    <!-- Liquibase properties can be referenced using a "${}" string replacement within a liquibase.database change.-->
            <property name="db.url" value="jdbc:postgresql://localhost:8080/example"/>
            <property name="db.user" value="user"/>
            <property name="db.pass" value="password"/>
            <property name="db.driver" value="org.postgresql.Driver"/>
            <!-- Alternatively, a database instance can be created and referenced with databaseref in a Liquibase task.-->
            <liquibase:database id="my-database" url="${db.url}" user="${db.user}" password="${db.pass}" driver="org.postgresql.Driver"/>
    <!-- Liquibase Tasks -->
        <!-- The updateDatabase target shows using the individual database connection properties.-->
            <target name="updateDatabase" depends="prepare">
                  <liquibase:updateDatabase  changeLogFile="com/example/changelog.sql">
                  <liquibase:database driver="${db.driver}" url="${db.url}"  user="${db.user}"  password="${db.pass}"/>
  4. Include Liquibase in your Ant classpath and load it by adding the <taskdef> task in the build.xml file:

    <project basedir="the/runtime/location/of/Ant" name="example" xmlns:liquibase="antlib:liquibase.integration.ant">
         <taskdef resource="liquibase/integration/ant/antlib.xml" uri="antlib:liquibase.integration.ant">
         <classpath path="the/path/to/the/liquibase.jar;the/path/to/the/driver.jar" />


    You can put the Liquibase JAR in your ANT_HOME/lib folder.

Create the Liquibase Changelog

  1. Create a text file called changelog.sql in your Liquibase project directory. Liquibase also supports the .xml, .yaml, or .json changelog formats.
  2. Add changesets to your changelog file. Use the following examples depending on the format of the changelog you created:

  3. Create a text file called changelog (.xml, .sql, .json, or .yaml) in your project directory and add a changeset.

    If you already created a changelog using the init project command, you can use that instead of creating a new file. When adding onto an existing changelog, be sure to only add the changeset and to not duplicate the changelog header.

    -- liquibase formatted sql
    -- changeset my_name:1
    CREATE TABLE test_table 
      test_id INT, 
      test_column INT, 
      PRIMARY KEY (test_id)

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
      <changeSet id="1" author="my_name">
        <createTable tableName="test_table">
          <column name="test_id" type="int">
            <constraints primaryKey="true"/>
          <column name="test_column" type="INT"/>

      - changeSet:
        id: 1
        author: my_name
        - createTable:
          tableName: test_table
          - column:
            name: test_column
              type: INT
                primaryKey:  true
                nullable:  false

      "databaseChangeLog": [
          "changeSet": {
            "id": "1",
            "author": "my_name",
            "changes": [
                "createTable": {
                  "tableName": "test_table",
                  "columns": [
                      "column": {
                        "name": "test_column",
                        "type": "INT",
                        "constraints": {
                          "primaryKey": true,
                          "nullable": false

  4. Navigate to your project folder in the CLI and run the Liquibase status command to see whether the connection is successful:

    liquibase status --username=test --password=test --changelog-file=<changelog.xml>


    You can specify arguments in the CLI or keep them in the Liquibase properties file.

    If your connection is successful, you'll see a message like this:

    1 changeset has not been applied to <your_jdbc_url>
    Liquibase command 'status' was executed successfully.
  5. Inspect the SQL with the update-sql command. Then make changes to your database with the update command.

    liquibase update-sql --changelog-file=<changelog.xml>
    liquibase update --changelog-file=<changelog.xml>

    If your update is successful, Liquibase runs each changeset and displays a summary message ending with:

    Liquibase: Update has been successful.
    Liquibase command 'update' was executed successfully.
  6. From a database UI tool, ensure that your database contains the test_table you added along with the DATABASECHANGELOG table and DATABASECHANGELOGLOCK table.

Now you're ready to start making deployments with Liquibase!

Deploy the changes to a database

  1. Execute the updateDatabase task by including the values in your Ant build.xml file:

    <target name="updateDatabase" depends="prepare">
        <liquibase:updateDatabase changeLogFile="com/example/changelog.sql">
        <liquibase:database driver="org.postgresql.Driver" 
  2. Run the following in the CLI to implement the task and update your database:

    ant -f build.xml updateDatabase

After your first update, you will see a new table along with the DATABASECHANGELOG table and DATABASECHANGELOGLOCK table added to the database.