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Upgrading to 0.17.0

dbt v0.17.0 makes compilation more consistent, improves performance, and fixes a number of bugs.


Notable changes#

Please be aware of the following changes in 0.17.0 that may require a code update in your dbt project.

A new dbt_project.yml config version#

dbt v0.17.0 introduces a new config version for the dbt_project.yml file. This new config version changes the semantics of how dbt interprets the dbt_project.yml file.

Specifying a config version#

A config version can be declared using the config-version key in the dbt_project.yml file:

name: my_projectversion: 1.0.0
config-version: 2
models:  ...

The accepted values for config-version are 1 and 2. When the config-version: 2 is used, some new functionality in dbt is unlocked.

Using config-version: 2#

Better variable scoping semantics#

Previous releases of dbt allowed variables (vars:) to be scoped to a folder level in the models: hierarchy. This presents a few problems:

  • The vars should only really be applied to models (as the variable declaration lives in the models: config), but variables are also often referenced in tests, schema.yml files, macros, snapshots, and so on.
  • There is an ambiguity in how variables are resolved in schema.yml files. Consider the case where a schema.yml file is scoped with one value for a variable, but the model it references is scoped with a different value for the same variable. The behavior of var() in this scenario is poorly defined, and often not what you would expect.

In version 2 of the dbt_project.yml config, vars must now be defined in a top-level vars: dictionary, eg:

name: my_projectversion: 1.0.0
config-version: 2
vars:  my_var: 1  another_var: true
models:  ...

This syntax makes variable scoping unambiguous, as all of the nodes in a given package will receive the same value for a given variable. Note that this syntax does still support package-level variable scoping. See the docs on the dbt_project.yml file syntax for more information.

Unambiguous resource configurations#

Version 1 of the dbt_project.yml file spec allowed for ambiguous model configurations when dictionary configs were defined in a models: block. Consider:

models:  my_project:    reporting:      partition_by:        field: date_day        data_type: timestamp

This example is intended to configure a partition_by setting for all of the BigQuery models in the models/reporting/ folder. From the syntax in this file alone though, there are two possible interpretations:

  • Configure the partition_by value for models in the models/reporting folder
  • Configure the field and data_type values for models in the models/reporting/partition_by folder

To resolve this ambiguity, configurations can now be supplied using the + syntax for config keys. For the example above, this would look like:


models:  my_project:    reporting:      +partition_by:        field: date_day        data_type: timestamp

This syntax unambiguously defines partition_by as a configuration with a dictionary value of {field: date_day, data_type: timestamp}. This + decorator can be used for any configuration, and can be helpful if you have a folder name that collides with a known dbt project config key. Example:

# Your model lives in models/materialized/my_model.sql
models:  my_project:    materialized:      +materialized: table

This configuration will work in dbt v0.17.0 when config-version: 2 is used, but was not possible to represent in previous versions of dbt.

Upgrading instructions#
  • Add config-version: 2 to your dbt_project.yml file
  • Ensure that all vars: declarations in your dbt_project.yml file have been moved to the top-level of the file
  • Ensure that any packages that your project references are also declared with config-version: 2

Support for version 1 will be removed in a future release of dbt.

NativeEnvironment rendering for yaml fields#

In dbt v0.17.0, dbt enabled use of Jinja's Native Environment to render values in YML files. This Native Environment coerces string values to their primitive Python types (booleans, integers, floats, and tuples). With this change, you can now provide boolean and integer values to configurations via string-oriented inputs, like environment variables or command line variables.

Heads up

In dbt v0.17.1, native rendering is not enabled by default. It is possible to natively render specific values using the as_bool, as_number, and as_native filters.

The examples below have been updated to reflect 0.17.1 functionality.

This example specifies a port number as an integer from an environment variable. This was not possible in previous versions of dbt.

debug:  target: dev  outputs:    dev:      type: postgres      user: "{{ env_var('DBT_USER') }}"      password: "{{ env_var('DBT_PASS') }}"      host: "{{ env_var('DBT_HOST') }}"
      # The port number will be coerced from a string to an integer      port: "{{ env_var('DBT_PORT') | as_number }}"
      dbname: analytics      schema: analytics

Finally, you can now enable or disable models conditionally based on the environment that dbt is running in. In this example, models in the admin package will be disabled in dev. This was not possible in previous versions of dbt.

name: my_projectversion: 1.0.0
config-version: 2
models:  my_project:    +enabled: true
  admin:    +enabled: "{{ ( == 'prod') | as_bool }}"

Accessing sources in the graph object#

In previous versions of dbt, the sources in a dbt project could be accessed in the compilation context using the graph.nodes context variable. In dbt v0.17.0, these sources have been moved out of the graph.nodes dictionary and into a new graph.sources dictionary. This change is also reflected in the manifest.json artifact produced by dbt. If you are accessing these sources programmatically, please update any references from graph.nodes to graph.sources instead.

BigQuery locations removed from Catalog#

As a workaround for permission issues encountered by many dbt users, the location field has been removed from the Catalog generated by dbt. Accordingly, this field will no longer be visible in the auto-generated dbt documentation website. This field may be re-added in a future release of dbt.

Macros no longer see variables defined outside of macro blocks#

In previous versions of dbt, a variable could be declared outside of the macro scope, and referenced from any macros in the same file:

{% set my_global = ['a', 'b', 'c'] %}{% macro use_my_global() %}    {% for value in my_global %}        {% do log('value: ' ~ value) %}    {% endfor %}{% endmacro %}

This is now an error, because my_global is not visible to the macro use_my_global. To provide a globally-available value, use a macro that returns a constant value:

{% macro get_my_global() %}    {% do return(['a', 'b', 'c']) %}{% endmacro %}{% macro use_my_global() %}    {% for value in get_my_global() %}        {% do log('value: ' ~ value) %}    {% endfor %}{% endmacro %}

Python requirements#

If you are installing dbt in a Python environment alongside other Python modules, please be mindful of the following changes to dbt's Python dependencies:


  • Pinned Jinja2 depdendency to 2.11.2
  • Pinned hologram to 0.0.7
  • Require Python >= 3.6.3


  • Require protobuf>=3.6.0,<3.12

New and changed documentation#