deprecate or rewrite mnesia:transaction/1

Ulf Wiger ulf.wiger@REDACTED
Mon Nov 30 15:24:17 CET 2009

It has irked me for some time that everyone keeps using
mnesia:transaction/1 instead of mnesia:activity/2.

The main problem with mnesia:transaction/1 is that it can't
be extended by changing activity modules. This means e.g. that
if you outgrow your disc_only tables, what would have been a
fairly simple operation to switch to fragmented tables (adding
an environment variable and making the necessary schema changes)
suddenly becomes a rewrite.

The problem is that while mnesia:activity/2 and mnesia:transaction/1
call the same internal function, mnesia:transaction/6, in the
former case, the environment variable -mnesia access_module is
checked, while in the latter case, the access module is hard-coded
to mnesia.erl.

Would it be a terrible violation to change mnesia:transaction/1
so that it also respects the access_module variable? I have come
to regard it as a misdirected case of backward compatibility,
or perhaps even an oversight that it doesn't already.

If there are strong reasons for keeping mnesia:transaction/1 as
it is, I vote for having it deprecated in favour of mnesia:activity/2,
or perhaps a shorter version:

atomic(F) -> transaction(F, _Args = [], _Retries = infinity,

...or something like that.

Ulf W
Ulf Wiger
CTO, Erlang Training & Consulting Ltd

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