SQLAlchemy, MySQL and sql_mode=traditional

As everyone should know, by default MySQL is an embarassing stupid toy:

mysql> create table foo (val integer not null);
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.03 sec)

mysql> insert into foo values (1/0);
ERROR 1048 (23000): Column 'val' cannot be null

mysql> insert into foo values (1);
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> update foo set val=1/0 where val=1;
Query OK, 1 row affected, 1 warning (0.00 sec)
Rows matched: 1  Changed: 1  Warnings: 1

mysql> select * from foo;
| val |
|   0 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Luckily, you can tell it to stop being embarassingly stupid:

mysql> set sql_mode="traditional";
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> update foo set val=1/0 where val=0;
ERROR 1365 (22012): Division by 0

(There is an even better sql mode you can choose, though: it is called "Install PostgreSQL")

Unfortunately, I've been hired to work on a project that relies on the embarassing stupid behaviour of MySQL, so I cannot set sql_mode=traditional globally or the existing house of cards will collapse.

Here is how you set it session-wide with SQLAlchemy 0.6.x: it took me quite a while to find out:

import sqlalchemy.interfaces

# Without this, MySQL will silently insert invalid values in the
# database, causing very long debugging sessions in the long run
class DontBeSilly(sqlalchemy.interfaces.PoolListener):
    def connect(self, dbapi_con, connection_record):
        cur = dbapi_con.cursor()
        cur.execute("SET SESSION sql_mode='TRADITIONAL'")
        cur = None
engine = create_engine(..., listeners=[DontBeSilly()])

Why does it take all that effort is beyond me. I'd have expected this to be turned on by default, possibly with a switch that insane people could use to turn it off.