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1.2.5 • Public • Published


Save your environment variables in Google Cloud Datastore


  • Loads variables from your Datastore into an object storing them as key value pairs
  • (Optionally) Merges the variables into process.env to save rewriting code
  • Can automatically generate a list of required variables from your .env file
  • Fails fast when one or more required environment variables is missing from your configuration
  • Creates placeholders in your datastore for missing variables so you just need fill them with the correct value
  • Initialise the datastore config from an existing .env file

Based on this Python Gist

This is useful for migrating projects that make heavy use of .env to Google Cloud if you don't want to refactor code and don't want API keys, etc stored in your app.yaml

NB: If you use a .env file, you must still use a tool like dotenv to load those variables into process.env.


Up until recently, google cloud didn't support a convenient way of storing environment variables except hardcoding them in files that were likely to go into source control.

datastore-env was created as a simple way to bootstrap applications that were already heavily dependent on process.env into the google cloud environment.

Even though environment variables are now supported, this provides some nifty conveniences.

Getting Started

npm install --save datastore-env
# Generate a list of required environment variables 
npm run env -- datastore-env generate:required -i .env -o config/requiredEnv.js

Then in your application

const DatastoreEnvironment = require('datastore-env');
// File generated above
const envVars = require('./config/requiredEnv.js');
const options = {
  namespace, // Namespace for datastore
  projectId, // Defaults to the value of process.env.PROJECT_ID
  path // Path to prepend to variable names when reading/writing to datastore
  optional: envVars.optional, // Load these variables from the datastore
  required: envVars.required, // Load these variables and raise exception if not present
  // Default settings if a variable is missing
  defaults: {},
  requireDatastore: false, // Should an exception be raised if cannot connect to datastore (default: false)
const env = new DatastoreEnvironment(options);
// Load all required keys into process.env
// If some keys are not set, will throw an exception indicating which ones
// and suggest a URL to visit to set them
await env.loadEnvironment();
// OR if you only want to load the settings but not merge them with process.env
const settings = env.verifyEnvironment()

A note on migrating from dotenv

dotenv runs synchronously, loadEnvironment, as it's querying a database is asynchronous. If you wish to wait on this without restructuring a lot of code, you could make use of something like deasync. NOTE: The original author of this generally advises against using it, so don't make it a habbit ;-)


const deasync = require('deasync');
// Wrap loadEnvironment in a node callback style
function asyncLoad(cb) {
    env.loadEnvironment().then(() => cb()).catch(cb);
// This will block until loadEnvironment has finished

Generating Required Variables

The command npm run env -- datastore-env gen:required -i .env -o config/requiredEnv.js will generate your list of required variables that will be loaded from the datastore settings. This script can be used as part of a build process to automatically add new keys. The script generates the list from a .env file

Some variables may be optional, you can mark them by placing a comment above that starts with "optional"

# optional Define the color for the background 

BG_COLOR will be added to the list of optional variables

If you wish to omit some variables entirely in .env you can put a comment on the line before that starts with

# datastore-env-ignore For development only 

To ignore all entries after a certain line, use

# datastore-env-ignore-all 

Initialising your Datastore

You can initialise your datastore from a .env file by calling

npm run env -- datastore-env upload:env -i .env

This script will upload the contents of the selected .env file to your datastore

By default the script will NOT overwrite existing keys, and will skip upload any required or optional keys in your .env file (using the same indicators in comments as when Generating required variables (see above).

You can alter the behaviour by using the command line arguments --overwrite or --include=all|required|optional respectively.

Running Locally

There are 3 ways you can use and test this library when running locally.

  1. No datastore (Simplest, but doesn't mirror production)
  2. Datastore emulator (Fast, and mirrors production)
  3. Connect to cloud datastore (Slow)

No Datastore

If it is not possible to connect to datastore, datastore-env will continue without (ie it will just use environment variables and defaults).

Datastore emulator

You can run the Google Cloud Datastore Emulator locally:

Connect to Cloud Datastore

Connect to one of your Cloud Datastore's by setting the environment variable GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS to the path of a json credentials file with access to the service.

Learn more about getting a credentials file at:


Contributions are welcome. Please submit a pull request and include tests.

Please follow the coding style in .editorconfig and .eslintrc.

Contributions should pass npm test && npm run lint (see below on testing)


  1. Install the Google Datastore Emulator
  2. In one terminal run npm run datastore
  3. Copy the export command to another terminal window, eg export DATASTORE_EMULATOR_HOST=localhost:8081
  4. Run npm test


npm i datastore-env

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