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    TrivialDB is a lightweight key/value json storage with persistence. Conceptually, it's just a thin lodash wrapper around plain javascript objects; with the added bonus of doing versioned asynchronous writes on changes. Its on disk format is simply "json on disk"; basically the json version of the plain object, saved to a file on disk. This makes making hand edits not just possible, but simple.

    Use Case

    TrivialDB is intended for simple storage needs. It's in-process, small, and very, very fast. It takes almost nothing to get up and running with it, and it gives you an impressive amount of power, thanks to lodash chaining. I've found its a great fit for any personal project that needs to persist data. If you find yourself wanting to work with raw json files, it's a rather large improvement on writing your own loading/saving/querying logic.

    The one caveat to keep in mind is this: every database your work with is stored in memory. Since TrivialDB is in-process, you might run into the memory limits of node; before v12, on a 64 bit machine, this is 1.76GB by default. (You can increase this via --max_old_space_size=<size>.) In practice, however, this isn't actually that much of a limitation. Generally, you're working with a large amount of your data in memory anyway; your data sets can get relatively large before you even need to worry about this.

    In fact, the very popular nosql database Redis is in-memory. In their FAQ, they have this to say:

    In the past the Redis developers experimented with Virtual Memory and other systems in order to allow larger than RAM datasets, but after all we are very happy if we can do one thing well: data served from memory, disk used for storage. So for now there are no plans to create an on disk backend for Redis. Most of what Redis is, after all, is a direct result of its current design.

    In practice, I use TrivialDB to power a wiki that has thousands of printed pages worth of text, and the node process uses around 200mb, with the json being around 1mb on disk. For things like a blog, or user database, or session storage, or a preference system, TrivialDB will work for a long time before you need to move to something out of process.

    The one caveat to keep in mind is this: every database you work with is stored in memory. Since TrivialDB is in-process, you might run into the memory limits of node; (on versions before 0.12 there's a 1.4GB - 1.7GB limit). However, this isn't actually that much of a limitation. Generally, you're working with a large amount of your data in memory anyway; your data sets can get relatively large before you even need to worry about this.

    In-Browser Database

    One of the new and exciting use cases is that TrivialDB is now usable inside a browser! By default it will read/write JSON over REST, but you can easily change this to use IndexedDB or LocalStorage. You can even use a bundler like Browserify or Webpack to include the JSON directly, and have zero load time.

    This helps when developing static, "server-less" sites; you can have a development version that generates the JSON locally, commit it to git, and then have your static site generation simply include the new JSON files and push them out. Your client-side code can still work with TrivialDB as if it was a normal application.

    (For more information, please see the "Reading and Writing in a Browser" section.)

    Lodash Shoutout

    This entire project is made possible by the lodash project. If it wasn't for their hard work and the effort they put into building an amazing API, TrivialDB would not exist.


    Simply install with npm:

    $ npm install --save trivialdb

    TrivialDB API

    There are two concepts to remember with TrivialDB: namespaces and databases. A 'namespace' is, as it implies, just an isolated environment with a name. Inside a namespace, all database names must be unique. So, if you want to have to independent 'foobar' databases, you will need to have them in different namespaces.

    Databases, on the other hand, are the heart and soul of TrivialDB. As the name implies, they hold all your data. Database objects are the interesting ones, with the main API you will be working with in TrivialDB.

    Creating a namespace

    • ns(name, options) - creates or retrieves a TDBNamespace object.
      • alias: 'namespace'
    const trivialdb = require('trivialdb');
    // Create a namespace
    const ns1 = triviadb.ns('test-ns');
    // Create a namespace with some options
    const ns2 = triviadb.ns('test-ns', { dbPath: 'server/db' });
    // Create a database inside that namespace
    const db = ns1.db('test', { writeToDisk: false });

    Once you've created your namespace object, you can create or retrieve database instances from it, just like you can the main TrivialDB module.


    The options supported by the ns call are:

        basePath: "...", // The base path for all other paths to be relative to. (Defaults to the application's base directory.)
        dbPath: "..." // The path, relative to `basePath` to the root database folder. (Defaults to 'db'.)

    If you call ns passing in the name of an existing namespace, any options passed will be ignored.

    Creating a database

    • db(name, options) - creates or retrieves a database instance.
      • alias: 'database'
    const trivialdb = require('trivialdb');
    // Open or create a database
    const db = trivialdb.db('some_db');
    // Open or create a database, with options
    const db2 = trivialdb.db('some_db2', { writeToDisk: false });

    By default, when a new database is created, it will look for a file named 'some_db.json' inside the database folder. (By default this is '<application>/db'. You can control this path by setting the basePath or dbPath options of the namespace, or alternatively, the dbPath or rootPath options of the database.)

    You can request the same database multiple times, and get back the same instance (though any options passed on subsequent calls will be ignored). This allows you to request the database by name in different places in your code, and not worry about the two database instance fighting with each other.


    The options supported by the db call are:

        writeToDisk: true || false,  // Whether or not to persist the database to disk. (Default: `true`)
        loadFromDisk: true || false, // Whether or not to read the database in from disk on load. (Default: `true`)
        rootPath: "...",            // The path to a folder that will contain the persisted database json files. (Default: './')
        dbPath: "...", // The path, relative to the namespace's `basePath` to the root database folder. (Defaults to 'db'.)
        writeDelay: ...,            // A number in milliseconds to wait between writes to the disk. (Default: 0)
        prettyPrint: true || false,  // Whether or not the json on disk should be pretty printed. (Default: `true`)
        pk: "...",                  // The field in the object to use as the primary key. (Default: `undefined`)
        idFunc: function(){...}     // The function to use to generate unique ids.

    If you call db passing in the name of an existing namespace, any options passed will be ignored.

    Namespace API

    Namespaces have exactly one function, db, which works exactly like the TrivialDB function for creating a database. (see above.)

    Database API

    TrivialDB database objects have two APIs, one synchronous, the other asynchronous (Promise based). The synchronous API is significantly faster, but it does not trigger syncing to disk, and should be considered a 'dirty' form of reading and writing. In the future, TrivialDB may get the ability to support multiple processes sharing the same file, and at that time, the synchronous API will be a truly dirty API, with the values often being out of date. (See the more in depth discussion in each relevant section below.)


    The database object has the following properties:

    • name - The name given to the database. (Also the filename, minus extension.)
    • count - The number of keys in the database.
    • path - The full path to the backing file, assuming it writes to disk.
    • rootPath - The full path to the folder for the database (aka path minus the filename).
    • loading - A promise that is resolved once the initial data is loaded.

    Database Options

    There are some options that deserve further details.

    Custom ID Generation

    If you want to generate your own ids, and not use the ids TrivialDB generates by default, you can specify your own function in the database options. By specifying idFunc, TrivialDB will use this function to generate all ids, when needed. The idFunc function is passed the object, so you can generate ids based on the object's content, if you wish. (An example of this would be generating a slug from an article's name.)

    function slugify(article)
            .replace(/\s+/g, '-')
            .replace(/[^\w\-]+/g, '')
            .replace(/\-\-+/g, '-')
            .replace(/^-+/, '')
            .replace(/-+$/, '');
    } // end slugify
    // Declare a new database, using the slugify function above.
    const db = trivialdb.db("articles", { writeToDisk: false, idFunc: slugify });
    // Now, we save an object{ name: "TrivialDB: now with id generation functions!", body: "Read the title, dude." })
            // This prints the id: 'trivialdb-now-with-id-generation-functions'.
            console.log('id:', id);

    Be careful; it is up to you to ensure your generated ids are unique. Additionally, if your generation function blows up, TrivialDB may return some nonsensical errors. (This may improve in the future.)

    readFunc and writeFunc

    You can override the built in underlying read and/or write functions. By default these will read/write from the disk (in node) or GET/POST to the specified path in the browser. You can, however, override them with any Promise returning function.

    • readFunc(path) - This function is passed the absolute path of the file as path. The rootDir will be / on browser, or the root directory of the running node process. This function must return a Promise. The promise's return value is ignored.
    • writeFunc(path, jsonStr) - This function is passed the absolute path of the file as path, and the json string representation of the database as jsonStr. The rootDir will be / on browser, or the root directory of the running node process. This function must return a Promise. The promise's return value is ignored.


    As long as loadFromDisk (or writeToDisk) is not set to false, TrivialDB will attempt to load a database when you first call .db(). Sometimes, you need to wait for the datbase to be loaded before doing operations. This is why we provide a loading promise on the db object. Waiting for the database to be done is very simple:

    // This could declare a new DB, or it could be pulling an existing one from the cache.
    const db = trivialdb.db("articles");
    // This will execute once the db is loaded. If it is already loaded, we resolve instantly.
    db.loading.then(() =>

    It's worth mentioning that the loading promise is always available, even if disk operations will not be performed. This means you can always wait on the loading promise, without knowing details about how the database is configured.

    loaded event

    If you don't want to use the loading promise, there is also a loaded event that is always fired off once the database has finished loading. This event does still fire if there's no disk operations to do.

    // This could declare a new DB, or it could be pulling an existing one from the cache.
    const db = trivialdb.db("articles");
    // This will execute once the db is loaded. If it is already loaded, **this will never fire.**
    db.on('loading', () =>

    Note: Due to the nature of events, if the database has already loaded, listening for the loaded event will never trigger. There is no way to know, other than to call db.loading.isPending(), at which point you should probably just use the promise directly.

    Reading and Writing in a Browser

    By default, in node, TrivialDB will attempt to read and write using the fs library. The path will be relative to the project's absolute path. However, in a browser, we can't use fs. So, instead, we use the fetch api to make REST calls. The path is relative to /, and will look something like /db/namespace/some_db.json.

    For loading the database, it will make a GET request, and for writing, it will make a POST request. If you need to do something different, like using PUT or maybe transmitting data over websockets, simply override the readFunc and/or writeFunc options in the configuration.

    Key/Value API

    The synchronous API follows a scheme of get, set, del. Primarily, these functions work with the internal memory store directly, meaning that in the case of set or del, thier changes will not be persisted until something else triggers a write to disk. If you have set writeToDisk to false, then you can use these APIs without any concern at all.

    The asynchronous API follows a scheme of load, save, remove. These functions are always considered safe; they will not resolve their promises until after the changes have been successfully saved to disk. (They will, however, modify the data immediately, so dirty reads/writes may occur while the safe read/write is pending, and it will get the updated value.)

    It should be noted that currently, get and load are only differentiated by the fact that load returns a promise. In the future, load may be modified to sync from disk, allowing for multiple processes to write to the same json file. This is important to keep in mind, as get is a very popular function, if you are in a multiprocess scenario in the future, it may return stale values. As such, it should be considered a dirty read.

    Retrieving Values

    • Synchronous
      • get(key, defaultVal) - Returns the value stored under keyor undefined.
    • Asynchronous
      • load(key) - Returns a promise resolved to the value or throws DocumentNotFoundError.
    // Get an object synchronously
    const val = db.get('my_key');
    // Get an object synchronously, with a default value
    const val2 = db.get('does_not_exist', 'default');
    // Get an object asynchronously
            // Work with `val` here
    // Get an object asynchronously, with a default value
    db.load('does_not_exist', 'default')
         // val is equal to 'default'
    // Get an object asynchronously that doesn't exist
         // Will never get here
        .catch(trivialdb.errors.DocumentNotFound, function(error)
            // Handle the error.

    TrivialDB only supports direct retrieval by a single string identifier. If a value for that key is not found, undefined will be returned for get (This mirrors the direct use of objects in JavaScript); additionally, we allow you to pass in a default value, which will be returned if the key is not found. This is not supported on load, however, as load is intended to return you exactly what is in the database at this moment. If you attempt to use load to get a document that does not exist, it will throw a DocumentNotFoundError object. This allows you to do traditional promise error handling, as opposed to using if(result === undefiend).

    Storing Values

    • Synchronous
      • set(value) - Returns a generated key.
      • set(key, value) - Returns key.
    • Asynchronous
      • save(value) - Returns a promise resolved with a generated key.
      • save(key, value) - Returns a promise resolved with key.
    // Store a value
    const id = db.set({ name: 'foo' });
    // Store a value with a specific key
    db.set('foo', { name: 'foo' });
    // Overwrite the previous value
    db.set('foo', { name: 'bar' });
    // Asynchronously store a value{ name: 'foo' })
            // Work with 'id' here.

    All values in TrivialDB are stored under a key. They may be objects, or primitive types. If you do not pass in a key, TrivialDB will generate one for you. (The autogenerated keys are base62 encoded uuids, basically the same algorithm use by url shorteners.) In the event you do not pass a key, your will need to look at the return value to know how to retrieve your objects.

    If you specify a key, it is up to you to ensure it's unique. TrivialDB will silently overwrite any previous value.

    TrivialDb supports the pk option for setting a primary key. Keys are always added if your value is an object, but with the pk options, you can control what field it is stored under. (By default, it's id.)

    Removing Values

    • Synchronous
      • del(predicate) - Returns a list of removed values.
    • Asynchronous
      • remove(predicate) - Returns a promise resolved with a list of removed values.

    Removing values works off a lodash predicate, must like filter. This allows for removing multiple documents at the same time. However, if you only wish to remove one, you will need to pass in an object that selects your primary key, for example:{ id: 'my_key' }.

    Deleting the database
    • clear() - Returns a promise resolved once the database is considered 'settled'.

    In addition to removing an individual key, you can clear the entire database. This always syncs to disk.

    Query API

    Instead of exposing a large, complex Query API, TrivialDB exposes lodash chain objects, allowing you to perform lodash queries to filter and manipulate your data in any way you want. As this uses lazy evaluation, it's fast and efficient even on large datasets.

    Note: TrivialDB currently uses explicit chaining, meaning that you must always use .run()/.value(). Please check the docs to understand the full implications of this.

    Basic Filtering

    • filter(predicate) - Returns the values that match the predicate.
    // Simple object filter
    const vals = db.filter({ foo: 'bar!' });
    // Function filter
    const vals2 = db.filter(function(value, key)
        // Decide if you want this object
        return === 'bar!';

    TrivialDB has a simple filter function for when you just want a lodash filter. It works as you would expect, filtering all items in the database by the predicate you passed in.

    Advanced Queries

    • query() - Returns a lodash chain object, wrapped around all values in the database.
    // Query for all admins, sorting by created date
    const items = db.query()
        .filter({ admin: true })
    // Find the most recently created user
    const latestUser = db.query()

    This exposes a lodash chain object, which allows you to run whatever lodash queries you want. It clones the database's values, so feel free to make any modifications you desire; you will not affect the data in the database.

    Note: As you can see from our example, we execute the query with .run(). This alias was removed in Lodash 4. We jump through a few hoops to extend the prototype of the individual chain object to add this back in there; this should not leak into the global lodash module. Why did we do this? Because I like the semantics of .run(), dammit.


    • reload() - Returns a promise resolved once the database has been reloaded from disk.

    If you need to reload your database for any reason (such as hand-edited JSON files), you can reload the database from disk with the reload() function. This is the same function that is used to load from disk initially.

    This function resets the loading promise, and emits a loaded event once complete.

    Note: This will throw an exception on any database with loadFromDisk: false.

    Note: This will completely throw away all values from in memory. If saving is not settled, changes may be lost.

    Direct Access

    • sync() - Returns a promise resolved once the database is considered 'settled'.

    You can directly access the key/value store with the values property on the database instance. This is exposed explicitly to allow you as much freedom to work with your data as you might want. However, TrivialDB can't detect any changes you make directly, so you will need to call the sync function to get your changes to persist to disk.

    // Add a new key manually
    db.values['foobar'] = { test: "something" };
    // Sync that new key to disk

    The sync function returns a promise that is resolved once the database has 'settled', as in, there are no more scheduled writes. Because of this behavior, you should consider whether or not you want to wait on its promise. Under high load, (or with a high writeDelay) it's possible for a sync promise's resolution to be considerably delayed.

    // Add a new key manually
    db.values['foobar'] = { test: "something" };
    // Sync that new key to disk
            // Sync is done, db is settled

    Also, you should feel free to iterate over the values object if you need to do any advanced filtering. All the same caveats of working with a plain javascript object apply. Just remember to call sync if you've made any modifications.


    With the release of v2.0.0, v1.x is no longer supported. Additionally, there were large, breaking API changes.

    TrivialDB is stable and production ready (for the intended use case). I will provide support for v2.x for the foreseeable future. I will even attempt to help with v1.x if you're using it in a production product, but I can't make any promises.

    If you are using this in a production product, please get in touch. Not only would I love to know, but if you need direct support, I'd be more than willing to discuss it.


    Since the code base is small enough, it's relatively immune to the most common forms of 'code rot'. I make improvements when they're needed, or if someone files an issue. Just because I haven't touched it in a year or two doesn't mean it's dead; if you're concerned, feel free to file an issue and ask if it's still being supported.


    While I only work on TrivialDB in my spare time (what little there is), I use it for several of my projects. I'm more than happy to accept merge requests, and/or any issues filed. If you want to fork it and improve part of the API, I'm ok with that too, however I ask you open an issue to discuss your proposed changes first. And, since it's MIT licensed, you can of course take the code and use it in your own projects.


    Donate $5

    I accept donations for my work. While this is not my primary means of income, by any stretch, I would not mind a few bucks if you find the software useful.


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