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Using Knex

Knex Overview

Knex is a popular TypeScript query builder. It allows developers to construct SQL queries in native TypeScript. It also supports querying the database with raw SQL.

Getting Started

The default DBOS template application, used in the quickstart and programming guide uses Knex. To download it, run:

npx -y @dbos-inc/create@latest -t hello -n <app-name>

Then, build it, run schema migrations, and start the sample app:

npm run build
npx dbos migrate
npx dbos start

To see that it's working, visit this URL in your browser: http://localhost:3000/greeting/dbos. You should get this message: Hello, dbos! You have been greeted 1 times. Each time you refresh the page, the counter should go up by one.

Schema Management

We strongly recommend you manage your database schema using migrations. Knex provides rich native migration support, with documentation here.

You can create a new migration by running:

npx knex migrate:make <migration-name>

This will create a new migration file named migrations/<timestamp>_<migration-name>.js. You can implement your migration in this file. Here is a simple example from the programming guide of a migration that creates a greetings table with name and note text fields:

exports.up = function(knex) {
return knex.schema.createTable('greetings', table => {

exports.down = function(knex) {
return knex.schema.dropTable('greetings');

To run your migrations forward, run:

npx dbos migrate

Using Knex

When using DBOS, database operations are performed in transaction functions. Transaction functions must be annotated with the @Transaction decorator and must have a TransactionContext<Knex> as their first argument. Note that we specify Knex in angle brackets.

Within the transaction function, access your Knex client from the .client field of your transaction context. For example, this function inserts a new row into the greetings table:

export class Greetings {
static async InsertGreeting(ctxt: TransactionContext<Knex>, friend: string, note: string) {
await ctxt.client('greetings').insert({
name: friend,
note: note

DBOS supports the full Knex Postgres API, but doesn't allow manually committing or aborting transactions. Instead, transactions automatically commit when the function successfully returns and abort and roll back if the function throws an exception.

Configuring Knex


If you are using the Knex template, this is done for you.

To enable Knex, you must set the app_db_client field in the DBOS configuration file to knex. You should also configure Knex migration commands. Here is an example of a configuration file set up for Knex:

hostname: localhost
port: 5432
username: postgres
password: ${PGPASSWORD}
app_db_name: hello
app_db_client: knex
- npx knex migrate:latest
- npx knex migrate:rollback
- dist/operations.js

Many Knex commands, such as those for schema migration, require a knexfile.js configuration file. To avoid managing your configuration in two places, we recommend knexfile.js load configuration information from your DBOS configuration file. Here is an example of a knexfile.js that does this:

const { parseConfigFile } = require('@dbos-inc/dbos-sdk');

const [dbosConfig, ] = parseConfigFile();

const config = {
client: 'pg',
connection: {
port: dbosConfig.poolConfig.port,
user: dbosConfig.poolConfig.user,
password: dbosConfig.poolConfig.password,
database: dbosConfig.poolConfig.database,
ssl: dbosConfig.poolConfig.ssl,
migrations: {
directory: './migrations'

module.exports = config;