# Common API

All database adapters implement a common interface for initialization, pagination, extending and querying. This chapter describes the common adapter initialization and options, how to enable and use pagination, the details on how specific service methods behave and how to extend an adapter with custom functionality.

Important: Every database adapter is an implementation of the Feathers service interface. We recommend being familiar with services, service events and hooks before using a database adapter.

# Initialization

# new Service(options)

Each adapter exports a Service class that can be exported and extended.

    # service([options])

    The default export is a function that returns a new service instance initialized with the given options. Internally just calls new Service(options) from above.

    const service = require('feathers-<adaptername>');
    app.use('/messages', service());
    app.use('/messages', service({ id, events, paginate }));

    # Options

    • id (optional) - The name of the id field property (usually set by default to id or _id).
    • events (optional) - A list of custom service events sent by this service
    • paginate (optional) - A pagination object containing a default and max page size
    • whitelist (optional) - A list of additional non-standard query parameters to allow (e.g [ '$regex', '$populate' ])
    • multi (optional, default: false) - Allow create with arrays and patch and remove with id null to change multiple items. Can be true for all methods or an array of allowed methods (e.g. [ 'remove', 'create' ])

    # Pagination

    When initializing an adapter you can set the following pagination options in the paginate object:

    • default - Sets the default number of items when $limit is not set
    • max - Sets the maximum allowed number of items per page (even if the $limit query parameter is set higher)

    When paginate.default is set, find will return an page object (instead of the normal array) in the following form:

      "total": "<total number of records>",
      "limit": "<max number of items per page>",
      "skip": "<number of skipped items (offset)>",
      "data": [/* data */]

    The pagination options can be set as follows:

    const service = require('feathers-<db-name>');
    // Set the `paginate` option during initialization
    app.use('/todos', service({
      paginate: {
        default: 5,
        max: 25
    // override pagination in `params.paginate` for this call
      paginate: {
        default: 100,
        max: 200
    // disable pagination for this call
      paginate: false

    Note: Disabling or changing the default pagination is not available in the client. Only params.query is passed to the server (also see a workaround here (opens new window))

    Pro tip: To just get the number of available records set $limit to 0. This will only run a (fast) counting query against the database.

    # Extending Adapters

    There are two ways to extend existing database adapters. Either by extending the ES6 base class or by adding functionality through hooks.

    ProTip: Keep in mind that calling the original service methods will return a Promise that resolves with the value.

    # Classes (ES6)

    All modules also export an ES6 class (opens new window) as Service that can be directly extended like this:

    'use strict';
    const { Service } = require( 'feathers-<database>');
    class MyService extends Service {
      create(data, params) {
        data.created_at = new Date();
        return super.create(data, params);
      update(id, data, params) {
        data.updated_at = new Date();
        return super.update(id, data, params);
    app.use('/todos', new MyService({
      paginate: {
        default: 2,
        max: 4

    # Hooks

    Another option is weaving in functionality through hooks. For example, createdAt and updatedAt timestamps could be added like this:

    const feathers = require('@feathersjs/feathers');
    // Import the database adapter of choice
    const service = require('feathers-<adapter>');
    const app = feathers().use('/todos', service({
      paginate: {
        default: 2,
        max: 4
      before: {
        create: [
          (context) => context.data.createdAt = new Date()
        update: [
          (context) => context.data.updatedAt = new Date()

    # Service methods

    This section describes specifics on how the service methods are implemented for all adapters.

    # constructor(options)

    Initializes a new service. Should call super(options) when overwritten.

    # Methods without hooks

    The database adapters support calling their service methods without any hooks by adding a _ in front of the method name as _find, _get, _create, _patch, _update and _remove. This can be useful if you need the raw data from the service and don't want to trigger any of its hooks.

    // Call `get` without running any hooks
    const message = await app.service('/messages')._get('<message id>');

    Note: These methods are only available internally on the server, not on the client side and only for the Feathers database adapters. They do not send any events.

    # adapter.Model

    If the ORM or database supports models, the model instance or reference to the collection belonging to this adapter can be found in adapter.Model. This allows to easily make custom queries using that model, e.g. in a hook:

    // Make a MongoDB aggregation (`messages` is using `feathers-mongodb`)
      before: {
        async find(context) {
          const results = await service.Model.aggregate([
            { $match: {item_id: id} }, {
              $group: {_id: null, total_quantity: {$sum: '$quantity'} }
          // Do something with results
          return context;

    # adapter.find(params)

    adapter.find(params) -> Promise returns a list of all records matching the query in params.query using the common querying mechanism. Will either return an array with the results or a page object if pagination is enabled.

    Important: When used via REST URLs all query values are strings. Depending on the database the values in params.query might have to be converted to the right type in a before hook.

    // Find all messages for user with id 1
      query: {
        userId: 1
    }).then(messages => console.log(messages));
    // Find all messages belonging to room 1 or 3
      query: {
        roomId: {
          $in: [ 1, 3 ]
    }).then(messages => console.log(messages));

    Find all messages for user with id 1

    GET /messages?userId=1

    Find all messages belonging to room 1 or 3

    GET /messages?roomId[$in]=1&roomId[$in]=3

    # adapter.get(id, params)

    adapter.get(id, params) -> Promise retrieves a single record by its unique identifier (the field set in the id option during initialization).

      .then(message => console.log(message));
    GET /messages/1

    # adapter.create(data, params)

    adapter.create(data, params) -> Promise creates a new record with data. data can also be an array to create multiple records.

        text: 'A test message'
      .then(message => console.log(message));
        text: 'Hi'
      }, {
        text: 'How are you'
      .then(messages => console.log(messages));
    POST /messages
      "text": "A test message"

    # adapter.update(id, data, params)

    adapter.update(id, data, params) -> Promise completely replaces a single record identified by id with data. Does not allow replacing multiple records (id can't be null). id can not be changed.

    app.service('messages').update(1, {
        text: 'Updates message'
      .then(message => console.log(message));
    PUT /messages/1
    { "text": "Updated message" }

    # adapter.patch(id, data, params)

    adapter.patch(id, data, params) -> Promise merges a record identified by id with data. id can be null to allow replacing multiple records (all records that match params.query the same as in .find). id can not be changed.

    app.service('messages').patch(1, {
      text: 'A patched message'
    }).then(message => console.log(message));
    const params = {
      query: { read: false }
    // Mark all unread messages as read
    app.service('messages').patch(null, {
      read: true
    }, params);
    PATCH /messages/1
    { "text": "A patched message" }

    Mark all unread messages as read

    PATCH /messages?read=false
    { "read": true }

    # adapter.remove(id, params)

    adapter.remove(id, params) -> Promise removes a record identified by id. id can be null to allow removing multiple records (all records that match params.query the same as in .find).

      .then(message => console.log(message));
    const params = {
      query: { read: true }
    // Remove all read messages
    app.service('messages').remove(null, params);
    DELETE /messages/1

    Remove all read messages

    DELETE /messages?read=true

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    Last Updated: 1/1/2021, 12:26:18 AM