Build a Simple CRUD Node.js App with CockroachDB and the node-postgres Driver

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This tutorial shows you how build a simple Node.js application with CockroachDB and the node-postgres driver.

Step 1. Start CockroachDB

Create a free cluster


Organizations without billing information on file can only create one CockroachDB Serverless cluster.

  1. If you haven't already, sign up for a CockroachDB Cloud account.
  2. Log in to your CockroachDB Cloud account.
  3. On the Clusters page, click Create Cluster.
  4. On the Select a plan page, select Serverless.
  5. On the Cloud & Regions page, select a cloud provider (GCP or AWS) in the Cloud provider section.
  6. In the Regions section, select a region for the cluster. Refer to CockroachDB Cloud Regions for the regions where CockroachDB Serverless clusters can be deployed. To create a multi-region cluster, click Add region and select additional regions. A cluster can have at most six regions.
  7. Click Next: Capacity.
  8. On the Capacity page, select Start for free. Click Next: Finalize.
  9. On the Finalize page, click Create cluster.

    Your cluster will be created in a few seconds and the Create SQL user dialog will display.

Set up your cluster connection

  1. Navigate to the cluster's Overview page, and select Connect.

  2. Under the Connection String tab, download the cluster certificate.

  3. Take note of the connection string provided. You'll use it to connect to the database later in this tutorial.

  1. If you haven't already, download the CockroachDB binary.
  2. Run the cockroach start-single-node command:

    $ cockroach start-single-node --advertise-addr 'localhost' --insecure

    This starts an insecure, single-node cluster.

  3. Take note of the following connection information in the SQL shell welcome text:

    CockroachDB node starting at 2021-08-30 17:25:30.06524 +0000 UTC (took 4.3s)
    build:               CCL v21.1.6 @ 2021/07/20 15:33:43 (go1.15.11)
    webui:               http://localhost:8080
    sql:                 postgresql://root@localhost:26257?sslmode=disable

    You'll use the sql connection string to connect to the cluster later in this tutorial.


The --insecure flag used in this tutorial is intended for non-production testing only. To run CockroachDB in production, use a secure cluster instead.

Step 2. Get the code

Clone the code's GitHub repo:

$ git clone

The project has the following directory structure:

├── app.js
├── dbinit.sql
└── package.json

The dbinit.sql file initializes the database schema that the application uses:

CREATE TABLE accounts (
    balance INT8

The app.js file contains the code for INSERT, SELECT, UPDATE, and DELETE SQL operations:

const { Pool } = require("pg");
const { v4: uuidv4 } = require("uuid");

var accountValues = Array(3);

// Wrapper for a transaction.  This automatically re-calls the operation with
// the client as an argument as long as the database server asks for
// the transaction to be retried.
async function retryTxn(n, max, client, operation, callback) {
  const backoffInterval = 100; // millis
  const maxTries = 5;
  let tries = 0;

  while (true) {
    await client.query('BEGIN;');


    try {
      const result = await operation(client, callback);
      await client.query('COMMIT;');
      return result;
    } catch (err) {
      await client.query('ROLLBACK;');

      if (err.code !== '40001' || tries == maxTries) {
        throw err;
      } else {
        console.log('Transaction failed. Retrying.');
        await new Promise(r => setTimeout(r, tries * backoffInterval));

// This function is called within the first transaction. It inserts some initial values into the "accounts" table.
async function initTable(client, callback) {
  let i = 0;
  while (i < accountValues.length) {
    accountValues[i] = await uuidv4();

  const insertStatement =
    "INSERT INTO accounts (id, balance) VALUES ($1, 1000), ($2, 250), ($3, 0);";
  await client.query(insertStatement, accountValues, callback);

  const selectBalanceStatement = "SELECT id, balance FROM accounts;";
  await client.query(selectBalanceStatement, callback);

// This function updates the values of two rows, simulating a "transfer" of funds.
async function transferFunds(client, callback) {
  const from = accountValues[0];
  const to = accountValues[1];
  const amount = 100;
  const selectFromBalanceStatement =
    "SELECT balance FROM accounts WHERE id = $1;";
  const selectFromValues = [from];
  await client.query(
    (err, res) => {
      if (err) {
        return callback(err);
      } else if (res.rows.length === 0) {
        console.log("account not found in table");
        return callback(err);
      var acctBal = res.rows[0].balance;
      if (acctBal < amount) {
        return callback(new Error("insufficient funds"));

  const updateFromBalanceStatement =
    "UPDATE accounts SET balance = balance - $1 WHERE id = $2;";
  const updateFromValues = [amount, from];
  await client.query(updateFromBalanceStatement, updateFromValues, callback);

  const updateToBalanceStatement =
    "UPDATE accounts SET balance = balance + $1 WHERE id = $2;";
  const updateToValues = [amount, to];
  await client.query(updateToBalanceStatement, updateToValues, callback);

  const selectBalanceStatement = "SELECT id, balance FROM accounts;";
  await client.query(selectBalanceStatement, callback);

// This function deletes the third row in the accounts table.
async function deleteAccounts(client, callback) {
  const deleteStatement = "DELETE FROM accounts WHERE id = $1;";
  await client.query(deleteStatement, [accountValues[2]], callback);

  const selectBalanceStatement = "SELECT id, balance FROM accounts;";
  await client.query(selectBalanceStatement, callback);

// Run the transactions in the connection pool
(async () => {
  const connectionString = process.env.DATABASE_URL;
  const pool = new Pool({
    application_name: "$ docs_simplecrud_node-postgres",

  // Connect to database
  const client = await pool.connect();

  // Callback
  function cb(err, res) {
    if (err) throw err;

    if (res.rows.length > 0) {
      console.log("New account balances:");
      res.rows.forEach((row) => {

  // Initialize table in transaction retry wrapper
  console.log("Initializing accounts table...");
  await retryTxn(0, 15, client, initTable, cb);

  // Transfer funds in transaction retry wrapper
  console.log("Transferring funds...");
  await retryTxn(0, 15, client, transferFunds, cb);

  // Delete a row in transaction retry wrapper
  console.log("Deleting a row...");
  await retryTxn(0, 15, client, deleteAccounts, cb);

  // Exit program
})().catch((err) => console.log(err.stack));

All of the database operations are wrapped in a helper function named retryTxn. This function attempts to commit statements in the context of an explicit transaction. If a retry error is thrown, the wrapper will retry committing the transaction, with exponential backoff, until the maximum number of retries is reached (by default, 15).

Step 3. Initialize the database

To initialize the example database, use the cockroach sql command to execute the SQL statements in the dbinit.sql file:


cat dbinit.sql | cockroach sql --url "<connection-string>"

Where <connection-string> is the connection string you obtained earlier from the CockroachDB Cloud Console.


cat dbinit.sql | cockroach sql --url "postgresql://root@localhost:26257?sslmode=disable"

postgresql://root@localhost:26257?sslmode=disable is the sql connection string you obtained earlier from the cockroach welcome text.

The SQL statements in the initialization file should execute:


Time: 1ms


Time: 2ms


Time: 1ms


Time: 2ms


Time: 10ms


Time: 4ms

Step 4. Run the code

  1. Install the app requirements:

    $ npm install
  2. Run the app:

    $ node app.js

    The program will prompt you for a connection string to the database:

    prompt: connectionString:
  3. Enter the connection string to your running cluster.


    postgresql://root@localhost:26257?sslmode=disable should be the sql connection URL provided in the cockroach welcome text.


    Use the connection string provided in the Connection info window of the CockroachDB Cloud Console.


    You need to provide a SQL user password in order to securely connect to a CockroachDB Cloud cluster. The connection string should have a placeholder for the password (<ENTER-PASSWORD>).

After entering the connection string, the program will execute.

The output should look like this:

Initializing accounts table...
New account balances:
{ id: 'aa0e9b22-0c23-469b-a9e1-b2ace079f44c', balance: '1000' }
{ id: 'bf8b96da-2c38-4d55-89a0-b2b6ed63ff9e', balance: '0' }
{ id: 'e43d76d6-388e-4ee6-8b73-a063a63a2138', balance: '250' }
Transferring funds...
New account balances:
{ id: 'aa0e9b22-0c23-469b-a9e1-b2ace079f44c', balance: '900' }
{ id: 'bf8b96da-2c38-4d55-89a0-b2b6ed63ff9e', balance: '0' }
{ id: 'e43d76d6-388e-4ee6-8b73-a063a63a2138', balance: '350' }
Deleting a row...
New account balances:
{ id: 'aa0e9b22-0c23-469b-a9e1-b2ace079f44c', balance: '900' }
{ id: 'e43d76d6-388e-4ee6-8b73-a063a63a2138', balance: '350' }

What's next?

Read more about using the node-postgres driver.

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