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

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CockroachDB v21.2 is no longer supported. For more details, see the Release Support Policy.

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

  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 Create your cluster page, select Serverless.
  5. Click Create cluster.

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

Create a SQL user

The Create SQL user dialog allows you to create a new SQL user and password.

  1. Enter a username in the SQL user field or use the one provided by default.
  2. Click Generate & save password.
  3. Copy the generated password and save it in a secure location.
  4. Click Next.

    Currently, all new users are created with full privileges. For more information and to change the default settings, see [Manage SQL users on a cluster.

Get the connection string

The Connect to cluster dialog shows information about how to connect to your cluster.

  1. Select General connection string from the Select option dropdown.
  2. Open the General connection string section, then copy the connection string provided and save it in a secure location.

    The sample application used in this tutorial uses system CA certificates for server certificate verification, so you can skip the Download CA Cert instructions.


    The connection string is pre-populated with your username, password, cluster name, and other details. Your password, in particular, will be provided only once. Save it in a secure place (Cockroach Labs recommends a password manager) to connect to your cluster in the future. If you forget your password, you can reset it by going to the SQL Users page for the cluster, found at<CLUSTER ID>/users.

  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

  1. Navigate to the example-app-node-postgres directory:

    $ cd example-app-node-postgres
  2. Set the DATABASE_URL environment variable to the connection string for your cluster:

    export DATABASE_URL="postgresql://root@localhost:26257?sslmode=disable"
    export DATABASE_URL="{connection-string}"

    Where {connection-string} is the connection string you obtained from the CockroachDB Cloud Console.

  3. 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 $DATABASE_URL

    The SQL statement in the initialization file should execute:

    Time: 102ms

Step 4. Run the code

  1. Install the app requirements:

    $ npm install
  2. Run the app:

    $ node app.js

    The app uses the connection string saved to the DATABASE_URL environment variable to connect to your cluster and execute the code.

    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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