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.


This tutorial assumes you are running under SERIALIZABLE isolation. Client-side retry handling is not necessary under READ COMMITTED isolation.

Step 1. Start CockroachDB

Choose your installation method

You can install a CockroachDB Serverless cluster using either the CockroachDB Cloud Console, a web-based graphical user interface (GUI) tool, or ccloud, a command-line interface (CLI) tool.

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.

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 SQL users are created with admin 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.

Follow these steps to create a CockroachDB Serverless cluster using the ccloud CLI tool.


The ccloud CLI tool is in Preview.

Install ccloud

Choose your OS:

You can install ccloud using either Homebrew or by downloading the binary.

Use Homebrew

  1. Install Homebrew.
  2. Install using the ccloud tap:

    brew install cockroachdb/tap/ccloud

Download the binary

In a terminal, enter the following command to download and extract the ccloud binary and add it to your PATH:

curl | tar -xJ && cp -i ccloud /usr/local/bin/

Use the ARM 64 binary if you have an M-series Mac:

curl | tar -xJ && cp -i ccloud /usr/local/bin/

In a terminal, enter the following command to download and extract the ccloud binary and add it to your PATH:

curl | tar -xz && cp -i ccloud /usr/local/bin/

In a PowerShell window, enter the following command to download and extract the ccloud binary and add it to your PATH:

$ErrorActionPreference = "Stop"; [Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls12; $ProgressPreference = 'SilentlyContinue'; $null = New-Item -Type Directory -Force $env:appdata/ccloud; Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -OutFile; Expand-Archive -Force -Path; Copy-Item -Force ccloud/ccloud.exe -Destination $env:appdata/ccloud; $Env:PATH += ";$env:appdata/ccloud"; # We recommend adding ";$env:appdata/ccloud" to the Path variable for your system environment. See for more information.

Run ccloud quickstart to create a new cluster, create a SQL user, and retrieve the connection string.

The easiest way of getting started with CockroachDB Cloud is to use ccloud quickstart. The ccloud quickstart command guides you through logging in to CockroachDB Cloud, creating a new CockroachDB Serverless cluster, and connecting to the new cluster. Run ccloud quickstart and follow the instructions:

ccloud quickstart

The ccloud quickstart command will open a browser window to log you in to CockroachDB Cloud. If you are new to CockroachDB Cloud, you can register using one of the single sign-on (SSO) options, or create a new account using an email address.

The ccloud quickstart command will prompt you for the cluster name, cloud provider, and cloud provider region, then ask if you want to connect to the cluster. Each prompt has default values that you can select, or change if you want a different option.

Select General connection string, then copy the connection string displayed and save it in a secure location. The connection string is the line starting postgresql://.

? How would you like to connect? General connection string
Retrieving cluster info: succeeded
 Downloading cluster cert to /Users/maxroach/.postgresql/root.crt: succeeded

  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 copied earlier.

  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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