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FoundationDB Document Layer

The FoundationDB Document Layer is a stateless microserver that exposes a document-oriented database API. The Document Layer speaks the MongoDB® wire protocol, allowing the use of the MongoDB® API via existing MongoDB® client bindings. All persistent data are stored in the FoundationDB Key-Value Store.

The Document Layer implements a subset of the MongoDB® API (v 3.0.0) with some differences. This subset is mainly focused on CRUD operations, indexes and transactions. The Document Layer works with all the latest official MongoDB® drivers.

NOTE: mongo-go-driver assumes server is atleast 3.2. If you use it against Document Layer it fails on find commands. This should be fixed with #11.

As the Document Layer is built on top of FoundationDB, it inherits the strong guarantees of FoundationDB. Causal consistency and strong consistency are the default mode of operation. Indexes are always consistent with the inserts. Shard keys are not needed as data distribution is taken care by FoundationDB backend automatically.

You can find more details at the documentation here

Developer Guide

The Document Layer is written in Flow C++ just like FoundationDB.


Document Layer build depends on the following projects. If you are building using docker image, it should come with all the dependencies.


We depend on Boost 1.67 for Boost.DLL. Even though the DLL is a header only library, it depends on the non-header only libraries - filesystem and system. You can setup Boost as below:

The flag -fvisibility is set to hidden to avoid boost library related warnings in Mac OS.

cd /tmp/ && \
curl -L -J -O && \
tar -xzf boost_1_67_0.tar.gz && \
cd boost_1_67_0 && \
./ --prefix=./ && \
./b2 cxxflags=-fvisibility=hidden install --with-filesystem --with-system

and set the BOOST_ROOT environment variable to be /tmp/boost_1_67_0/. This is how CMake build picks the Boost packages. Since Boost is statically linked, it does not matter where you installed it.


While building document layer in Mac platform, warnings might be thrown like 'library out of sync'. This can be avoided by doing either one of following methods,


This step will guide to remove existing xcode libraries and install latest xcode libraries. This is permanent fix for framework related warnings. Make sure backup the existing libraries and remove this backup only if latest installtion works.

$ sudo mv /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools.old
$ xcode-select --install
$ sudo rm -rf /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools.old

Without disturbing existing libraries and add proper SDK path for framework libraries. Make sure this path set whenever opening a new terminal.

$ Xcrun –show-sdk-path
  --> The above command will show the sdk-path
  --> copy sdk-path and paste it below in double quotes
$ export SDKROOT=<sdk-path>


We depend on FoundationDB for the flow, fdb_flow and fdb_c libraries. CMake should get and build FoundationDB libraries from GitHub automatically as part of the build.


Flow actor files needs to be precompiled with Flow actor compiler which generates regular C++ code. Flow actor compiler needs Mono to run.


Build files are written in CMake. Its best to keep the build directory separate. CMake scripts get the FoundationDB sources from GitHub and build them. So, first ever build after you cloned the repo might take a while.

$ mkdir build && cd build && cmake .. && make
$ ./build/fdb_doc_layer -l -VV
0Using cluster file: /usr/local/etc/foundationdb/fdb.cluster
Connected to cluster.
FdbDocServer (1.5): listening on

Note that, the Document Layer connects to the FoundationDB cluster to persist documents. If you don't provide any cluster file, it tries to find the cluster file in the default locations. If you have installed FoundationDB on your box, this should work just fine. Otherwise, one can pass the cluster file with the -C option.

Build with Docker

Docker image used for Document Layer CI is published to Docker Hub. You can use the following command to build the project using Docker.

docker run -it -v ~/src/fdb-document-layer:/code \
    -w /code \
    foundationdb/fdb-document-layer-build \
    /bin/bash -c "mkdir build && cd build && cmake .. && make"

IDE Setup

CMake generates project files for different IDEs. Due to Flow actor compiler syntax, there could be quite a few false positive static analysis errors. CMake build scripts are written to make auto-complete work in IDEs, with bit of setup. CLion is one IDE that supports CMake build scripts as project files. To setup CLion for this project, follow the steps below:

  • Open CMakeLists.txt as project file from CLion. This should generate make and project files from CMake scripts in cmake-build-debug directory.
  • Set the CMake environment variables in CLion preferences
    • Set BOOST_ROOT to Boost installation path - Only if Boost is not installed in the default system directories
    • Set IDE_BUILD to ON - This makes CMake scripts behave slightly different to make auto-complete work with actor compiler key words
  • In the top right, in the "Run/Debug configurations" box select "FoundationDB" and build. This would fetch and build the FoundationDB source

NOTE: This setup helps you to make auto-complete work in CLion. You won't be able to build from CLion itself. Binaries will still need to be built from the terminal using the command specified above.


Contributing to the FoundationDB Document Layer can be in contributions to the code base, sharing your experience and insights in the community on the Forums. Please see the contributing guide for more specifics.

License and Trademarks

The FoundationDB Document Layer is under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

FoundationDB is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.. MongoDB is a registered trademark of MongoDB, Inc..

For additional information, see the LICENSE and ACKNOWLEDGMENTS files.