Skip to content
Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

Triggering IBM Cloud Functions on Cloudant data changes

Create Cloudant data processing apps with IBM Cloud Functions powered by Apache OpenWhisk. This tutorial should take about 5 minutes to complete. After this, move on to more complex serverless applications such as those tagged openwhisk-hands-on-demo.

Sample Architecture

If you're not familiar with the Cloud Functions/OpenWhisk programming model try the action, trigger, and rule sample first. You'll need an IBM Cloud account and the latest OpenWhisk (wsk) or IBM Cloud command line plugin (bx wsk).

This example shows how to create an action that can be integrated with the built in Cloudant changes trigger and read action to execute logic when new data is added.

  1. Configure Cloudant
  2. Create Cloud Functions
  3. Clean up

1. Configure Cloudant

Provision a Cloudant service instance

Log into Bluemix, create a Cloudant database instance, and name it openwhisk-cloudant. Launch the Cloudant web console and create a database named cats. Set the corresponding names as environment variables in a terminal window:

export CLOUDANT_INSTANCE="openwhisk-cloudant"

Import the service credentials into the OpenWhisk environment

We will make use of the built-in OpenWhisk Cloudant package, which contains a set of actions and feeds that integrate with the Cloudant Database-as-a-Service.

With Cloud Functions on the IBM Cloud, this package can be automatically configured with the credentials and connection information from the Cloudant instance we provisioned above. We make it available by refreshing our list of packages.

# Ensures the Cloudant credentials are available to Cloud Functions.
wsk package refresh

2. Create Cloud Functions

Attach a trigger to the Cloudant database

Triggers can be explicitly fired by a user or fired on behalf of a user by an external event source, such as a feed. Use the code below to create a trigger to fire events when data is inserted into the cats database using the changes feed provided in the Cloudant package.

wsk trigger create data-inserted-trigger \
  --feed Bluemix_${CLOUDANT_INSTANCE}_Credentials-1/changes \
  --param dbname "$CLOUDANT_DATABASE"

Create an action to process changes to the database

Create a file named process-change.js. This file will define an action written as a JavaScript function. This function will print out data that is written to Cloudant. For this example, we are expecting a cat with fields name and color.

function main(params) {

  return new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {

    if (! {
      console.error('name parameter not set.');
        'error': 'name parameter not set.'
    } else {
      var message = 'A ' + params.color + ' cat named ' + + ' was added.';
        change: message



Deploy an IBM Cloud Function from the JavaScript file.

wsk action create process-change process-change.js

To verify the creation of our action and unit test its logic, invoke the action explicitly using the code below and pass the parameters using the --param command line arguments.

wsk action invoke \
  --blocking \
  --param name Tahoma \
  --param color Tabby \

Create an action sequence and map to the trigger with a rule

We now chain together multiple actions using a sequence. Here we will connect the packaged Cloudant read action with the process-change action we just created. The parameters (name and color) output from the cloudant read action will be passed automatically to our process-change action.

wsk action create process-change-cloudant-sequence \
  --sequence Bluemix_${CLOUDANT_INSTANCE}_Credentials-1/read,process-change

Rules map triggers to actions. Create a rule that maps the database change trigger to the sequence we just created. Once this rule is created, the actions (or sequence of actions) will be executed whenever the trigger is fired in response to new data inserted into the Cloudant database.

wsk rule create log-change-rule data-inserted-trigger process-change-cloudant-sequence

Enter data to fire a change

Begin streaming the OpenWhisk activation log in a second terminal window.

wsk activation poll

In the Cloudant dashboard linked from the Bluemix console, create a new document in the cats database.

  "name": "Tarball",
  "color": "Black"

View the Cloud Functions activation log to look for the change notification. You should see activation records for the rule, the trigger, the sequence, and the actions.

3. Clean up

Remove the actions, triggers, rules, and package

# Remove rule
wsk rule disable log-change-rule
wsk rule delete log-change-rule

# Remove trigger
wsk trigger delete data-inserted-trigger

# Remove actions
wsk action delete process-change-cloudant-sequence
wsk action delete process-change

# Remove package
wsk package delete Bluemix_${CLOUDANT_INSTANCE}_Credentials-1


You can use the wskdeploy deployment automation tool to automate deployment of this Cloudant Trigger. Please refer to README file.


Check for errors first in the Cloud Functions activation log. Tail the log on the command line with wsk activation poll or drill into details visually with the Cloud Functions monitoring console.

If the error is not immediately obvious, make sure you have the latest version of the wsk CLI installed. If it's older than a few weeks, download an update.

wsk property get --cliversion


Apache 2.0


IBM Cloud Functions building block - Cloudant Trigger - This project provides a starting point for handling events from Cloudant with IBM Cloud Functions powered by Apache OpenWhisk.





No releases published


No packages published