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Making CouchDB development easy

Erica is a tool that helps you to create couchdb design docs, and web applications (couchapps), and generally get files in and out of CouchDB.



  • Erlang R14B04 or higher with crypto support


  • gcc
  • rebar
  • git
  • erlang-src

Installing Dependencies on Debian/Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install rebar erlang-src erlang-xmerl erlang-parsetools

Installing Dependencies on Fedora

sudo yum install erlang-rebar


  • Signed releases are available from dch's site.
  • Unix users will need to chmod +x erica and ensure it is on your PATH.
  • Windows users should use erica.cmd and simply drop it into your %COUCHDB%/bin directory.


To install it from source you will have to clone the repository from github. Dependencies will be fetched during the build.

$ git clone git://

You can also download the latested tarball available on the download page:

$ curl -L -O<vsn>.tar.gz

Then build the sources:

$ cd erica
$ make

Then you can use the generated script erica .

To install it on your system, run the command line:

$ make install

Upgrade from the source repository

When you want to upgrade from the source repository, run the following commands:

$ git pull --rebase
$ make upgrade
$ make install

Quick Start: Design Docs

So need to make and mange design docs for couchdb?

# erica create-app
# cd myapp
# erica push myapp

Go ahead and create views, shows, lists, etc.

Quick Start: Webapps

To create a webapp, follow this pattern.

# erica create-webapp
# cd myapp
# erica push myapp

This is an 'attachment first' style couchapp. Anything related to the design doc lives in _ddoc.

After any changes, push it to your couchdb node

$ erica push

Then visit the result on

That's it.

Note: By default the CouchDB Node uri is so you could just use the db name in push command line if you want:eri

$ erica push testdb

Detailed Usage:

# erica command

Where available commands are:

push           [options...] [dir]    dest  push anything to couchdb
create-webapp  [appid=myapp] ...     Create a webapp. Default:
                                     appid=myapp, lang=javascript
create-ddoc    [appid=myapp] ...     Create a blank ddoc, Default:
                                     appid=myapp, lang=javascript
create-app     appid=AppID lang=Lang Create a blank couchapp, Default:
                                     appid=myapp, lang=javascript
create         template= [vars...]   create an application using a
init                                 initialize a .couchapprc
clone          [option] source dir   clone a document from couchdb
browse                               display the erica in the
web            port=Port [dir]       launch the web ui
help                                 Show the program options
version                              Show version information

And more general options

$ erica -h
Usage: erica [-h] [-c] [-v] [-f] [-V] [--is-ddoc <is_ddoc>] [--docid <docid>] [--atomic <atomic>] [...] <command,...>

  -h, --help		Show the program options
  -c, --commands	Show available commands
  -v, --verbose		Be verbose about what gets done
  -f, --force		Force
  -V, --version		Show version information
  --is-ddoc		Tell to push command if you send a design document or not.
  --docid		Set docid with push command
  --atomic		Send attachments inline with push command
  command		Command to run (e.g. push)

1 . About the Design Doc

You can use a template to create your design doc. It will create a simple project that you can use for a start:

$ erica create-ddoc appid=myapp lang=javascript
==> tmp (create-app)
Writing myapp/_id
Writing myapp/language
Writing myapp/.couchapprc

$ ls -fla myapp/
total 24
drwxr-xr-x   6 benoitc  wheel  204 Jun  7 11:13 .
drwxrwxrwt  13 root     wheel  442 Jun  7 11:13 ..
-rw-r--r--   1 benoitc  wheel   18 Jun  7 11:13 .couchapprc
drwxr-xr-x   2 benoitc  wheel   68 Jun  7 11:13 _attachments
-rw-r--r--   1 benoitc  wheel   13 Jun  7 11:13 _id
-rw-r--r--   1 benoitc  wheel   10 Jun  7 11:13 language

Erica has created an _attachments folder in the myapp folder. This is where you can put all the attachments. You can put your views functions in views/viewname/{map,reduce}.js , shows in shows folder, lists in lists, ... See the wiki for more info (soon).

  • _id is where you set the document id
  • languages is where you set the language of your application
  • .couchapprc is where you set some config infos for your app.

Note: erica is language agnostic, so if you want to create your couchapp in coffescript, just replace javascript by coffescript or use the language you want if an couchapp server exists for it.

2. Clone

Did you see an interesting couchapp you want to reuse? Or just working with a friend on the same couchapp ? With the clone command you can replicate a couchapp on your filesystem, edit it and push the results after:

$ erica clone

This command will clone the couchapp myapp in the myapp folder. If you want to clone it to another folder, just do:

$ erica clone mynewapp


Add an .ericaignore file to the root of your app, as a JSON array of regular expressions of files or folders to be excluded from pushes.

["passwords.txt", "^\.ssh", "^\.*"]

When using templates, follow this format

# erica create template=name

Provided templates are for now:

  • web (the template used with the create-web command)
  • ddoc (the default create used for create-ddoc command)
  • example: a simple couchapp example
  • couchapp: a simple template with the good old couchapp javascript library.

You can add your own template in ~/.erica/templates.

Getting Help

If you have any questions contact us on irc freenode #couchapp or on the mailing-list: .