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Simple API for defining mongoose models and loading them into a single object for easy access.
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Simple API for defining mongoose models and loading them into a single object for easy access.

Getting Started

npm install mongoose-simpledb

Note: You do not need to install mongoose. Simpledb is intended to hide mongoose so you never have to install or require it.

After installing simpledb you'll want to define your mongoose models. By default simpledb looks in the root of your project for a directory called "dbmodels" and will load all model files found there. However, you can place your models wherever you wish and pass the location in simpledb's options. Let's look at an example model file.

// dbmodels/Comment.js

var ObjectId = require('mongoose-simpledb').Types.ObjectId;

exports.schema = {
    creator: { type: ObjectId, ref: 'User' },
    blogPost: { type: Number, ref: 'BlogPost' },
    url: String,
    body: String,
    date: { type: Date, default: },
    editedDate: Date,
    editedBy: { type: ObjectId, ref: 'User' }

Once you have a model file you can get reference to simpledb and call its init function. You can pass a callback function to init that will receive the db object when all of your models have finished being loaded into it. Or you can assign the results of the init function to a variable which will be lazy-loaded with your models when they are done being loaded;


var simpledb = require('mongoose-simpledb');
simpledb.init(function (err, db) {
    if (err) return console.error(err);
    // You can safely assume that db is populated with your models.
    db.Comment.find({ blogPost: 123 }, ...):

Lazy-loaded reference:

var simpledb = require('mongoose-simpledb');
var db = simpledb.init();
// After a time...
db.Comment.find({ blogPost: 123 }, ...);

If you prefer to use the lazy-loaded option then you can check db.modelsLoaded to see if the object is ready to be used. The only requirement of a model file is that you expose a property called schema. simpledb will use this property when creating your Mongoose schema. While schema is the only required property for you to define, you can define a few others as well if you'd like to setup instance methods, static methods, or virtual properties.

Need instance methods?

exports.methods = {
    dateFromNow: function () {
        return moment(;
    editedDateFromNow: function () {
        return moment(this.editedDate).fromNow();

What about statics?

exports.statics = {
    tenMostRecent: function (blogPostId, callback) {
        return this.where('date').sort('-date').limit(10).exec(callback);

Yes, you can even define virtual properties.

exports.virtuals = {
    bodyHtml: {
        get: function () {
            return marked(this.body);
    website: {
        get: function () {
            return this.url;
        set: function (url) {
            if (!/^http:\/\//i.test(url))
                url = "http://" + url;
            this.url = url;

You can see that when specifying virtuals you can include both "get" and/or "set" as needed for that virtual property. You can also use dot notation with your instance methods in virtuals. Just replace the method/virtual name with a string and use dots.

// dbmodels/Person.js

exports.schema = {
    name: {
        first: String,
        last: String

exports.virtuals = {
    "name.full": {
        get: function () {
            return + ' ' +;
        set: function (fullName) {
            if (fullName.indexOf(' ') !== -1) {
                var segments = fullName.split(' ');
       = segments[0];
       = segments[1];
            } else {
       = fullName;


An options object can be passed to the init function.

simpledb.init(options, callback);

Available Options and their default values:

    // The mongoose connection string to use.
    connectionString: 'mongodb:\\localhost',
    // The path to the directory where your models are stored.
    modelsDir: path.join(__dirname, '..', '..', 'dbmodels'),
    // Whether or not simpledb should auto-increment _id's of type Number.
    autoIncrementNumberIds: true

Any of these can be overridden as needed.

Need a reference to ObjectId or other mongoose types?

One goal of simpledb is to hide mongoose so that you never have to install it or require it yourself. One problem with this is that sometimes you need access to mongoose's types. For this reason simpledb exposes mongoose.Schema.Types as simpledb.Types.

var ObjectId = require('mongoose-simpledb').Types.ObjectId;

Then you can use it in your schemas.

exports.schema = {
    creator: { type: ObjectId, ref: 'User' }

Want to get rid of ObjectId altogether and use a simple incrementing Number _id?

Oe feature that Mongoose/MongoDB lack out of the box is the ability to automatically increment a simple integer ID with each new document added to the database. I wrote a mongoose plugin called mongoose-auto-increment that enables this functionality. If you explicitly declare the _id field on your schema as type Number then simpledb will automatically invoke the mongoose-auto-increment plugin for that model.

exports.schema = {
    _id: Number, // Causes simpledb to auto-increment _id for new documents.
    creator: { type: Number, ref: 'User' }

Tired of passing the db around to other areas of your application?

In node, modules are cached after they are first grabbed with require. Simpledb utilizes this fact to make it extremely easy for you to access your db object from anywhere by simply calling require again. As long as you've called init and enough time has passed for your db object's models to be loaded then you can access it.

var simpledb = require('mongoose-simpledb');


// After a time...

var db = require('mongoose-simpledb').db;

Remember that you can always check db.modelsLoaded to ensure that the object is ready to use.

Mongoose-simpledb in 30-ish seconds!

In this screencast graphic you can watch as I wrap a basic express app with simpledb. I first wrap the code in app.js inside the simpledb.init callback to ensure that db is ready to use by the time the server spins up. Next I create a model file at dbmodels/Person.js and populate the schema with some basic properties, define a virtual property, and create an example method. Finally, I write a couple quick route handlers that are invoked by a form page so that I can create a Person as well as retrieve it.

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