A Node.js migration framework for MongoDB
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A Node.js migration framework for MongoDB with both programmatic and CLI API.

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  npm install mongodb-migrations --save

Common Usage (CLI)

The package installs a single CLI executable — mm.

When installing locally to your project this executable can be found at ./node_modules/.bin/mm.

When installing globally (normally not recommended) the executable should automatically become accessible on your PATH.


The CLI app expects a configuration file to be present in the directory where the app is being ran.

By default (if the configuration file is not set through the command-line argument) the app checks mm-config.json, mm-config.js, and mm-config.coffee files for existence.

File name can be passed through the means of --config parameter. The path is relative to the current directory:

  mm --config=configs/mm.json

In case of json the file should contain valid JSON representation of the configuration object.

In case of js or coffee the file should be a CommonJS module exporting the configuration object. This is useful when you already have configuration data (potentially in a different format) and want to avoid duplication. See test/mm-config.coffee for an example of this usage.

In case of coffee the coffee-script >= 1.7.0 package must be importable from the current directory (include it as your project's dependency).

The configuration object can have the following keys:

  • url — full MongoDB connection url (optional, when used the rest of the connection params (host, port, db, user, password, replicaset, authDatabase) are ignored),
  • host — MongoDB host (optional when using url or replicaset, required otherwise),
  • port [optional] — MongoDB port,
  • db — MongoDB database name,
  • ssl [optional] - boolean, if true, '?ssl=true' is added to the MongoDB URL,
  • user [optional] — MongoDB user name when authentication is required,
  • password [optional] — MongoDB password when authentication is required,
  • authDatabase [optional] - MongoDB database to authenticate the user against,
  • collection [optional] — The name of the MongoDB collection to track already ran migrations, defaults to _migrations,
  • directory — the directory (path relative to the current folder) to store migration files in and read them from, used when running from the command-line or when using runFromDir,
  • timeout [optional] — time in milliseconds after which migration should fail if done() is not called (use 0 to disable timeout)
  • poolSize [optional, deprecated, use options.server.poolSize instead] - the size of the mongo connection pool,
  • options [optional] - arbitrary options passed to the MongoClient (Note: if not set directly, options.server.poolSize defaults to 5.),
  • replicaset [optional] - if using replica sets should be an object of the following structure:
name: 'rs-ds023680',
members: [
    host: 'bee.boo.bar',
    port: 23680
    host: 'choo.choo',
    port: 24610

Creating Migrations

The app simplifies creating migration stubs by providing a command

  mm create MIGRATION-NAME [--coffee|-c]

This creates automatically numbered file NNN-migration-name.js (or .coffee if -c of --coffee flag provided) inside of the directory defined in the configuration file.

The migration file must be a CommonJS module exporting the following:

  • id — a string that's used to identify the migration (filled automatically when creating migrations through mm create).
  • up [optional] — a function used for forward migration.
  • down [optional] — a function used for backward migration (rollback).

See Configuration if your config file has non-standard name.

Migration functions

The up and down functions take a single parameter — a Node-style callback:

module.exports.up = function (done) {
  // call done() when migration is successfully finished
  // call done(error) in case of error

The up and down functions are executed with the scope providing 2 convenient properties:

  • this.db is an open MongoDB native driver connection. Useful if you are not using any ODM library.
  • this.log is a function allowing you to print informative messages during the progress of your migration. By default these messages are printed to stdout with proper indentation. See Custom logging for advanced usage.

Sample migration file

exports.id = 'create-toby';

exports.up = function (done) {
  var coll = this.db.collection('test');
  coll.insert({ name: 'tobi' }, done);

exports.down = function (done) {
  var coll = this.db.collection('test');
  coll.remove({}, done);

Running migrations

Run all migrations from the directory (specified in Configuration) by simply calling



mm migrate

The utility only runs migrations that:

  1. have up function defined,
  2. were not ran before against this database.

Ran migrations are recorded in the collection specified in Configuration.

NOTE: If there are some noop migrations (those without the up method) they will be recorded in the collection, too. See migrator.migrate for the explanation why.

The migration process is stopped instantly if some migration fails (returns error in its callback).

See Configuration if your config file has non-standard name.

If you have .coffee migration files, coffee-script >= 1.7.0 package must be importable from the current directory.

Debugging migrations

DEBUG=true mm

Running with DEBUG=true will print out the error stack on the console.

Programmatic usage

The library also supports programmatic usage.

Start with require'ing it:

var mm = require('mongodb-migrations');

Creating Migrator object

Next, you have to create a Migrator object. The syntax is:

var migrator = new mm.Migrator(config, [customLogFn]);

Where config is an object with the keys defined in the Configuration section (except of the directory which does not make sense in this scenario).

Custom logging

By default when migrations are ran migrator will log it's progress to console — 1 line for each migration added, indicating the status (skipped, succeeded or failed). It will also print any custom messages you pass to this.log inside of the up / down function.

To suppress this logging pass customLogFn = null to the Migrator constructor (undefined won't do the trick).

If you want to handle the logging on your own (save it to file, or whatever else) you can pass your custom function having this signature:

function customLogFn(level, message),

where level is either "system" (migration status message) or "user" (when you call this.log inside of your migration), and message is the actual message string.

Adding migrations

Once you have the migrator object you can add migrations definitions to it.


To add a single migration, call


where migrationDef is an object with id, up [optional], and down [optional] keys, all having the same meaning as described in Creating Migrations.


To add multiple migrations at once, call


where migrationDefsArray is an array of objects explained in migrator.add.


Once you have one or more migrations added, run them with calling

migrator.migrate(doneFn, [progressFn]).

Migrations are ran in order they were added to the migrator.

The doneFn is called once all migrations are ran or once one of them fails. The function has the signature

function doneFn(error, results),

where error is null if everything is OK, or is an error returned by the failed migration (if any).

The results object is always passed (even in case of an error).

Its keys are ids of the added migrations (till the one that failed, if any, or till the last one). The values are result objects having the following properties:

  • status — 'ok', 'skip', or 'error',
  • error - the error object returned from the failed migration,
  • reason — the reason why the migration was skipped, can be "no migration function for direction up", "no migration function for direction down", "migration already ran", "migration wasn't in the recent migrate run", See Rollback for the explanation of the last case,
  • code — a more machine-friendly version of reason, can be "no_up", "no_down", "already_ran", "not_in_recent_migrate".

The optional progressFn function is called once per each migration and has the signature

function progressFn(id, result),

where id is migration's ID, and result object is explained above.

Successfully ran migrations are recorded in the collection specified in Configuration.

NOTE: for consistency and for the proper rollback operation migrations that do not define the up methods (and thus are skipped) are still recorded in the DB as being ran which is formally true as they are essentially noop.

This means that if one of your migrations has an issue, you roll back, then fix this issue and rerun the migrations, the entire set will be re-applied (as rollback assumes the DB is restored to the pre-migrate state).

Obviously, this will lead to unexpected results if you don't properly define the down methods where they are required.


In case your migrations are modules in specific directory (see Running migrations) there's a convenience method that reads them in order and then runs.

The files must conform to the following rules:

  1. have their names starting with one or more digits (this number defines the migrations order) — proper naming is held when Creating Migrations using the CLI mm tool,
  2. be CommonJS modules and export id, up [optional], and down [optional] — see Creating Migrations for explanation,
  3. have filenames ending in .js or .coffee;
  4. if the migration file has .coffee extension, the coffee-script >= 1.7.0 package must be importable from the current directory.

To run the migrations from the directory call

migrator.runFromDir(directory, doneFn, [progressFn])

The doneFn and progressFn have the same meaning as in migrator.migrate.


If you decide that current migration run was unsuccessful, you can roll back all recently ran transactions. Currently this operation is only supported through programatic interface.

Do so by calling


This runs all the migrations added to the migrator in the reverse order, and follows these rules:

  1. migrations without the down method are skipped (but see the note below),
  2. migrations not ran recently (potentially those after the failed one) are skipped.

NOTE: Rolling back removes the migration records from the DB. It's true even for the migrations that do not have the down part.


To programmatically create a migration stub file, call

migrator.create(directory, id, doneFn, coffeeScript=false),

where directory is the directory to save the file to, id is migration's ID, doneFn is a callback that gets passed the error object in case of error, and optional coffeeScript flag tells the library to create the stub in CoffeeScript instead of plain JavaScript.

The ID is lowercased and then dasherized. It's your responsibility to assure it's unique.

The method automatically handles files numbering and naming, and sets the ID inside of the generated file.


When you are done with the migrator you should call


to release the MongoDB connections pool. Once disposed the migrator cannot be used anymore.

The cb is a Node-style callback:

function cb(error).