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CouchRest: CouchDB, close to the metal

CouchRest is based on CouchDB's couch.js test library, which I find to be concise, clear, and well designed. CouchRest lightly wraps CouchDB's HTTP API, managing JSON serialization, and remembering the URI-paths to CouchDB's API endpoints so you don't have to.

CouchRest is designed to make a simple base for application and framework-specific object oriented APIs. CouchRest is Object-Mapper agnostic, the parsed JSON it returns from CouchDB shows up as subclasses of Ruby's Hash. Naked JSON, just as it was mean to be.

Note: CouchRest only support CouchDB 0.9.0 or newer.

Easy Install

$ sudo gem install couchrest

Alternatively, you can install from Github:

$ gem sources -a (you only have to do this once)
$ sudo gem install couchrest-couchrest

Relax, it's RESTful

CouchRest rests on top of a HTTP abstraction layer using by default Heroku’s excellent REST Client Ruby HTTP wrapper. Other adapters can be added to support more http libraries.

Running the Specs

The most complete documentation is the spec/ directory. To validate your CouchRest install, from the project root directory run rake, or autotest (requires RSpec and optionally ZenTest for autotest support).

Examples (CouchRest Core)

Quick Start:

# with !, it creates the database if it doesn't already exist
@db = CouchRest.database!("")
response = @db.save_doc({:key => 'value', 'another key' => 'another value'})
doc = @db.get(response['id'])
puts doc.inspect

Bulk Save:

    {"wild" => "and random"},
    {"mild" => "yet local"},
    {"another" => ["set","of","keys"]}
# returns ids and revs of the current docs
puts @db.documents.inspect 

Creating and Querying Views:

  "_id" => "_design/first", 
  :views => {
    :test => {
      :map => "function(doc){for(var w in doc){ if(!w.match(/^_/))emit(w,doc[w])}}"
puts @db.view('first/test')['rows'].inspect 


CouchRest::ExtendedDocument is a DSL/ORM for CouchDB. Basically, ExtendedDocument seats on top of CouchRest Core to add the concept of Model. ExtendedDocument offers a lot of the usual ORM tools such as optional yet defined schema, validation, callbacks, pagination, casting and much more.

Model example

Check spec/couchrest/more and spec/fixtures/more for more examples

class Article < CouchRest::ExtendedDocument
  use_database DB
  unique_id :slug

  view_by :date, :descending => true
  view_by :user_id, :date

  view_by :tags,
    :map => 
      "function(doc) {
        if (doc['couchrest-type'] == 'Article' && doc.tags) {
            emit(tag, 1);
    :reduce => 
      "function(keys, values, rereduce) {
        return sum(values);

  property :date
  property :slug, :read_only => true
  property :title
  property :tags, :cast_as => ['String']


  save_callback :before, :generate_slug_from_title

  def generate_slug_from_title
    self['slug'] = title.downcase.gsub(/[^a-z0-9]/,'-').squeeze('-').gsub(/^\-|\-$/,'') if new?


CouchRest::ExtendedDocuments instances have 4 callbacks already defined for you: :validate, :create, :save, :update and :destroy

CouchRest::CastedModel instances have 1 callback already defined for you: :validate

Define your callback as follows:

set_callback :save, :before, :generate_slug_from_name

CouchRest uses a mixin you can find in lib/mixins/callbacks which is extracted from Rails 3, here are some simple usage examples:

set_callback :save, :before, :before_method
set_callback :save, :after,  :after_method, :if => :condition
set_callback :save, :around {|r| stuff; yield; stuff }

Or the aliased short version:

before_save :before_method, :another_method
after_save  :after_method, :another_method, :if => :condition
around_save {|r| stuff; yield; stuff }

To halt the callback, simply return a :halt symbol in your callback method.

Check the mixin or the ExtendedDocument class to see how to implement your own callbacks.


property :last_name,        :alias     => :family_name
property :read_only_value,  :read_only => true
property :name,             :length    => 4...20
property :price,            :type      => Integer


Often, you will want to store multiple objects within a document, to be able to retrieve your objects when you load the document, you can define some casting rules.

property :casted_attribute, :cast_as => 'WithCastedModelMixin'
property :keywords,         :cast_as => ["String"]
property :occurs_at,        :cast_as => 'Time', :init_method => 'parse
property :end_date,         :cast_as => 'Date', :init_method => 'parse

If you want to cast an array of instances from a specific Class, use the trick shown above ["ClassName"]


Pagination is available in any ExtendedDocument classes. Here are some usage examples:

basic usage:

Article.all.paginate(:page => 1, :per_page => 5)

note: the above query will look like: GET /db/_design/Article/_view/all?include_docs=true&skip=0&limit=5&reduce=false and only fetch 5 documents.

Slightly more advance usage:

Article.by_name(:startkey => 'a', :endkey => {}).paginate(:page => 1, :per_page => 5)

note: the above query will look like: GET /db/_design/Article/_view/by_name?startkey=%22a%22&limit=5&skip=0&endkey=%7B%7D&include_docs=true
Basically, you can paginate through the articles starting by the letter a, 5 articles at a time.

Low level usage:

Article.paginate(:design_doc => 'Article', :view_name => 'by_date',
  :per_page => 3, :page => 2, :descending => true, :key =>, :include_docs => true)

Ruby on Rails

CouchRest is compatible with rails and can even be used a Rails plugin. However, you might be interested in the CouchRest companion rails project: