Skip to content
The Offical User's Guide to OrbitDB
JavaScript HTML Makefile
Branch: master
Clone or download
Latest commit 91f72d8 Aug 22, 2019
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
00_Introduction Update Aug 20, 2019
01_Tutorial Update Aug 22, 2019
02_Thinking_Peer_to_Peer Updates to serverless description May 4, 2019
03_The_Architecture_of_OrbitDB Fix MD link syntax & typo Jun 6, 2019
04_What_Next Rename to Apr 3, 2019
05_Appendix Use italics for glossary terms Apr 29, 2019
code_examples Use latest OrbitDB js bundle if in browser. Jun 7, 2019
dist new dist files Apr 11, 2019
images Add files via upload Apr 29, 2019
.gitignore gitignore Feb 28, 2019 Add CoC Apr 3, 2019
Makefile Linting Mar 11, 2019 Fixing case on readme links to section 4 May 5, 2019
markdownlint.json Linting Mar 11, 2019
metadata.yaml removing thanks section Apr 5, 2019
package-lock.json Linting Feb 28, 2019
package.json Missing artifact from package was causing it to fail. Fixed. Jun 3, 2019

The OrbitDB Field Manual

An end-to-end tutorial, an in-depth look at OrbitDB's architecture, and even some philosophical musings about decentralization and the distributed industry. From the creators of OrbitDB.


What's in the book?

The book opens with an introduction that gives an overview of the promises and risks of the distributed space, and describes OrbitDB and its use cases at a high level.

The tutorial at the beginning takes you through building a JavaScript application from scratch. You will work through installation and database creation, though managing and structuring your data, through networking, communication, and sharing data in a peer-to-peer fashion, and finally through managing distributed identity and access to the databases. By the end of the tutorial, you should have everything you need

Next, Thinking Peer to Peer is a collection of essays that approach peer-to-peer engineering from a more intellectual and philosophical aspect. It is light on code and heavy on ideas. It is also open for community members to submit essays of their own for inclusion, pending an editorial review.

Then, The Architecture of OrbitDB covers in-depth, in a more reference style, how OrbitDB is structured and architected. It includes a description of ipfs-log, the core of OrbitDB, the data stores and finally into how the orbit-db library packages it all together into a single, cohesive package that works in both the browser and the command line.

Finally, What comes next? provides some guidance and suggestions into the next topics you explore. This will serve as a launch pad to further amplify your understanding of how our distributed future will be built.

How to read this book

While this book is best consumed by reading cover-to-cover, we understand that your time is valuable and you want to get the most out of it in the shortest amount of time. Here are some suggestions to that effect.

If you are a technical person and want to use OrbitDB to build distributed, peer-to-peer applications, start with Part 1: The tutorial, move to Part 3: The Architecture of OrbitDB. Then, read chapters from Part 2 and Part 4 as you need them to fill in any gaps in knoweldge you may have.

If you do not want to write code, and want to understand peer-to-peer systems and architectures at a higher level, you should be able to get away with only reading Part 2: Thinking Peer to Peer, and then moving on to Part 4, followed by Part 3 to complete your understanding of OrbitDB and peer-to-peer systems in general.

Please note that we may repeat ourselves across different parts of the book, which means there may be some redundancy. This is intentional as we cannot guarantee people will read the book in order. Feel free to skim any sections that you already feel like you understand.

Getting the book

You can download a copy of the book for here, available for download in the following free formats:


Mark Henderson (@aphelionz) is the maintainer and lead author of the OrbitDB field manual. However, this work is built upon the work and input of many other people:


This is a living, community-based document, which means it is for and can include you.

Anybody can:

  1. Give feedback on, or request modifications to, the tutorial
  2. Submit an essay for inclusion in the "Thinking Peer to Peer" section.

To do so, create a pull request, which are are welcome and accepted.

Please look at and follow the Code of Conduct.


Requires Pandoc to convert markdown to other formats.

  1. Make your edits in the markdown files
  2. npm run lint to make sure your edits meet linting standards
  3. npm run build to populate the dist folder
  4. Manually audit the dist output to ensure no errors were made
  5. Create your PR!


The OrbitDB Field Manual is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License by Haja Networks Oy.

CC BY-NC 4.0

You can’t perform that action at this time.