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Kotlin Exposed (SQL library) demo

This repository accompanies a blog post Kotlin Exposed - A lightweight SQL library.

The application stores Actors and Movies in an SQL database and exposes them via a simple REST api. The REST API is built with Javalin.

There are two variants, one with H2 and one with Postgres. H2 is the easiest starting point because it is an in-memory database.

Running with H2

Run MainWithH2.kt. It will automatically:

  1. create an in-memory H2 database
  2. create the schema
  3. load test data
  4. start a API server at localhost:8080

Running with Postgres

First start a Postgres database. If you have docker available, you can use:

docker run --name exposed-db -p 5432:5432 -e POSTGRES_USER=exposed -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=exposed -d postgres

Then run MainWithPostgresAndHikari. It will:

  1. create a HikariCP datasource connecting to the postgres database
  2. create or update the schema
  3. load test data if not already present
  4. start a API server at localhost:8080

Database diagram


Overview of code

Start by looking at how the database tables are described in code. The database structure is specified in code very similar to SQL DDL statements. No annotations or reflection required.

Notice that the database types varchar, integer and date/datetime/timestamp map to Kotlin types String and Int and joda.DateTime. Using these definitions, we can write queries in a type-safe manner using a DSL.

Router.kt contains the REST api which uses the DSL to serve requests. The executed SQL queries are logging at runtime for debugging logback.xml.

To interact with the database, simply start a transaction block:

val actorCount = transaction {

transaction uses the datasource that was configured in MainWithH2.kt or MainWithPostgresAndHikari.

You can query as much as you want within a transaction block, when it goes out of scope without an error, it will automatically commit(). Leaving the scope with an exception automatically triggers a rollback().

The last statement of the transaction is returned, as in the example. Transaction blocks can be nested, see NestedTransactions for details.

Spring transaction management

Kotlin Exposed can use the spring transaction management. Import the spring-transaction. dependency.

    implementation ""

Then create the bean in your application config:

    fun transactionManager(dataSource: HikariDataSource): SpringTransactionManager {
        val transactionManager = SpringTransactionManager(
        return transactionManager

There is also an exposed-spring-boot-starter.

Using the REST apis

When started, you can use these URL's to interact with it:

# fetch all actors
curl http://localhost:8080/actors | python -m json.tool

# fetch all actors with first name Angelina
curl http://localhost:8080/actors?firstName=Angelina

# add an actor
curl -X POST http://localhost:8080/actors -H 'application/json' \
   -d '{"firstName":"Ousmane","lastName":"Dembele","dateOfBirth":"1975-05-10"}' 

# delete an actor
curl -X DELETE http://localhost:8080/actors/2

# fetch all movies
curl http://localhost:8080/movies

# fetch a specific movie to see which actors are in it
curl http://localhost:8080/movies/2

More info

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