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Connecting to PostgreSQL

The following tutorial introduces how to set up PostgreSQL as the data source of LoopBack 4 applications with LoopBack PostgreSQL connector.


Before starting this tutorial, make sure you have the following installed:

Tutorial - PostgreSQL

1. Create a new LoopBack 4 app

Let’s use the LB4 CLI lb4 app to create a LoopBack 4 application called MyApp:

$ lb4 app
? Project name: my-app
? Project description: postgreSQL connector tutorial
? Project root directory: my-app
? Application class name: MyAppApplication
? Select features to enable in the project (Press <space> to select, <a> to togg
le all, <i> to invert selection)
❯◉ Enable eslint: add a linter with pre-configured lint rules
 ◉ Enable prettier: install prettier to format code conforming to rules
 ◉ Enable mocha: install mocha to run tests
 ◉ Enable loopbackBuild: use @loopback/build helpers (e.g. lb-eslint)
 ◉ Enable vscode: add VSCode config files
 ◉ Enable docker: include Dockerfile and .dockerignore
 ◉ Enable repositories: include repository imports and RepositoryMixin
(Move up and down to reveal more choices)

2. Create models

Let’s create a simple model User. To keep the tutorial short, the prompts of lb4 model are skipped:

// imports
export class User extends Entity {
    type: 'number',
    id: true,
    generated: true,
  id?: number;

    type: 'string',
  name?: string;

    type: 'boolean',
    required: true,
  hasAccount: boolean;

  constructor(data?: Partial<User>) {

3. Create a data source

Next, let’s create a dataSource db using PostgreSQL connector with the following setups:

agnes:my-app agnes$ lb4 datasource
? Datasource name: db
? Select the connector for db:
  MySQL (supported by StrongLoop)
❯ PostgreSQL (supported by StrongLoop)
  Oracle (supported by StrongLoop)
? Connection String url to override other settings (eg: postgres://username:pass
? host: localhost
? port: 5432
? user: loopback
? password: [hidden]
? database: demo

Datasource Db was created in src/datasources/

Under src/datasources/db.datasource.ts, we can find the DBDataSource class and the config we just set:

const config = {
  name: 'db',
  connector: 'postgresql',
  url: '',
  host: 'localhost',
  port: 5432,
  user: 'loopback',
  password: 'pa55w0rd',
  database: 'demo',

4. Create repositories

Repository is a artifact that ties the model and the datasource. We will need to create the repository for the User class before accessing the database. The steps of creating UserRepository by running lb4 repository are skipped here:

// imports
export class UserRepository extends DefaultCrudRepository<
> {
  constructor(@inject('datasources.db') dataSource: DbDataSource) {
    super(User, dataSource);

5. Database migration

LoopBack provides a convenient way to create schemas/tables/collections for our models if we don’t have corresponding schemas defined in the database. Once we created the above artifacts, run the following commands:

  1. Build the project:
$ npm run build
  1. Migrate database schemas (alter existing tables):
$ npm run migrate

This would generate the corresponding PostgreSQL table user using the metadata from User via Auto-migrate. See Database Migrate section below for information.

If you check the database, you should able to see the table user.

 column_name |          column_default          | data_type
 id          | nextval('user_id_seq'::regclass) | integer
 name        |                                  | text
 hasaccount  |                                  | boolean

6. Create endpoints and view data using API Explorer

Once we built a controller with lb4 controller to handle requests, from the project root, start the app:

$ npm start

We can verify what we just created with API Explorer http://localhost:3000/explorer/.

Database Migration

Database migration helps you create relational database schemas based on definitions of your models. Besides the basic model metadata, you can also specify part of the database schema definition via the property definition, which would be mapped to the database. See Data Mapping Properties.

Model Discover

While database migration allows you to migrate models to the DB, LoopBack also provides a command lb4 discover to generate models based on schemas from the database. For example, we can try to discover the user table we created previously:

$ npm run build
$ lb4 discover
? Select the connector to discover  db
? Select the models which to discover  user
? Select a convention to convert db column names(EXAMPLE_COLUMN) to model proper
ty names: Camel case (exampleColumn) (Recommended)
? Overwrite src/models/user.model.ts? overwrite
    force src/models/user.model.ts
   update src/models/index.ts

Models User was created in src/models/

As we can see, the newly generated User model would contain database specific details:

// imports
  settings: {idInjection: false, postgresql: {schema: 'public', table: 'user'}},
export class User extends Entity {
    type: 'number',
    required: true,
    scale: 0,
    id: 1,
    postgresql: {
      columnName: 'id',
      dataType: 'integer',
      dataLength: null,
      dataPrecision: null,
      dataScale: 0,
      nullable: 'NO',
  id: number;

    type: 'string',
    postgresql: {
      columnName: 'name',
      dataType: 'text',
      dataLength: null,
      dataPrecision: null,
      dataScale: null,
      nullable: 'YES',
  name?: string;
  // ...

These definitions would map to the database as well, see Data Mapping Properties.