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Database management

One of Gaudi's primary goals is to provide developers with best possible tools and processes for handling database, both in development and production.

Gaudi comes with a powerful and expressive data modeling syntax, ensuring that your models serve as a single source of truth for all types throughout your APIs and integrations

However, a great modeling syntax is not the only area where Gaudi can assist you. Managing the database structure and data changes (also known as migrations) can be a tedious and error-prone process. To alleviate this, Gaudi offers a comprehensive set of database management tools through the Gaudi CLI, making this process as painless as possible.

This process can be divided in two different phases: development and production.


This is where changes in database structure and data are very often and very iterative. Developers iterate and explore their ideas and often revert all or only parts of their changes and go into different direction or even jump between git branches with completely different database structures and accompanying data. In these circumstances, manually maintaining database structure and data can become a challenging task.

The key characteristic of this phase is the volatility of changes in both structure and data. The most viable approach is to embrace a strategy of continuous recreation for both structure AND data.

Recreating a database structure is straightforward. Whenever you make changes to your model, whether manually or by changing git branches, Gaudi will automatically apply those changes to your database. The challenge with this is that it can incur potential data loss. This is where Gaudi populator comes in. Populators use Gaudi syntax similar to APIs but instead of exposing your data, their purpose is to create your data. Therefore, when Gaudi recreates your database structure, it can simultaneously recreate your data. Both problems solved! 🎉


model Item {
field name { type string }
field description { type string, nullable }

// populator named "Dev"
populator Dev {
// create 15 Item records
populate Item as item {
repeat as iter 15

// set model props
set name "Item " + stringify(iter.current)
set description "Description of item " + stringify(iter.current)

Applying "Dev" populator

npx gaudi db populate -p Dev

If you need more that one dataset, you can create different populators for different situations, e.g.

  • very few simple data for easier development,
  • very strict data format for testing
  • 1000s of real world but random data for UI testing or demoing to a client.
  • ...

Furthermore, populators are a part of Gaudi source code so when e.g. switching between git branches, you don't need to be aware of database structure changes nor the data required to prefill your database. Just allow Gaudi to sync your model and data and you're up and running.


Once development process comes to an end and changes to database structure have stabilized, it's time to prepare for their application to the production database.

Migration files are created by taking a "snapshot" of current database structure. Migration file is essentially an SQL script which will modify your database to match the latest structure. The reason this process is'nt' automated, unlike in the development phase, is because production data is not volatile and once lost it's not easily recoverable. By creating a migration file, you have the opportunity to revise proposed modifications and take action if necessary.

Creating migration file
npx gaudi db migrate --name="changes_description"

This will create a migration file in your source folder. This file should be placed under source control and distributed with your application, allowing it to be replayed on the production database.

After deploying an application to production, it's essential to replay the migration files first to update the production database.

Applying changes to another database
npx gaudi db deploy

Gaudi will compare the live database with expected structure described in models and migration files. If anything unexpected occurs, the process will be aborted. If all goes well, you have your new database and you can start your application.


Gaudi leverages Prisma library for managing database migrations. Prisma is an excellent database library and provides a robust foundation for our current migration requirements. However, we're always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the database management experience. In the future, we may explore alternative options if they provide a smoother migration experience.