A simple library to manage application persistence using multiple database adapters

0.34.1 2023-03-23 07:23 UTC

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Last update: 2023-03-23 23:55:10 UTC


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Utopia framework database library is simple and lite library for managing application persistency using multiple database adapters. This library is aiming to be as simple and easy to learn and use. This library is maintained by the Appwrite team.

Although this library is part of the Utopia Framework project it is dependency free, and can be used as standalone with any other PHP project or framework.

Getting Started

Install using composer:

composer require utopia-php/database


A list of the utopia/php concepts and their relevant equivalent using the different adapters

  • Database - An instance of the utopia/database library that abstracts one of the supported adapters and provides a unified API for CRUD operation and queries on a specific schema or isolated scope inside the underlining database.
  • Adapter - An implementation of an underlying database engine that this library can support - below is a list of supported adapters and supported capabilities for each Adapter.
  • Collection - A set of documents stored on the same adapter scope. For SQL-based adapters, this will be equivalent to a table. For a No-SQL adapter, this will equivalent to a native collection.
  • Document - A simple JSON object that will be stored in one of the utopia/database collections. For SQL-based adapters, this will be equivalent to a row. For a No-SQL adapter, this will equivalent to a native document.
  • Attribute - A simple document attribute. For SQL-based adapters, this will be equivalent to a column. For a No-SQL adapter, this will equivalent to a native document field.
  • Index - A simple collection index used to improve the performance of your database queries.
  • Permissions - Using permissions, you can decide which roles have read, create, update and delete access for a specific document. The special attribute $permissions is used to store permission metadata for each document in the collection. A permission role can be any string you want. You can use Authorization::setRole() to delegate new roles to your users, once obtained a new role a user would gain read, create, update or delete access to a relevant document.


Attribute filters are functions that manipulate attributes before saving them to the database and after retrieving them from the database. You can add filters using the Database::addFilter($name, $encode, $decode) where $name is the name of the filter that we can add later to attribute filters array. $encode and $decode are the functions used to encode and decode the attribute, respectively. There are also instance-level filters that can only be defined while constructing the Database instance. Instance level filters override the static filters if they have the same name.

Reserved Attributes

  • $id - the document unique ID, you can set your own custom ID or a random UID will be generated by the library.
  • $createdAt - the document creation date, this attribute is automatically set when the document is created.
  • $updatedAt - the document update date, this attribute is automatically set when the document is updated.
  • $collection - an attribute containing the name of the collection the document is stored in.
  • $permissions - an attribute containing an array of strings. Each string represent a specific action and role. If your user obtains that role for that action they will have access for this document.

Attribute Types

The database document interface only supports primitives types (strings, integers, floats, and booleans) translated to their native database types for each of the relevant database adapters. Complex types like arrays or objects will be encoded to JSON strings when stored and decoded back when fetched from their adapters.


Some examples to help you get started.

Creating a database:

require_once __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';

use PDO;
use Utopia\Database\Database;
use Utopia\Database\Adapter\MariaDB;
use Utopia\Cache\Cache;
use Utopia\Cache\Adapter\None as NoCache;

$dbHost = 'mariadb';
$dbPort = '3306';
$dbUser = 'root';
$dbPass = 'password';

$pdo = new PDO("mysql:host={$dbHost};port={$dbPort};charset=utf8mb4", $dbUser, $dbPass, [
    PDO::ATTR_TIMEOUT => 3, // Seconds

$cache = new Cache(new NoCache()); // or use any cache adapter you wish

$database = new Database(new MariaDB($pdo), $cache);
$database->create(); // Creates a new schema named `mydb`

Creating a collection:


// Add attributes
$database->createAttribute('movies', 'name', Database::VAR_STRING, 128, true);
$database->createAttribute('movies', 'director', Database::VAR_STRING, 128, true);
$database->createAttribute('movies', 'year', Database::VAR_INTEGER, 0, true);
$database->createAttribute('movies', 'price', Database::VAR_FLOAT, 0, true);
$database->createAttribute('movies', 'active', Database::VAR_BOOLEAN, 0, true);
$database->createAttribute('movies', 'genres', Database::VAR_STRING, 32, true, true, true);

// Create an Index
$database->createIndex('movies', 'index1', Database::INDEX_KEY, ['year'], [128], [Database::ORDER_ASC]);

Create a document:

static::getDatabase()->createDocument('movies', new Document([
    '$permissions' => [
    'name' => 'Captain Marvel',
    'director' => 'Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck',
    'year' => 2019,
    'price' => 25.99,
    'active' => true,
    'genres' => ['science fiction', 'action', 'comics'],

Get Document:

// Get document with all attributes
$document = static::getDatabase()->getDocument('movies', '1');

// Get document with a sub-set of attributes
$document = static::getDatabase()->getDocument('movies', '1', [
    Query::select(['name', 'director', 'year']),


$documents = static::getDatabase()->find('movies', [
    Query::equal('year', [2019]),


Below is a list of supported adapters, and their compatibly tested versions alongside a list of supported features and relevant limits.

Adapter Status Version
MariaDB 10.5
MySQL 8.0
Postgres 🛠 13.0
MongoDB 5.0
SQLlite 3.38

✅ - supported, 🛠 - work in progress

Limitations (to be completed per adapter)

  • ID max size can be 255 bytes
  • ID can only contain [^A-Za-z0-9] and symbols _ -
  • Document max size is x bytes
  • Collection can have a max of x attributes
  • Collection can have a max of x indexes
  • Index value max size is x bytes. Values over x bytes are truncated

System Requirements

Utopia Framework requires PHP 8.0 or later. We recommend using the latest PHP version whenever possible.


To run tests, you first need to bring up the example Docker stack with the following command:

docker compose up -d --build

To run all unit tests, use the following Docker command:

docker compose exec tests vendor/bin/phpunit --configuration phpunit.xml tests

To run tests for a single file, use the following Docker command structure:

docker compose exec tests vendor/bin/phpunit --configuration phpunit.xml tests/Database/[FILE_PATH]

To run static code analysis, use the following Psalm command:

docker compose exec tests vendor/bin/psalm --show-info=true

Load testing

Three commands have been added to bin/ to fill, index, and query the DB to test changes:

  • bin/load invokes bin/tasks/load.php
  • bin/index invokes bin/tasks/index.php
  • bin/query invokes bin/tasks/query.php

To test your DB changes under load:

Load the database

docker compose exec tests bin/load --adapter=[adapter] --limit=[limit] [--name=[name]]

# [adapter]: either 'mongodb' or 'mariadb', no quotes
# [limit]: integer of total documents to generate
# [name]: (optional) name for new database

Create indexes

docker compose exec tests bin/index --adapter=[adapter] --name=[name]

# [adapter]: either 'mongodb' or 'mariadb', no quotes
# [name]: name of filled database by bin/load

Run Query Suite

docker compose exec tests bin/query --adapter=[adapter] --limit=[limit] --name=[name]

# [adapter]: either 'mongodb' or 'mariadb', no quotes
# [limit]: integer of query limit (default 25)
# [name]: name of filled database by bin/load

Visualize Query Results

docker compose exec tests bin/compare

Navigate to localhost:8708 to visualize query results.

Copyright and license

The MIT License (MIT) http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php