upper-db provides a common interface to work with different data sources using adapters that wrap mature database drivers.

The main purpose of db is to abstract common database tasks (CRUD) and provide tools for Go developers to perform complex queries when they need to.

db supports the MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite and QL databases and provides partial support (CRUD, no transactions) for MongoDB.

upper.io/db.v2 package

Living on the edge? We’re preparing a new db.v3 release for Go1.8+, see v3’s site or check out our v2 to v3 migration guide.

Key concepts


A database context is known as a session. You can create a session by importing the adapter package and using the Open() function that all adapters provide:

import (
  "upper.io/db.v2/postgresql" // The PostgreSQL adapter

// Connection settings.
var settings = postgresql.ConnectionURL{
  Host:     "",
  User:     "foo",
  Password: "bar",

func main() {
  sess, err := postgresql.Open(settings) // Open a connection.

The Collection() method of a session gives you a table reference, known as collection:

// The "people" table.
people = sess.Collection("people")

A collection reference provides special methods to perform operations on the underlying table, such as Find() which can be used to define a subset of items that match given conditions, this is known as a result set:

var marias []Person
// SELECT * FROM people WHERE name = 'María'
res = people.Find("name", "María")
err = res.All(&marias)

Find() returns a result set, which is like lazy query that gets compiled and executed only when a method is called on it.

// All builds and executes a `SELECT * FROM ...` query.
err = res.All(&marias)

// One builds and executes a `SELECT * FROM ... LIMIT 1` query.
err = res.One(&maria)

Besides querying data, you can also perform other operations on res, such as updating all the items on the result set at once:

// UPDATE people SET ... WHERE ...
err = res.Update(newData)

Or deleting all matching items:

// DELETE FROM article WHERE ...
err = sess.Collection("article").
  Find("date_created < ? and draft = ?", oneWeekAgo, true).

The figure below ilustrates the session, collection, Find() and result set concepts:


Besides giving tools for collections and result sets, sessions also have a built-in SQLish query builder that gives more freedom while keeping manual SQL writing at bay.

q = sess.SelectFrom("people").Where("name = ?", "María")
err = q.All(&marias)

Advanced SQL commands should not be over-thinked or forced to fit into the collection / result set syntax, if you feel like you need SQL then you can just feed queries into the session:

sqlRes, err = sess.Exec("CREATE TABLE ...") // sqlRes is a sql.Result

// The ? placeholder is automatically expanded into whatever placeholder the
// database expects.
sqlRows, err = tx.Query("SELECT * FROM (SELECT ... UNION ...) WHERE id > ?", 9)

// sqlRows is an *sql.Rows object, so you can use Scan() on it
err = sqlRows.Scan(&a, &b, ...)

// Or you could create and iterator to help you with mapping fields into
// a struct

// Just make sure you're importing the `sqlbuilder` package:
import "upper.io/db.v2/lib/sqlbuilder"

// And create a new Iterator with any *sql.Rows object:
iter = sqlbuilder.NewIterator(sqlRows)
err = iter.All(&item)

See more code examples and patterns on our examples page.


The upper.io/db.v2 package depends on the Go compiler and tools and it’s compatible with Go 1.4 and above.

go get -v -u upper.io/db.v2

If the above command does not work for some reason, you can always pull the source directly from GitHub:

export UPPERIO_V2=$GOPATH/src/upper.io/db.v2
rm -rf $UPPERIO_V2
mkdir -p $UPPERIO_V2
git clone https://github.com/upper/db.git $UPPERIO_V2
go build && go install

Supported databases

Here’s the list of currently supported adapters, make sure to read the instructions from the specific adapter for installation instructions:

Basic usage

In order to use db efficiently you can follow some recommended patterns:

  1. This is not a full-featured ORM, make sure you understand the database you’re working with.
  2. Use Go structs to describe data models. One struct per table is a common thing.
  3. Try to use the collection / result set model first.
  4. When in doubt, use the query builder or plain SQL.

Mapping tables to structs

Add a db struct tag next to an exported field to map that field to a table column:

type Person struct {
  ID       uint64 `db:"id,omitempty"` // Use `omitempty` to prevent
                                      // the adapter from sending
                                      // this value if it's zero.
  Name     string `db:"name"`
  LastName string `db:"last_name"`

You can safely mix db struct tags with other struct tags, such as those used to map JSON:

type Person struct {
  ID        uint64 `db:"id,omitempty" json:"id"`
  Name      string `db:"name" json:"name"`
  Password  string `db:"password,omitempty" json:"-"`

If you want the adapter to ignore a field completely, set a hyphen (-) as its name:

type Person struct {
  Token    string `db:"-"` // The adapter will skip this field.

Note that if you don’t provide explicit mappings the adapter will try to use the field name with a case-sensitive lookup.

Other mappings: Using JSON on PostgreSQL

The postgresql adapter supports saving and retrieving JSON data when using JSON types, if you want to try this out, make sure your column is of jsonb type and that you’re using the jsonb option when mapping your field:

type Person struct {
  Properties  []string                `db:"properties,jsonb"`
  Meta        map[string]interface{}  `db:"meta,jsonb"`

JSON types area supported on PostgreSQL 9.4+.

Setting up a database session

Import the adapter package into your application:

import (
  "upper.io/db.v2/postgresql" // PostgreSQL package

All adapters include a ConnectionURL struct that you can use to create a DSN:

var settings = postgresql.ConnectionURL{
  User:     "john",
  Password: "p4ss",
  Address:  "",
  Database: "myprojectdb",

fmt.Printf("DSN: %s", settings) // settings.String() is a DSN

You can use the settings value to create a database session by passing it to the Open() function of your adapter:

sess, err = postgresql.Open(settings)

This sess variable is a db.Database type.

One important db.Database method is Collection(), use it to get a collection reference.

users = sess.Collection("users") // A reference to the users table.

Once you’re done with the database session, you must use the Close() method on it to close and free all associated resources:

err = sess.Close()

Note that Go servers are long-lived process, you may never need to manually Close() a session unless you don’t need it at all anymore.

Inserting a new item into a collection

You can use the database session sess to get a collection reference and insert a value into it:

// Creates a value
person := Person{
  Name:     "Hedy",
  LastName: "Lamarr",

// Gets a collection reference
people  = sess.Collection("people")

// Inserts the value into the collection
id, err = people.Insert(person)

// Note that chaining works fine too
id, err = sess.Collection("people").Insert(person)

Defining a result set with Find()

You can use Find() on a collection reference to get a result set from that collection.

// Find() with no conditions is a reference to all items
// on the collection:
res = sess.Collection("people").Find()

// You can use a `db.Cond` map to reduce the subset of
// items that will be queried:
res = sess.Collection("people").Find(db.Cond{
  "id": 25,

// On SQL databases a string-like syntax is also accepted:
res = sess.Collection("people").Find("id", 25)

// Equality is the default operator, but it's easy to use
// different operators:
res = sess.Collection("people").Find("id >", 29)

// Use the `?` placeholder to map arguments by position:
res = sess.Collection("people").Find("id > ? AND id < ?", 20, 39)

// Or the And/Or methods if you prefer:
res = sess.Collection("people").Find("id >", 20).And("id <", 39)

res = sess.Collection("people").Find("id", 20).Or("id", 21)

// If the table has a primary key, you can look up by that
// key by providing it as sole argument:
res = sess.Collection("people").Find(20)

db.Collection.Find() returns a result set reference, or db.Result.

Adding constraints

db.Cond{} is a map[interface{}]interface{} type that represents conditions, by default db.Cond expresses an equality between columns and values:

cond = db.Cond{
  "id": 36, // id = 36

As with Find(), you can also add operators next to the column name to change the equality into something else:

cond = db.Cond{
  "id >=": 36, // id >= 36

cond = db.Cond{
  "name LIKE": "Pete%", // SQL: name LIKE 'Pete%'

Note that db.Cond is a just map and it accepts multiple keys:

// name = 'John' AND last_name = 'Smi%'
cond = db.Cond{
  "name": "John",
  "last_name LIKE": "Smi%",

Composing conditions: db.Or and db.And

The db.Or() function takes one or more db.Cond{} maps and joins them under the OR disjunction:

// (name = 'John' OR name = 'Jhon')
  db.Cond{"name": "John"},
  db.Cond{"name": "Jhon"},

The db.And() function is like db.Or(), except it joins statements under the AND conjunction:

// (age > 21 AND age < 28)
  db.Cond{"age >": 21},
  db.Cond{"age <": 28},

// Which is the same as:
  "age >": 21,
  "age <": 28,

// Perhaps db.And is more useful in situations like:
  db.Cond{"name": "john"},
  db.Cond{"name": "jhon"},

Both db.Or() and db.And() can take other db.Or() and db.And() nested values:

// (
//   (age > 21 AND age < 28)
//   AND
//   (name = 'Joanna' OR name = 'John' OR name = 'Jhon')
// )
    db.Cond{"age >": 21},
    db.Cond{"age <": 28},
    db.Cond{"name": "Joanna"},
    db.Cond{"name": "John"},
    db.Cond{"name": "Jhon"},

Special conditions for SQL databases

SQL databases support conditions with a string part:

res = col.Find("id", 9)     // id = 9

res = col.Find("id = ?", 9) // id = 9

res = col.Find("id = 9")    // id = 9 is possible but not recommended

This is how you could compose queries with different conditions:

// name = "John" OR name = "María"
res = col.Find("name", "John").Or("name", "María")

// name = "John" AND last_name = "Smith"
res = col.Find("name", "John").And("last_name", "Smith")

// The ? placeholder is automatically converted to $1, $2, etc. on databases
// that require it.

// name = "John" AND last_name = "Smith"
res = col.Find("name = ? AND last_name = ?", "John", "Smith")

Getting the number of items in the result set

Use the Count() method to get the number of items on a result set:

res = col.Find(...)

c, err = res.Count()

fmt.Printf("There are %d items", c)

Options for limiting and sorting results

Reduce the number of results you want to walk over using the Limit() and Offset() methods of db.Result:

res = col.Find(...)

err = res.Offset(2).Limit(8).All(&accounts)

Use the OrderBy() method to order them:

res = col.Find(...)

err = res.OrderBy("-last_name").All(&accounts) // OrderBy by last_name descending order

Note: The Limit(), Offset(), and OrderBy() methods only affect the All() and One() methods, they don’t have any effect on Delete(), Update() or Count().

Dealing with NULL values

The database/sql package provides some special types (NullBool, NullFloat64, NullInt64 and NullString) which can be used to represent values than could be NULL.

SQL adapters support those special types with no additional effort:

type TestType struct {
  Salary sql.NullInt64 `db:"salary"`

Another way of using null values is by using pointers on field values:

type TestType struct {
  FirstName *string `db:"first_name"`

In the above struct, the FirstName pointer would be nil when no value was present on the table. Use with care.

The Marshaler and Unmarshaler interfaces

db defines two special interfaces that can be used to marshal struct fields before saving them the database and unmarshal them when retrieving from it:

type Marshaler interface {
  MarshalDB() (interface{}, error)

type Unmarshaler interface {
  UnmarshalDB(interface{}) error

This comes in very handy when dealing with custom struct field types that db does not know how to convert.

type LatLong struct {
  Lat  float64
  Long float64

func (ll LatLong) MarshalDB() (interface{}, error) {
  // Encode ll before saving it to the database.
  return encodeLatLng(ll), nil

func (ll *LatLong) UnmarshalDB(v interface{}) (error) {
  // Decode the encoded value v into the custom type.
  *ll = decodeLatLng(fmt.Sprintf("%v", v))
  return nil

type Point struct {
  LL LatLong `db:"ll,omitempty"`

Advanced usage

The basic collection/result won’t be appropriate for some situations, when this happens, you can use db as a simple bridge between SQL queries and Go types.

SQL adapters come with a SQL builder, try it and see if it fits your needs:

q = sess.Select("name").From("accounts").

err = q.All(&accounts)

If the SQL builder is not able to express what you want, you can use hand-made SQL queries directly:

rows, err = sess.Query(`SELECT * FROM accounts WHERE id = ?`, 5)

row, err = sess.QueryRow(`SELECT * FROM accounts WHERE id = ? LIMIT ?`, 5, 1)

res, err = sess.Exec(`DELETE FROM accounts WHERE id = ?`, 5)

SQL queries like the above can also be mapped to Go structs by using an iterator:

import "upper.io/db.v2/lib/sqlbuilder"

rows, err = sess.Query(`SELECT * FROM accounts WHERE last_name = ?`, "Smith")

var accounts []Account
iter := sqlbuilder.NewIterator(rows)
err = iter.All(&accounts)

See SQL builder.


Use the NewTx() method on a session to create a transaction context:

tx, err = sess.NewTx()

id, err = tx.Collection("accounts").Insert(account)

res = tx.Collection("people").Find(...)

err = tx.Commit()

The returned tx value is a db.Transaction type, which is identical to a regular db.Session, except that it also has the Commit() and Rollback() methods which can be used to execute the transaction or to discard it completely.

Once the transaction is commited or rolled back, the transaction will close itself and won’t be able to accept more commands.

Tips and tricks


You can force the adapter to print SQL statements and errors to standard output by using the UPPERIO_DB_DEBUG environment variable:

UPPERIO_DB_DEBUG=1 ./go-program

Working with the underlying driver

Some situations will require you to use methods that are only available from the underlying driver, the db.Database.Driver() is there to help. For instance, if you’re in the need of using the mgo.Session.Ping method you can retrieve the underlying *mgo.Session as an interface{}, cast it with the appropriate type and use the mgo.Session.Ping() method on it, like this:

drv = sess.Driver().(*mgo.Session) // You'll need to cast the driver
                                   // into the appropiare type.
err = drv.Ping()

You can expect to do the same with an SQL adapter, just change the casting:

drv = sess.Driver().(*sql.DB)
rows, err = drv.Query("SELECT name FROM users WHERE age = ?", age)


The MIT license:

Copyright © 2013-2016 The upper.io/db authors.

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.