TypeScript icon, indicating that this package has built-in type declarations

2.0.1 • Public • Published

MelonFire: WatermelonDB / Firestore Sync

MelonFire implements the WatermelonDB sync protocol via RNFirebase's React Native integration with Firestore. By integrating MelonFire, you can easily back up your WatermelonDB database with your Firestore instance in the cloud without writing any code yourself.


npm install melon-fire


yarn install melon-fire


import firestore from "@react-native-firebase/firestore";
import { Database } from  "@nozbe/watermelondb";
import { syncMelonFire } from "melon-fire";

async function onSyncButtonPushOrRandomTimer(
  db: Database,
  userId: string,
) {
  const syncDocRef = firestore()
  return await syncMelonFire(db, syncDocRef);

Note for Upgraders to v2.0+

We now use a named export for syncMelonFire, which was needed because microbundle doesn't support having both a default export and a named export. So you'll now need to import { syncMelonFire } from "melon-fire" instead.

Notes on Usage

  • userId doesn't have to literally be a user id. It can be any valid Firestore doc ID that you want associated with the backup/sync in Firestore. Similarly, your collection doesn't have to be "users" — it can be anything you want.
  • You pass a DocumentReference to MelonFire, which will then write several of its own fields into the document (currently: melonLatestRevision, melonLatestDate, and melonBatchTokens). It'll also create a collection under syncDocRef for each table in your database, as well as a collection called melonDeletes where it stores deletions. If you don't mind these fields and collections living in a shared doc with other things (e.g. if you want MelonFire's data to be kept in your user's profile doc), it's fine; MelonFire won't overwrite your other fields/collections.
  • syncMelonFire will throw if there are sync errors. Note that, in accordance with WatermelonDB's guidance, syncMelonFire will actually catch the first error it receives and retry sync one time on its own. This, for instance, automatically resolves the most common sync issue, which is that another writer has updated the cloud records since you last pulled changes. But in cases where the first retry fails, syncMelonFire will throw.
  • Depending on the size of your DB and your network connection, syncMelonFire could take a while (especially if, say, you're pulling or pushing a ton of changes). You don't necessarily have to await syncMelonFire if you're sure your app can move on and do other things while sync is processing in the background, but that might be a bad idea for most apps because you don't want to be modifying the database even while sync is running (since your new changes might conflict with what it pulls down from the cloud). But this is ultimately up to your judgment — you know your app best.
  • Please consider MelonFire's limitations before adopting it.

How It Works

The WatermelonDB sync protocol is actually non-trivial to implement, especially if you'd like to sync your DB into Firestore. For example:

  1. Timestamps are suggested by the WatermelonDB docs, but they're subtly and annoyingly tricky. Have you considered leap seconds? Spring-forward/fall-back? Millisecond-level jitter/inconsistency on servers? If you get timestamps wrong, your DB backup gets corrupted.
  2. Firestore has a batch write / transaction limit of 500 writes. How will you guarantee atomic write operations when backing up, if you have more than 500 edits since the last write? Existing solutions ignore this, but MelonFire makes it possible to keep a consistent backup in Firestore despite this limitation.
  3. WatermelonDB requires you to track the difference between creates and updates, as well as to maintain lazy deletion records. This makes the "obvious" implementation of simply calling firestore().blah.set(), firestore().blah.update(), and firestore().blah.delete() incorrect.
  4. Reads can be inconsistent if you're not careful to shield against concurrency between readers and writers. MelonFire ensures consistent reads without succumbing to Firestore's transaction limits.


MelonFire is a client-side library that relies on RNFirebase's Firestore integration. This means you won't need to push or maintain cloud functions, but can instead just integrate MelonFire into your app for easy DB sync or backup into Firestore. MelonFire overcomes the challenges listed above by:

  1. using atomically-incremented change counters instead of timestamps. This guarantees ordering even if the server changes its mind about what time it is. This also makes sync independent of client time.
  2. using Firestore transactions when you have less than 500 changes, for maximum efficiency. But when your changeset is larger than that, MelonFire writes your changes into a side doc and a set of collections (one per table); these are then atomically integrated into the main backup only when all writes are successful, guaranteeing that half-completed large batches never corrupt the database.
  3. tracking changesets distinctly so that creates remain creates, updates remain updates, and deletes are persisted lazily in order for future updates to be correct regardless of the number of revisions pulled.
  4. implementing an append-only, version-tracked set of records in Firestore that shield readers against concurrent writers.

Though MelonFire's architecture allows it to maintain consistency despite Firestore's 500-write limit, note that a consequence is that large batch writes are stored in Firestore without merging with past or future records. At the extreme, if your app only ever pushes huge batches (e.g. you modify the same 10k records every day, and then want to sync with the cloud daily), you'll be storing a copy of those records for each sync. Whereas if you only ever pushed less than 500 records at a time, MelonFire would never have more than one doc in Firestore for any one row in your database. If someone has a clever (and functionally correct) alternative to this implementation, please let me know.


  • schemaVersion and migrations from WatermelonDB's sync protocol aren't supported yet. This isn't a technical limitation — it's merely because I don't myself need these yet. If you have a need to process migrations, please submit a PR and I'll be happy to integrate your work. Or I'll get to it when I need it. If you use MelonFire in the meantime, just realize this means that migrations won't work (i.e. if you start changing your schema, this library won't maintain consistent data for you).
  • The amount of storage needed in Firestore could exceed your database size, depending on your usage pattern. As described in the Architecture section above, MelonFire replicates records when you push more than 500 changes at a time. If you sync more often than that, your Firestore data consumption will stay proportional with your database size.
  • MelonFire has only been tested in one app (knowingly, by me) so far. It doesn't have automation tests. I'm super-open to PRs that strengthen the testing, as well as people opening issues on MelonFire. I just wanted to be upfront about the robustness of the library.

Package Sidebar


Weekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

156 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • fivecar