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    3.4.5 • Public • Published


    Join Telegram license maintained

    EJDB2 is an embeddable JSON database engine published under MIT license.

    This project automatically builds the c to node bindings in GitHub actions, then stores them in the Github releases.

    This means you can install ejdb on an Linux, Alpine or macOS machine, without the need for c, gcc, make or any other build tools.

    For full information on ejdb2, please visit the offical project repository.

    Differences from offical library

    The official EJDB2 library for nodejs is fantastic, but this library has a few differences:

    • Reduced dependencies, resulting in faster installation
    • No build from source required (binaries precompiled and stored in github releases)
    • Therefore, no cmake, make or g++ required to install
    • Fallback to build from source when no compatable prebuilt binary found
    • Removed all typescript and yarn usages
    • Fixes a bug with unicodes characters in JSON
    • Removed all other languages bindings

    Other projects:


    npm install --save node-ejdb-lite

    Example Usage

    const { EJDB2 } = require('node-ejdb-lite');
    async function run() {
      const db = await'example.db', { truncate: true });
      var id = await db.put('parrots', {'name': 'Bianca', 'age': 4});
      console.log(`Bianca record: ${id}`);
      id = await db.put('parrots', {'name': 'Darko', 'age': 8});
      console.log(`Darko record: ${id}`);
      const q = db.createQuery('/[age > :age]', 'parrots');
      for await (const doc of q.setNumber('age', 3).stream()) {
        console.log(`Found ${doc}`);
      await db.close();


    EJDB query language (JQL) syntax inspired by ideas behind XPath and Unix shell pipes. It designed for easy querying and updating sets of JSON documents.

    JQL grammar

    JQL parser created created by peg/leg — recursive-descent parser generators for C Here is the formal parser grammar:

    Non formal JQL grammar adapted for brief overview

    Notation used below is based on SQL syntax description:

    Rule Description
    ' ' String in single quotes denotes unquoted string literal as part of query.
    { a | b } Curly brackets enclose two or more required alternative choices, separated by vertical bars.
    [ ] Square brackets indicate an optional element or clause. Multiple elements or clauses are separated by vertical bars.
    | Vertical bars separate two or more alternative syntax elements.
    ... Ellipses indicate that the preceding element can be repeated. The repetition is unlimited unless otherwise indicated.
    ( ) Parentheses are grouping symbols.
    Unquoted word in lower case Denotes semantic of some query part. For example: placeholder_name - name of any placeholder.
    QUERY = FILTERS [ '|' APPLY ] [ '|' PROJECTIONS ] [ '|' OPTS ];
    STR = { quoted_string | unquoted_string };
    JSONVAL = json_value;
    PLACEHOLDER = { ':'placeholder_name | '?' }
    FILTERS = FILTER [{ and | or } [ not ] FILTER];
      FILTER = [@collection_name]/NODE[/NODE]...;
      NODE = { '*' | '**' | NODE_EXPRESSION | STR };
                            [{ and | or } [ not ] NODE_EXPRESSION]...;
      OP =   [ '!' ] { '=' | '>=' | '<=' | '>' | '<' | ~ }
          | [ '!' ] { 'eq' | 'gte' | 'lte' | 'gt' | 'lt' }
          | [ not ] { 'in' | 'ni' | 're' };
      NODE_EXPR_LEFT = { '*' | '**' | STR | NODE_KEY_EXPR };
      NODE_KEY_EXPR = '[' '*' OP NODE_EXPR_RIGHT ']'
    APPLY = { 'apply' | 'upsert' } { PLACEHOLDER | json_object | json_array  } | 'del'
    OPTS = { 'skip' n | 'limit' n | 'count' | 'noidx' | 'inverse' | ORDERBY }...
      ORDERBY = { 'asc' | 'desc' } PLACEHOLDER | json_path
      PROJECTION = 'all' | json_path
    • json_value: Any valid JSON value: object, array, string, bool, number.
    • json_path: Simplified JSON pointer. Eg.: /foo/bar or /foo/"bar with spaces"/
    • * in context of NODE: Any JSON object key name at particular nesting level.
    • ** in context of NODE: Any JSON object key name at arbitrary nesting level.
    • * in context of NODE_EXPR_LEFT: Key name at specific level.
    • ** in context of NODE_EXPR_LEFT: Nested array value of array element under specific key.

    JQL quick introduction

    Lets play with some very basic data and queries. For simplicity we will use ejdb websocket network API which provides us a kind of interactive CLI. The same job can be done using pure C API too (ejdb2.h jql.h).

    NOTE: Take a look into JQL test cases for more examples.

      "firstName": "John",
      "lastName": "Doe",
      "age": 28,
      "pets": [
        {"name": "Rexy rex", "kind": "dog", "likes": ["bones", "jumping", "toys"]},
        {"name": "Grenny", "kind": "parrot", "likes": ["green color", "night", "toys"]}

    Save json as sample.json then upload it the family collection:

    # Start HTTP/WS server protected by some access token
    ./jbs -a 'myaccess01'
    8 Mar 16:15:58.601 INFO: HTTP/WS endpoint at localhost:9191

    Server can be accessed using HTTP or Websocket endpoint. More info

    curl -d '@sample.json' -H'X-Access-Token:myaccess01' -X POST http://localhost:9191/family

    We can play around using interactive wscat websocket client.

    wscat  -H 'X-Access-Token:myaccess01' -c http://localhost:9191
    connected (press CTRL+C to quit)
    > k info
    < k     {
     "version": "2.0.0",
     "file": "db.jb",
     "size": 8192,
     "collections": [
       "name": "family",
       "dbid": 3,
       "rnum": 1,
       "indexes": []
    > k get family 1
    < k     1       {
     "firstName": "John",
     "lastName": "Doe",
     "age": 28,
     "pets": [
       "name": "Rexy rex",
       "kind": "dog",
       "likes": [
       "name": "Grenny",
       "kind": "parrot",
       "likes": [
        "green color",

    Note about the k prefix before every command; It is an arbitrary key chosen by client and designated to identify particular websocket request, this key will be returned with response to request and allows client to identify that response for his particular request. More info

    Query command over websocket has the following format:

    <key> query <collection> <query>

    So we will consider only <query> part in this document.

    Get all elements in collection

    k query family /*


    k query family /**

    or specify collection name in query explicitly

    k @family/*

    We can execute query by HTTP POST request

    curl --data-raw '@family/[firstName = John]' -H'X-Access-Token:myaccess01' -X POST http://localhost:9191
    1	{"firstName":"John","lastName":"Doe","age":28,"pets":[{"name":"Rexy rex","kind":"dog","likes":["bones","jumping","toys"]},{"name":"Grenny","kind":"parrot","likes":["green color","night","toys"]}]}

    Set the maximum number of elements in result set

    k @family/* | limit 10

    Get documents where specified json path exists

    Element at index 1 exists in likes array within a pets sub-object

    > k query family /pets/*/likes/1
    < k     1       {"firstName":"John"...

    Element at index 1 exists in likes array at any likes nesting level

    > k query family /**/likes/1
    < k     1       {"firstName":"John"...

    From this point and below I will omit websocket specific prefix k query family and consider only JQL queries.

    Get documents by primary key

    In order to get documents by primary key the following options are available:

    1. Use API call ejdb_get()

       const doc = await db.get('users', 112);
    2. Use the special query construction: /=:? or @collection/=:?

    Get document from users collection with primary key 112

    > k @users/=112

    Update tags array for document in jobs collection (TypeScript):

     await db.createQuery('@jobs/ = :? | apply :? | count')
        .setNumber(0, id)
        .setJSON(1, { tags })

    Array of primary keys can also be used for matching:

     await db.createQuery('@jobs/ = :?| apply :? | count')
        .setJSON(0, [23, 1, 2])
        .setJSON(1, { tags })

    Matching JSON entry values

    Below is a set of self explaining queries:

    /pets/*/[name = "Rexy rex"]
    /pets/*/[name eq "Rexy rex"]
    /pets/*/[name = "Rexy rex" or name = Grenny]

    Note about quotes around words with spaces.

    Get all documents where owner age greater than 20 and have some pet who like bones or toys

    /[age > 20] and /pets/*/likes/[** in ["bones", "toys"]]

    Here ** denotes some element in likes array.

    ni is the inverse operator to in. Get documents where bones somewhere in likes array.

    /pets/*/[likes ni "bones"]

    We can create more complicated filters

    ( /[age <= 20] or /[lastName re "Do.*"] )
      and /pets/*/likes/[** in ["bones", "toys"]]

    Note about grouping parentheses and regular expression matching using re operator.

    ~ is a prefix matching operator (Since ejdb v2.0.53). Prefix matching can benefit from using indexes.

    Get documents where /lastName starts with "Do".

    /[lastName ~ Do]

    Arrays and maps can be matched as is

    Filter documents with likes array exactly matched to ["bones","jumping","toys"]

    /**/[likes = ["bones","jumping","toys"]]

    Matching algorithms for arrays and maps are different:

    • Array elements are matched from start to end. In equal arrays all values at the same index should be equal.
    • Object maps matching consists of the following steps:
      • Lexicographically sort object keys in both maps.
      • Do matching keys and its values starting from the lowest key.
      • If all corresponding keys and values in one map are fully matched to ones in other and vice versa, maps considered to be equal. For example: {"f":"d","e":"j"} and {"e":"j","f":"d"} are equal maps.

    Conditions on key names

    Find JSON document having firstName key at root level.

    /[* = "firstName"]

    I this context * denotes a key name.

    You can use conditions on key name and key value at the same time:

    /[[* = "firstName"] = John]

    Key name can be either firstName or lastName but should have John value in any case.

    /[[* in ["firstName", "lastName"]] = John]

    It may be useful in queries with dynamic placeholders (C API):

    /[[* = :keyName] = :keyValue]

    JQL data modification

    APPLY section responsible for modification of documents content.

    APPLY = ({'apply' | `upsert`} { PLACEHOLDER | json_object | json_array  }) | 'del'

    JSON patch specs conformed to rfc7386 or rfc6902 specifications followed after apply keyword.

    Let's add address object to all matched document

    /[firstName = John] | apply {"address":{"city":"New York", "street":""}}

    If JSON object is an argument of apply section it will be treated as merge match (rfc7386) otherwise it should be array which denotes rfc6902 JSON patch. Placeholders also supported by apply section.

    /* | apply :?

    Set the street name in address

    /[firstName = John] | apply [{"op":"replace", "path":"/address/street", "value":"Fifth Avenue"}]

    Add Neo fish to the set of John's pets

    /[firstName = John]
    | apply [{"op":"add", "path":"/pets/-", "value": {"name":"Neo", "kind":"fish"}}]

    upsert updates existing document by given json argument used as merge patch or inserts provided json argument as new document instance.

    /[firstName = John] | upsert {"firstName": "John", "address":{"city":"New York"}}

    Non standard JSON patch extensions


    Increments numeric value identified by JSON path by specified value.


     Document:  {"foo": 1}
     Patch:     [{"op": "increment", "path": "/foo", "value": 2}]
     Result:    {"foo": 3}


    Same as JSON patch add but creates intermediate object nodes for missing JSON path segments.


    Document: {"foo": {"bar": 1}}
    Patch:    [{"op": "add_create", "path": "/foo/zaz/gaz", "value": 22}]
    Result:   {"foo":{"bar":1,"zaz":{"gaz":22}}}


    Document: {"foo": {"bar": 1}}
    Patch:    [{"op": "add_create", "path": "/foo/bar/gaz", "value": 22}]
    Result:   Error since element pointed by /foo/bar is not an object


    Swaps two values of JSON document starting from from path.

    Swapping rules

    1. If value pointed by from not exists error will be raised.
    2. If value pointed by path not exists it will be set by value from from path, then object pointed by from path will be removed.
    3. If both values pointed by from and path are presented they will be swapped.


    Document: {"foo": ["bar"], "baz": {"gaz": 11}}
    Patch:    [{"op": "swap", "from": "/foo/0", "path": "/baz/gaz"}]
    Result:   {"foo": [11], "baz": {"gaz": "bar"}}

    Example (Demo of rule 2):

    Document: {"foo": ["bar"], "baz": {"gaz": 11}}
    Patch:    [{"op": "swap", "from": "/foo/0", "path": "/baz/zaz"}]
    Result:   {"foo":[],"baz":{"gaz":11,"zaz":"bar"}}

    Removing documents

    Use del keyword to remove matched elements from collection:

    /FILTERS | del


    > k add family {"firstName":"Jack"}
    < k     2
    > k query family /[firstName re "Ja.*"]
    < k     2       {"firstName":"Jack"}
    # Remove selected elements from collection
    > k query family /[firstName=Jack] | del
    < k     2       {"firstName":"Jack"}

    JQL projections

      PROJECTION = 'all' | json_path | join_clause

    Projection allows to get only subset of JSON document excluding not needed data.

    Lets add one more document to our collection:

    $ cat << EOF | curl -d @- -H'X-Access-Token:myaccess01' -X POST http://localhost:9191/family
    "pets":[{"name":"Sonic", "kind":"mouse", "likes":[]}]

    Now query only pet owners firstName and lastName from collection.

    > k query family /* | /{firstName,lastName}
    < k     3       {"firstName":"Jack","lastName":"Parker"}
    < k     1       {"firstName":"John","lastName":"Doe"}
    < k

    Add pets array for every document

    > k query family /* | /{firstName,lastName} + /pets
    < k     3       {"firstName":"Jack","lastName":"Parker","pets":[...
    < k     1       {"firstName":"John","lastName":"Doe","pets":[...

    Exclude only pets field from documents

    > k query family /* | all - /pets
    < k     3       {"firstName":"Jack","lastName":"Parker","age":35}
    < k     1       {"firstName":"John","lastName":"Doe","age":28,"address":{"city":"New York","street":"Fifth Avenue"}}
    < k

    Here all keyword used denoting whole document.

    Get age and the first pet in pets array.

    > k query family /[age > 20] | /age + /pets/0
    < k     3       {"age":35,"pets":[{"name":"Sonic","kind":"mouse","likes":[]}]}
    < k     1       {"age":28,"pets":[{"name":"Rexy rex","kind":"dog","likes":["bones","jumping","toys"]}]}
    < k

    JQL collection joins

    Join materializes reference to document to a real document objects which will replace reference inplace.

    Documents are joined by their primary keys only.

    Reference keys should be stored in referrer document as number or string field.

    Joins can be specified as part of projection expression in the following form:



    • field ‐ JSON field contains primary key of joined document.
    • < ‐ The special mark symbol which instructs EJDB engine to replace field key by body of joined document.
    • collection ‐ name of DB collection where joined documents located.

    A referrer document will be untouched if associated document is not found.

    Here is the simple demonstration of collection joins in our interactive websocket shell:

    > k add artists {"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci", "years":[1452,1519]}
    < k     1
    > k add paintings {"name":"Mona Lisa", "year":1490, "origin":"Italy", "artist": 1}
    < k     1
    > k add paintings {"name":"Madonna Litta - Madonna And The Child", "year":1490, "origin":"Italy", "artist": 1}
    < k     2
    # Lists paintings documents
    > k @paintings/*
    < k     2       {"name":"Madonna Litta - Madonna And The Child","year":1490,"origin":"Italy","artist":1}
    < k     1       {"name":"Mona Lisa","year":1490,"origin":"Italy","artist":1}
    < k
    # Do simple join with artists collection
    > k @paintings/* | /artist<artists
    < k     2       {"name":"Madonna Litta - Madonna And The Child","year":1490,"origin":"Italy",
                      "artist":{"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci","years":[1452,1519]}}
    < k     1       {"name":"Mona Lisa","year":1490,"origin":"Italy",
                      "artist":{"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci","years":[1452,1519]}}
    < k
    # Strip all document fields except `name` and `artist` join
    > k @paintings/* | /artist<artists + /name + /artist/*
    < k     2       {"name":"Madonna Litta - Madonna And The Child","artist":{"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci","years":[1452,1519]}}
    < k     1       {"name":"Mona Lisa","artist":{"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci","years":[1452,1519]}}
    < k
    # Same results as above:
    > k @paintings/* | /{name, artist<artists} + /artist/*
    < k     2       {"name":"Madonna Litta - Madonna And The Child","artist":{"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci","years":[1452,1519]}}
    < k     1       {"name":"Mona Lisa","artist":{"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci","years":[1452,1519]}}
    < k

    Invalid references:

    >  k add paintings {"name":"Mona Lisa2", "year":1490, "origin":"Italy", "artist": 9999}
    < k     3
    > k @paintings/* |  /artist<artists
    < k     3       {"name":"Mona Lisa2","year":1490,"origin":"Italy","artist":9999}
    < k     2       {"name":"Madonna Litta - Madonna And The Child","year":1490,"origin":"Italy","artist":{"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci","years":[1452,1519]}}
    < k     1       {"name":"Mona Lisa","year":1490,"origin":"Italy","artist":{"name":"Leonardo Da Vinci","years":[1452,1519]}}

    JQL results ordering

      ORDERBY = ({ 'asc' | 'desc' } PLACEHOLDER | json_path)...

    Lets add one more document then sort documents in collection according to firstName ascending and age descending order.

    > k add family {"firstName":"John", "lastName":"Ryan", "age":39}
    < k     4
    > k query family /* | /{firstName,lastName,age} | asc /firstName desc /age
    < k     3       {"firstName":"Jack","lastName":"Parker","age":35}
    < k     4       {"firstName":"John","lastName":"Ryan","age":39}
    < k     1       {"firstName":"John","lastName":"Doe","age":28}
    < k

    asc, desc instructions may use indexes defined for collection to avoid a separate documents sorting stage.

    JQL Options

    OPTS = { 'skip' n | 'limit' n | 'count' | 'noidx' | 'inverse' | ORDERBY }...
    • skip n Skip first n records before first element in result set
    • limit n Set max number of documents in result set
    • count Returns only count of matched documents
      > k query family /* | count
      < k     3
      < k
    • noidx Do not use any indexes for query execution.
    • inverse By default query scans documents from most recently added to older ones. This option inverts scan direction to opposite and activates noidx mode. Has no effect if query has asc/desc sorting clauses.

    JQL Indexes and performance tips

    Database index can be build for any JSON field path containing values of number or string type. Index can be an unique ‐ not allowing value duplication and non unique. The following index mode bit mask flags are used (defined in ejdb2.h):

    Index mode Description
    0x01 EJDB_IDX_UNIQUE Index is unique
    0x04 EJDB_IDX_STR Index for JSON string field value type
    0x08 EJDB_IDX_I64 Index for 8 bytes width signed integer field values
    0x10 EJDB_IDX_F64 Index for 8 bytes width signed floating point field values.

    For example unique index of string type will be specified by EJDB_IDX_UNIQUE | EJDB_IDX_STR = 0x05. Index can be defined for only one value type located under specific path in json document.

    Lets define non unique string index for /lastName path:

    > k idx family 4 /lastName
    < k

    Index selection for queries based on set of heuristic rules.

    You can always check index usage by issuing explain command in WS API:

    > k explain family /[lastName=Doe] and /[age!=27]
    < k     explain [INDEX] MATCHED  STR|3 /lastName EXPR1: 'lastName = Doe' INIT: IWKV_CURSOR_EQ
    [INDEX] SELECTED STR|3 /lastName EXPR1: 'lastName = Doe' INIT: IWKV_CURSOR_EQ

    The following statements are taken into account when using EJDB2 indexes:

    • Only one index can be used for particular query execution

    • If query consist of or joined part at top level or contains negated expressions at the top level of query expression - indexes will not be in use at all. So no indexes below:

      /[lastName != Andy]
      /[lastName = "John"] or /[lastName = Peter]

      But will be used /lastName index defined above

      /[lastName = Doe]
      /[lastName = Doe] and /[age = 28]
      /[lastName = Doe] and not /[age = 28]
      /[lastName = Doe] and /[age != 28]
    • The following operators are supported by indexes (ejdb 2.0.x):

      • eq, =
      • gt, >
      • gte, >=
      • lt, <
      • lte, <=
      • in
      • ~ (Prefix matching since ejdb 2.0.53)
    • ORDERBY clauses may use indexes to avoid result set sorting.

    • Array fields can also be indexed. Let's outline typical use case: indexing of some entity tags:

      > k add books {"name":"Mastering Ultra", "tags":["ultra", "language", "bestseller"]}
      < k     1
      > k add books {"name":"Learn something in 24 hours", "tags":["bestseller"]}
      < k     2
      > k query books /*
      < k     2       {"name":"Learn something in 24 hours","tags":["bestseller"]}
      < k     1       {"name":"Mastering Ultra","tags":["ultra","language","bestseller"]}
      < k

      Create string index for /tags

      > k idx books 4 /tags
      < k

      Filter books by bestseller tag and show index usage in query:

      > k explain books /tags/[** in ["bestseller"]]
      < k     explain [INDEX] MATCHED  STR|4 /tags EXPR1: '** in ["bestseller"]' INIT: IWKV_CURSOR_EQ
      [INDEX] SELECTED STR|4 /tags EXPR1: '** in ["bestseller"]' INIT: IWKV_CURSOR_EQ
      < k     1       {"name":"Mastering Ultra","tags":["ultra","language","bestseller"]}
      < k     2       {"name":"Learn something in 24 hours","tags":["bestseller"]}
      < k

    Performance tip: Physical ordering of documents

    All documents in collection are sorted by their primary key in descending order. So if you use auto generated keys (ejdb_put_new) you may be sure what documents fetched as result of full scan query will be ordered according to the time of insertion in descendant order, unless you don't use query sorting, indexes or inverse keyword.

    Performance tip: Brute force scan vs indexed access

    In many cases, using index may drop down the overall query performance. Because index collection contains only document references (id) and engine may perform an addition document fetching by its primary key to finish query matching. So for not so large collections a brute scan may perform better than scan using indexes. However, exact matching operations: eq, in and sorting by natural index order will benefit from index in most cases.

    Performance tip: Get rid of unnecessary document data

    If you'd like update some set of documents with apply or del operations but don't want fetching all of them as result of query - just add count modifier to the query to get rid of unnecessary data transferring and json data conversion.


    MIT License
    Copyright (c) 2012-2021 Softmotions Ltd <>
    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.


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