Created: 2012-03-21 11:32
Updated: 2018-08-20 16:19
License: mit


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Couchpenter is a CouchDB database and document setup tool.

This is handy when you want to create or delete CouchDB databases and documents based on a predefined setup file, either from the command-line or programmatically.

A common usage scenario is to hook up Couchpenter to application start up code, ensuring CouchDB to have the required databases along with any data, design, and replication documents, before the server starts listening.

Another usage is for integration testing, either from test libraries (e.g. Mocha's beforeEach/afterEach), or from a Continuous Integration build pipeline (e.g. resetting the databases prior to running the test suites).


npm install -g couchpenter 


Create a sample couchpenter.json setup file:

couchpenter init

Execute a task against a CouchDB URL using default couchpenter.json setup file:

couchpenter <task> -u http://user:pass@host:port

CouchDB URL can also be set via COUCHDB_URL environment variable:


export COUCHDB_URL=http://user:pass@host:port


set COUCHDB_URL=http://user:pass@host:port

Execute a task using custom setup file:

couchpenter <task> -u http://user:pass@host:port -f somecouchpenter.json


Task Description
setup Create databases and documents, overwrite if documents exist.
setup-db Create databases only.
setup-doc Create documents only, does not overwrite if exist.
setup-doc-overwrite Create documents only, overwrite if exist.
teardown Alias for teardown-db.
teardown-db Delete databases.
teardown-doc Delete documents.
reset Alias for reset-doc.
reset-db Delete then recreate databases and documents.
reset-doc Delete then recreate documents only.
clean Alias for clean-db.
clean-db Delete unknown databases (not configured in setup file).
warm-view Warm up views specified in design documents.


// use default couchpenter.json setup file
var couchpenter = new (require('couchpenter'))(

// use custom setup file
var couchpenter = new (require('couchpenter'))(
  { setupFile: 'somecouchpenter.json' }

// use setup object (instead of setup file)
var couchpenter = new (require('couchpenter'))(
  { dbSetup: {
      "db1": [
        { "_id": "doc1", "foo": "bar" },
        { "_id": "doc2", "foo": "bar" },

// prefix the database names
// handy for running multiple tests in parallel without interrupting each other
var couchpenter = new (require('couchpenter'))(
  { prefix: 'testrun123_' }

// specify a base directory for the documents specified in setup file
var couchpenter = new (require('couchpenter'))(
  { dir: '../some/dir/' }

// set up databases and documents
couchpenter.setUp(function (err, results) {

// delete databases and documents
couchpenter.tearDown(function (err, results) {

// delete databases and documents, then set up databases and documents
couchpenter.reset(function (err, results) {

// delete documents, then set up documents
couchpenter.resetDocuments(function (err, results) {

// warm up all views specified in design documents
couchpenter.warmViews(function (err, results) {

// warm up all views specified in design documents every minute (scheduled)
couchpenter.warmViews('* * * * *', function (err, results) {

Check out lib/couchpenter for other available methods.


Couchpenter setup file is just a simple JSON file:

  "db1": [
    { "_id": "doc1", "foo": "bar" },
    { "_id": "doc2", "foo": "bar" },
  "db2": [
    { "_id": "doc4", "foo": "bar" },
  "db3": [],
  "_replicator": {
      "_id": "db1_pull",
      "source": "http://user:pass@remotehost:5984/db1",
      "target": "db1",
      "user_ctx": {
        "name": "user",
        "roles": ["_admin"]
      "continuous": true

Property keys are the names of the databases, property values are the documents in each database.

A document can be represented as:

  • an object
  • a file path string containing a JSON document, file name must end with .json
  • a module path string

Paths are relative to current directory if it's used from command-line, or relative to opts.dir if it's used programmatically (defaults to current directory if opts.dir is not specified).


Developer's Guide

Build reports:

Related Projects:

  • couchtato - CouchDB documents iterator tool
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