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Package kivik

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Published: Dec 9, 2017 | License: Apache-2.0 | Module:


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Package kivik provides a generic interface to CouchDB or CouchDB-like databases.

The kivik package must be used in conjunction with a database driver.

The kivik driver system is modeled after the standard library’s sql and sql/driver packages, although the client API is completely different due to the different database models implemented by SQL and NoSQL databases such as CouchDB.


Install Kivik as you normally would for any Go package:

go get -u
go get -u

This will install the main Kivik package and the CouchDB database driver. See the list of Kivik database drivers for a complete list of available drivers.

Example Usage

Please consult the the package documentation for all available API methods, and a complete usage documentation. And for additional usage examples, consult the wiki.

package main

import (

    _ "" // The CouchDB driver

func main() {
    client, err := kivik.New(context.TODO(), "couch", "http://localhost:5984/")
    if err != nil {

    db, err := client.DB(context.TODO(), "animals")
    if err != nil {

    doc := map[string]interface{}{
        "_id":      "cow",
        "feet":     4,
        "greeting": "moo",

    rev, err := db.Put(context.TODO(), "cow", doc)
    if err != nil {
    fmt.Printf("Cow inserted with revision %s\n", rev)

Frequently Asked Questions

Nobody has ever asked me any of these questions, so they’re probably better called “Never Asked Questions” or possibly “Imagined Questions.”

Why another CouchDB client API?

Read the design goals for the general design goals.

Specifically, I was motivated to write Kivik for a few reasons:

  1. I was unhappy with any of the existing CouchDB drivers for Go. The best one had a number of shortcomings:

    • It is no longer actively developed.
    • It doesn’t have an open source license.
    • It doesn’t support iterating over result sets, forcing one to load all results of a query into memory at once.
    • It doesn’t support CouchDB 2.0 sequence IDs or MongoDB-style queries.
    • It doesn’t natively support CookieAuth (it does allow a generic Auth method which could be used to do this, but I think it’s appropriate to put directly in the library).
  2. I wanted a single client API that worked with both CouchDB and PouchDB. I had previously written go-pouchdb, a GopherJS wrapper around the PouchDB library with a public API modeled after fjl/go-couchdb, but I still wanted a unified driver infrastructure.

  3. I want an unambiguous, open source license. This software is released under the Apache 2.0 license. See the included file for details.

  4. I wanted the ability to mock CouchDB connections for testing. This is possible with the sql / sql/driver approach by implementing a mock driver, but was not possible with any existing CouchDB client libraries. This library makes that possible for CouchDB apps, too.

  5. I wanted a simple, mock CouchDB server I could use for testing. It doesn’t need to be efficient, or support all CouchDB servers, but it should be enough to test the basic functionality of a PouchDB app, for instance. Kivik aims to do this with the kivik serve command, in the near future.

  6. I wanted a toolkit that would make it easy to build a proxy to sit in front of CouchDB to handle custom authentication or other logic that CouchDB cannot support natively. Kivik aims to accomplish this in the future.

What are Kivik’s requirements?

Kivik’s test suite is automatically run on Linux and OSX for every pull request, but should work on all supported Go platforms.

Below are the compatibility targets for specific runtime and database versions. If you discover a bug affecting any of these supported environments, please let me know by submitting a bug report via GitHub.

  • Go Kivik 1.x aims for full compatibility with all stable releases of Go from 1.7.
  • CouchDB The Kivik 1.x CouchDB driver aims for compatibility with all stable releases of CouchDB from 1.6.1.
  • GopherJS GopherJS always requires the latest stable version of Go, so building Kivik with GopherJS has this same requirement.
  • PouchDB The Kivik 1.x PouchDB driver aims for compatibility with all stable releases of PouchDB from 6.0.0.

What is the development status?

Kivik comes with a complete client API client and backend drivers for CouchDB and PouchDB.

My next priorities are to work on fleshing out the Memory driver, which will make automated testing without a real CouchDB server easier. Then I will work on completing the ‘serve’ mode.

You can see a complete overview of the current status on the Compatibility chart

Why the name “Kivik”?

Kivik is a line of sofas (couches) from IKEA. And in the spirit of IKEA, and build-your-own furniture, Kivik aims to allow you to “build your own” CouchDB client, server, and proxy applications.

What license is Kivik released under?

This software is released under the terms of the Apache 2.0 license. See, or read the full license.