Options Objects

The options object modifies Massive's internal SQL statement generation, either by applying additional clauses to the query itself or by enabling different result processing behaviors.

Options can be passed as the final argument to most query and persistence functions, there being no useful options in the cases of count and countDoc.

// a stream returning the name, start date, lower-cased
// name, and pass + failure total for active tests
// 21-30, omitting rows from any descendant tables
const stream = await db.tests.find({
  is_active: true
}, {
  fields: ['name', 'started_at'],
  exprs: {
    lowername: 'lower(name)',
    total: 'passes + failures'
  offset: 20,
  limit: 10,
  only: true,
  stream: true

Universal Options

These are generally applicable to all query types, although stream is principally useful with query functions.

Key Type Description
only Boolean true to prevent the query from affecting or querying descendant tables.
build Boolean true to return the query text and parameters without executing anything.
document Boolean true to invoke document table handling.
single Boolean true to return only the first result as an object (cf. findOne). Rarely useful externally.
stream Boolean true to return results as a stream instead of an array. Streamed results cannot be decomposed.
decompose Object A schema for transforming the results into an object graph. Not compatible with stream.

Streaming Results

Streaming can improve performance with large result sets which would otherwise have to be collected in memory before becoming available to your program all at once. With stream, you get something back right away (which can also be a big deal for slow queries!), but the connection remains open and in use until the stream closes.

Some constraints apply when using stream with script files: named parameters are not supported, and some operations may require explicit type casts ($1::INT).

const stream = await db.tests.find(
  {priority: 'low'},
  {stream: true}

const tests = [];

stream.on('readable', () => {

stream.on('end', () => {
  // do something with tests here

Data Retrieval Options

Some of these options, such as fields and exprs, are generally applicable to all find and search methods; others, such as offset and pageLength, are only useful when multiple records will be returned.

Key Type Description
distinct Boolean true to remove duplicate records from the resultset. Mostly useful in conjunction with fields and exprs.
fields Array | Object Name columns to include in the resultset, or map aliases to names. Values will be quoted; use exprs to invoke functions or operate on columns. See also below.
exprs Object Map aliases to raw SQL expressions to include in the resultset. Do not supply user input as exprs unless you understand the risk of SQL injection!
order Array An array of order objects.
offset Number Skip this many records.
limit Number Only retrieve this many records.
pageLength Number Number of results to return with keyset pagination. Requires order.
lock Object Prevent records from being modified outside the current transaction. See the Locking section below.

Fields and Exprs

These options modify and restrict the SELECT list, or the list of columns and expressions in a data retrieval query. Both fields and exprs are incompatible with the use of join. Use SQL or standalone resultset decomposition in such cases.

The simplest form of fields is an array of the column names to be included. This version can also be used with persistence queries to restrict the returned results, which can be useful when column security settings render some fields off-limits.

fields: ['id', 'name', 'description']

To rename properties in the result set, use the object form. Map desired aliases to the original field names. If there are fields you want to include without renaming, you can supply a truthy value to * instead of repeating identical alias-name pairs.

fields: {
  '*': true, // include all unspecified fields as well
  new_name: 'name',
  new_description: 'description'

exprs is always an object, mapping aliases to raw SQL expressions such as math, string concatenation, or function calls. Values in exprs are interpolated, unescaped, into the emitted SQL query. Do not pass user input to Massive directly through exprs and its like, or you run the risk of SQL injection attacks.

exprs: {
  hypotenuse: 'sqrt(pow(a, 2) + pow(b, 2))'

If exprs is specified without fields, only the expressions are evaluated. To return both ordinary column values and expressions, supply both fields and exprs.

Ordering Results

The order option sets an array of order objects which are used to build an ORDER BY clause. Each order object must contain a field or an expr; all other properties are optional.

Key Type Description
field String The name of the column being sorted on. Casts and JSON traversal are supported as in criteria objects.
expr String A raw SQL expression. Will not be escaped or quoted and is potentially vulnerable to SQL injection attacks.
direction String The sort direction, ASC (default) or DESC.
nulls String Sort null values FIRST or LAST.
last Any If using keyset pagination, the final value for this field on on the previous page.

direction and nulls are case-insensitive.

// all tests, ordered first by most recent start date
// (nulls first), then by pass + failure total
// deferring to the Postgres default null positioning
// (last when ascending)
const tests = await db.tests.find({
  is_active: true
}, {
  order: [{
    field: 'started_at',
    direction: 'desc',
    nulls: 'first'
  }, {
    expr: 'passes + failures',
    direction: 'asc'

Keyset Pagination

When query results are meant to be displayed to a user, it's often useful to retrieve and display them one page at a time. This is easily accomplished by setting limit to the page length and offset to the page length times the current page (counting from zero). However, as result sets grow larger, this method starts to perform poorly as the first n rows must be retrieved and discarded each time.

Keyset pagination offers a trade: consistent performance, but you don't know how many pages there are and can't reliably sort by columns containing null values. It does require a slightly different user interface metaphor which avoids numbering and jumping to arbitrary pages, but the performance gains can be worth it. For a detailed technical breakdown, see Markus Winand's post on the topic.

Although enabling keyset pagination is a matter of a single field, it does require some setup:

  • You must not specify offset or limit. Massive will return a rejected promise if you do.
  • You must have an order array. Massive will return a rejected promise if you do not. For additional performance benefits, make sure you have an index covering any columns you are filtering and sorting, if practical.
  • The order array must guarantee deterministic ordering of records; the easiest way to ensure this is to sort on the primary key or a unique column last. Failure may result in apparent duplication or omission as records change position between pages.
  • The order array must use consistent directionality: if one attribute is being sorted in descending order, all attributes must be sorted in descending order. Inconsistent directionality means inconsistent results.

Once these prerequisites are satisfied, set the pageLength option to the number of records you want back per page.

To retrieve subsequent pages, inspect the last record on the current page. When you make the query for the next page, set last on each element of the order array to the value of the corresponding attribute in the final record of the previous page.

const next25 = await db.issues.find({}, {
  order: [{
    field: 'test_id',
    last: 1500
  }, {
    field: 'issue_id',
    last: 10256
  pageLength: 25


In transactional contexts, it is sometimes necessary to prevent other statements or transactions from modifying or deleting rows until the locking transaction either finishes its processing and commits or rolls back. This is accomplished by using the lock option with a retrieval method.

The lock option is superfluous outside a transaction, since any locks taken out by individual statements will be resolved immediately.

Key Type Description
strength String One of UPDATE, SHARE, NO KEY UPDATE, or KEY SHARE.
lockedRows String Optional; NOWAIT errors if a desired row cannot be locked immediately, or SKIP LOCKED ignores such rows. The default behavior is to wait for a lock.
  • UPDATE locks prevent other transactions from locking, modifying, or deleting locked rows until this transaction commits or rolls back.
  • SHARE locks prevent other transactions from modifying or deleting locked rows, but allow other SHARE and KEY SHARE locks to be taken out.
  • NO KEY UPDATE locks are a special case of UPDATE locks which allow KEY SHARE locks to be taken out.
  • KEY SHARE locks are a special case of SHARE locks which allow both shared locks and NO KEY UPDATE locks to be taken out.

Insert Options

Key Type Description
deepInsert Boolean true to enable deep insert.
onConflict Object Upsert or ignore if a conflict is encountered. See the onConflict section below.


Inserts normally fail if adding a new record would violate a unique or exclusion constraint (e.g. a primary key). Starting with PostgreSQL 9.5, one of two fallback behaviors can be defined should such a conflict occur: do nothing, or change the existing record based on the new values -- popularly called an "upsert".

By default, onConflict with an action of update will overwrite all fields of an existing record. This may be undesirable in some circumstances, particularly when upserting multiple records. To prevent the upsert from overwriting a particular field or fields, supply those field names to exclude.

Key Type Description
target Array | String A field or fields subject to a unique or exclusion constraint.
targetExpr String An expression matching a unique or exclusion constraint. Expressions are not escaped! Do not pass user input directly!
action String ignore or update.
exclude Array Prevent the named columns from being modified with an update action.
// if the user 'me' already exists, its email is updated
// instead of a duplicate record being added; however,
// even if updated, the original joined_at value is
// preserved.
const user = await db.users.insert({
  username: 'me',
  email: 'me@me.com'
}, {
  onConflict: {
    target: 'username',
    action: 'update',
    exclude: ['joined_at']

UpdateDoc Options

Key Type Description
body String Target a field other than the default "body".

Tasks and Transactions

db.withConnection may take a single option:

Key Type Description
tag String A tag which will be visible in pg-monitor.

db.withTransaction adds a second:

Key Type Description
mode TransactionMode Set the isolation level, readonly mode, and/or deferrable mode.