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CouchDB Design Documents#

Kazoo uses views to query CouchDB. Basically views are JavaScript codes which will be put in a document inside the database that they operate on. This special document is called Design document in CouchDB. Each Design document can implement multiple view. Please consult Official CouchDB Design Documents to learn more about how to write view.

Traditionally Kazoo have all design documents in simple JSON files store in each application's private directory. After a view is updated system administrator required to run a maintenance command (kapps_maintenance refresh [Database]) to read the view files and update them in databases. As long as Kazoo is deploy as a single node, there was no issue. Deploying Kazoo in multi-node scenario where each node is just running a subset of applications would potentially result in breaking this refresh maintenance command. For example if you run this command for refreshing views for an account database in a node which doesn't have Crossbar application installed will failed, since it can not find required account's database views.

With Kazoo 4.2, some views (account and MODB for example) are read from the JSON files and put in a specific database (system_data database). This process is called registering the views. Subsequent refresh command would read the view definitions from this database and is not required to run on a specific node.

This has been improved in Kazoo 4.3 by putting all views that Kazoo uses into system_data database. Upon system startup, each application is now responsible for registering the views that it provides (and creating their specific database if they have one) and optionally refreshing it.

kazoo key#

Starting from Kazoo 4.3, when creating design documents for use in CouchDB, Kazoo requires some metadata to assist in making sure the views in the databases are up to date.

At the root level of a design document, add a key kazoo with an object that tells Kazoo about which database(s) the design document belongs. This key is required.

First, an example:

    "kazoo": {
        "view_map": [
    "views": { // implement your views here }

The view_map is an array of objects that tell Kazoo in what databases should the design document be put. There are two options for the object: classification and database.

Database Classification#

Kazoo has the following standard database classifications:

Classification Description
account The main account database
aggregate Certain databases used to aggregate documents from across accounts
deprecated Deprecated databases no longer used
external Typically the "internal" CouchDB databases for users, dbs, and nodes
modb Account MODB databases
numbers Number databases
ratedeck Ratedeck databases
resource_selectors Account resource selector databases
system System databases, like system_config or system_media

Of course, applications can create their own classifications as well; they need to bind in for the database classification binding in kzs_util to supply the binding of their database(s).

When using classification in view_map, this design document will be put on any databases that their classification is matching by this value. For our _design/foo example above refresh command to an account's database will put every account's views including foo into this database.


This key can be used to put the design document in specific database. In _design/foo example above, "database":"system_config" will put the design document in system_config database.

Registering The Views#

Each application is responsible for registering their views. Generally speaking, design documents are stored in {APP}/priv/couchdb/views/ which means the {APP}_app (or other initialize routine) would call kz_datamgr:register_views_from_folder('{APP}', "views"). Also the application can bind to register_view binding, to allow system administrator to update the JSON file and re-register the view in a running node.

If the application is using their own database, they have to check and create it.

To put it all together, the application initialization should include some lines like below. It assumes that your application is using a database defined in MY_DB_NAME which defined in your application Erlang header file.

%% Optionally bind to register_views maintenance binding to assist developers
%% to easily edit and re-register the views on run time:
%% kapps_maintenance:bind(?APP, 'my_app_maintenance', 'register_views'),

And in your my_app_maintenance module:

-spec register_views() -> 'ok'.
register_views() ->
    _ = kz_datamgr:register_views_from_folder('{APP}', "views"),

-spec init_dbs() -> 'ok'.
init_dbs() ->
    _ = kz_datamgr:db_create(?MY_DB_NAME),
    %% Optionally refresh database views. Keep in mind this is not recommended for
    %% large databases, since updating the views for large databases triggers view
    %% cache update in CouchDB for that databases and it turn can put pressure on database.
    %% _ = kz_datamgr:refresh_views(?MY_DB_NAME)

Once registered, kapps_maintenance:migrate/0 and kapps_maintenance:refresh/0 will ensure that what is on disk matches what's registered and will ensure all databases are updated as necessary with the appropriate version of the relevant design docs.

Multi-line views#

While the map functions in Kazoo's CouchDB views are generally pretty small and simple, there are occasions where writing the map function as one long string isn't so great for reading the function.

Kazoo thus allows you to specify the map function using an array of strings to allow you to write the JavaScript as you might in a normal .js file and Kazoo will take care of flattening it into a string before loading into CouchDB.

Consider the faxes.json design doc. The crossbar_listing function is defined as:

    // ...
    "views": {
        "crossbar_listing": {
            "map": [
                "function(doc) {",
                "  if (doc.pvt_type != 'fax' || doc.pvt_deleted)",
                "    return;",
                "  emit(doc._id, {",
                "    'modified': doc.pvt_modified",
                "  });",
    // ...

Here we see the function defined over multiple lines which aid in reading what the function is meant to do.

Contrast that with the "flattened" version":

...,"views":{"crossbar_listing":{"map":"function(doc) { if (doc.pvt_type != 'fax' || doc.pvt_deleted) return; emit([doc.pvt_created, doc._id], {'id': doc._id, 'status': doc.pvt_job_status, 'to': doc.to_number, 'from': doc.from_number, 'created': doc.pvt_created}); }"},...

And this is a straightforward map function!

It is, therefore, recommended to use the multi-line definitions for the on-disk design documents.

Validate CouchDB Views#

Script file scripts/ is assisting you to make sure the view files are parsable by CouchDB and has the kazoo key set properly. This script is depend on couchjs from CouchDB package to be installed and in the path.

After making sure couchjs is available you can run the script like below:

./scripts/ `find */*/priv/**/* -name '*.json'`

This will make sure the map function doesn't have any syntax error and is parsable by CouchDB JavaScript engine, the JSON file has correct format and kazoo meta data for views are not causing the views re-writing each other on the same database or classifications.