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Getting Started with Fluent

Fluent (vapor/fluent) is a type-safe, fast, and easy-to-use ORM framework built for Swift. It takes advantage of Swift's strong type system to provide an elegant foundation for building database integrations.

Choosing a Driver

Fluent is a framework for building ORMs, not an ORM itself. To use Fluent, you will first need to choose a database driver to use. Fluent can support multiple databases and database drivers per application.

Official Fluent Drivers

Below is a list of officially supported database drivers for Fluent.

database repo version dbid notes
PostgreSQL fluent-postgresql 1.0.0 psql Recommended. Open source, standards compliant SQL database. Available on most cloud hosting providers.
MySQL fluent-mysql 3.0.0 mysql Popular open source SQL database. Available on most cloud hosting providers. This driver also supports MariaDB.
SQLite fluent-sqlite 3.0.0 sqlite Open source, embedded SQL database. Its simplistic nature makes it a great candiate for prototyping and testing.
MongoDB fluent-mongo n/a mongo Coming soon. Popular NoSQL database.

Community Drivers

And here are community-maintained drivers. These are all open-source Fluent drivers, but you should reach out to these projects with questions and pull requests!

database repo version dbid notes
DynamoDB fluent-dynamodb 3.0.0 dynamodb Amazon's hosted key-value store available through AWS


Replace any Xcode placeholders (<#...#>) in the code snippets below with information from the above table.

You can search GitHub for the tag fluent-database for a full list of official and third-party Fluent database drivers.


Once you have decided which driver you want, the next step is adding it as a dependency to your project in your SPM package manifest file.

// swift-tools-version:4.0
import PackageDescription

let package = Package(
    name: "MyApp",
    dependencies: [
        /// Any other dependencies ...
        .package(url: "<#repo#>.git", from: "<#version#>"),
    targets: [
        .target(name: "App", dependencies: ["Fluent<#Database#>", ...]),
        .target(name: "Run", dependencies: ["App"]),
        .testTarget(name: "AppTests", dependencies: ["App"]),

Don't forget to add the module as a dependency in the targets array. Once you have added the dependency, regenerate your Xcode project with the following command:

vapor xcode

Creating a Model

Now let's create your first model. Models represent tables in your database and they are the primary method of interacting with your data.

Each driver provides convenience model protocols (PostgreSQLModel, SQLiteModel, etc) that extend Fluent's base Model protocol. These convenience types make declaring models more concise by using standard values for ID key and type.

Fill in the Xcode placeholders below with the name of your chosen database, i.e., PostgreSQL.

import Fluent<#Database#>
import Vapor

/// A simple user.
final class User: <#Database#>Model {
    /// The unique identifier for this user.
    var id: ID?

    /// The user's full name.
    var name: String

    /// The user's current age in years.
    var age: Int

    /// Creates a new user.
    init(id: ID? = nil, name: String, age: Int) { = id = name
        self.age = age

extension User: Content { }

The example above shows a simple model representing a user. You can make both structs and classes a model. You can even conform types that come from external modules. The only requirement is that these types conform to Codable, which must be declared on the base type for synthesized (automatic) conformance.

Note: Content conformance will ensure that the object can be encoded and decoded from HTTP messages. This will be necessary when performing a query.

Take a look at Fluent → Model for more information on creating models with custom ID types and keys.

Configuring the Database

Now that you have a model, you can configure your database. This is done in configure.swift.

Register Provider

The first step is to register your database driver's provider.

import Fluent<#Database#>
import Vapor

// Register providers first
try services.register(Fluent<#Database#>Provider())

// Other services....

Registering the provider will add all of the services required for your Fluent database to work properly. It also includes a default database config struct that uses typical development environment credentials.

Custom Credentials

If you are using default configuration for your database (such as default credentials or other config) then this may be the only setup you need to perform.

See the documentation for your specific database type for more information about custom configuration.

database docs api docs
PostgreSQL PostgreSQL → Getting Started PostgreSQLDatabase
MySQL MySQL → Getting Started MySQLDatabase
SQLite SQLite → Getting Started SQLiteDatabase

Creating a Migration

If your database driver uses schemas (is a SQL database), you will need to create a Migration for your new model. Migrations allow Fluent to create a table for your model in a reliable, testable way. You can later create additional migrations to update or delete the model's table or even manipulate data in the table.

To create a migration, you will normally first create a new struct or class to hold the migration. However, models can take advantage of a convenient shortcut. When you create a migration from an existing model type, Fluent can infer an appropriate schema from the model's codable properties.

You can add the migration conformance to a model as an extension or on the base type declaration.

import Fluent<#Database#>
import Vapor

extension User: <#Database#>Migration { }

Take a look at Fluent → Migration if you are interested in learning more about custom migrations.

Configuring Migrations

Once you have created a migration, you must register it to Fluent using MigrationConfig. This is done in configure.swift.

Fill in the database ID (dbid) from the table above, i.e., psql.

import Fluent<#Database#>
import Vapor

// Configure migrations
var migrations = MigrationConfig()
migrations.add(model: User.self, database: .<#dbid#>)

// Other services....


If the migration you are adding is also a model, you can use the add(model:on:) convenience to automatically set the model's defaultDatabase property. Otherwise, use the add(migration:on) method.

Once you have the MigrationConfig added, you should be able to run your application and see the following:

Migrating <#dbid#> DB
Migrations complete
Server starting on http://localhost:8080

Performing a Query

router.get("users") { req in
    return User.query(on: req).all()

If you run your app, and query that route, you should see an empty array returned. Now you just need to add some users! Congratulations on getting your first Fluent model working.

Raw Queries

With Fluent, you always have access to the underlying database driver. Using this underlying driver to perform a query is sometimes called a "raw query".

To perform raw queries, you need access to a database connection. Vapor's Request type has a number of conveniences for creating new database connections. The recommended method is withPooledConnection(to:). Learn about other methods in DatabaseKit → Overview → Connections.

router.get("raw") { req -> Future<String> in
    return req.withPooledConnection(to: .<#dbid#>) { conn in
        // perform raw query using conn

Once you have the database connection, you can perform a query on it. You can learn more about the methods available in the database's documentation.