Upsert in Knex.js

How to upsert in Knex.js.

Postgres Upsert

Upsert is a fantastic feature in SQL that works kind of like “insert a new row, and if it already exists, update it”.

In Postgres, the syntax is handled as:

INSERT INTO table_name 
(column_name) VALUES (expression) 
ON CONFLICT (conflict_target)
DO UPDATE SET column_name = expression;

There are quite a few keywords there, but I think it reads rather close to the English sentence above.

In a scenario where we’re inserting new users where the primary key is email, we could write this sql:

INSERT INTO users
(email, name) VALUES (:email, :name) 
ON CONFLICT (email)
DO UPDATE SET users.name = :name;

Knex.js Upsert

Knex.js is a handy SQL query builder, database connection manager, and ORM for Node. You already know you’re in trouble, right?

Without Knex, you’d write your own upsert command, and in this case, that might be easier because Knex doesn’t support this ON CONFLICT clause out of the box. Surprise! But you can write it with Knex APIs fairly easily.

The example SQL above, written in code with Knex is something like:

const util = require('util')
const knex = // app's db instance

const createUser = async ({ email, name }) => {
  const insert = knex('users').insert({ email, name }).toString()

  const update = knex('users')
    .update({ name })
    .whereRaw(`users.email = '${email}'`)
  const query = util.format(
    '%s ON CONFLICT (email) DO UPDATE SET %s',
    insert.toString(),
    update.toString().replace(/^update\s.*\sset\s/i, '')
  )

  await db.raw(query)
}

It’s cool how Knex can output the queries that are build using toString(). Those queries are later used as raw sql in the call to db.raw().

Note the use of whereRaw instead of just where in the update. This is required to get the table alias on the column. Otherwise just the email column name in the where clause will be ambiguous.

💥 ‘Ya done been upserted!

Is there another way that you’ve gotten Knex to do this?