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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 officially supported drivers are: The Filesystem and Memory drivers are also available, but in early stages of development, and so many features do not yet work: 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. couchDB stores JSON, so Kivik translates Go data structures to and from JSON as necessary. The conversion between Go data types and JSON, and vice versa, is handled automatically according to the rules and behavior described in the documentationf or the standard library's `encoding/json` package ( One would be well-advised to become familiar with using `json` struct field tags ( when working with JSON documents. Most Kivik methods take `context.Context` as their first argument. This allows the cancellation of blocking operations in the case that the result is no longer needed. A typical use case for a web application would be to cancel a Kivik request if the remote HTTP client ahs disconnected, rednering the results of the query irrelevant. To learn more about Go's contexts, read the `context` package documentation ( and read the Go blog post "Go Concurrency Patterns: Context" ( for example code. If in doubt, you can pass `context.TODO()` as the context variable. Example: Kivik returns errors that embed an HTTP status code. In most cases, this is the HTTP status code returned by the server. The embedded HTTP status code may be accessed easily using the StatusCode() method, or with a type assertion to `interface { StatusCode() int }`. Example: Any error that does not conform to this interface will be assumed to represent a http.StatusInternalServerError status code. For common usage, authentication should be as simple as including the authentication credentials in the connection DSN. For example: This will connect to `localhost` on port 5984, using the username `admin` and the password `abc123`. When connecting to CouchDB (as in the above example), this will use cookie auth ( Depending on which driver you use, there may be other ways to authenticate, as well. At the moment, the CouchDB driver is the only official driver which offers additional authentication methods. Please refer to the CouchDB package documentation for details ( With a client handle in hand, you can create a database handle with the DB() method to interact with a specific database.


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Package kivik provides a common 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.


You are browsing the stable v3 branch of Kivik. For the latest changes, you may be interested in the development branch.

Example configuration for common dependency managers follow.

Go Modules

Kivik 3.x is tested against Go 1.13 and later versions, and depends on Go modules support (added in Go 1.11). If your project does not use modules, and you are unable to switch, you may use Kivik 2.x.


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 (

    kivik ""
    _ "" // The CouchDB driver

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

    db := client.DB(context.TODO(), "animals")

    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 for every pull request, but should work on all supported Go architectures. If you find it not working for your OS/architecture, please submit a bug report.

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 3.x aims for full compatibility with all stable releases of Go from 1.9. For Go 1.7 or 1.8 you can use Kivik 1.x
  • CouchDB The Kivik 3.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 3.x PouchDB driver aims for compatibility with all stable releases of PouchDB from 6.0.0.

What is the development status?

Kivik 3.x is considered production-ready and comes with a complete client API client and backend drivers for CouchDB and PouchDB.

Future goals are to flesh 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.

What projects currently use Kivik?

If your project uses Kivik, and you'd like to be added to this list, create an issue or submit a pull request.

  • Cayley is an open-source graph database. It uses Kivik for the CouchDB and PouchDB storage backends.


Last updated on 30 Mar 2023

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