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Version: 5.9

Installation & Usage

First install the module via yarn or npm and do not forget to install the driver package as well:

Since v4, we should install the driver package, but not the db connector itself, e.g. install @mikro-orm/sqlite, but not sqlite3 as that is already included in the driver package.

yarn add @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/mongodb     # for mongo
yarn add @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/mysql # for mysql/mariadb
yarn add @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/mariadb # for mysql/mariadb
yarn add @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/postgresql # for postgresql
yarn add @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/sqlite # for sqlite


npm i -s @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/mongodb     # for mongo
npm i -s @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/mysql # for mysql/mariadb
npm i -s @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/mariadb # for mysql/mariadb
npm i -s @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/postgresql # for postgresql
npm i -s @mikro-orm/core @mikro-orm/sqlite # for sqlite

Next we will need to enable support for decorators as well as esModuleInterop in tsconfig.json via:

"experimentalDecorators": true,
"emitDecoratorMetadata": true,
"esModuleInterop": true,

Then call MikroORM.init as part of bootstrapping our app:

To access driver specific methods like em.createQueryBuilder() we need to specify the driver type when calling MikroORM.init<D>(). Alternatively we can cast the orm.em to EntityManager exported from the driver package:

import { EntityManager } from '@mikro-orm/postgresql';
const em = orm.em as EntityManager;
const qb = em.createQueryBuilder(...);
import type { PostgreSqlDriver } from '@mikro-orm/postgresql'; // or any other driver package

const orm = await MikroORM.init<PostgreSqlDriver>({
entities: ['./dist/entities'], // path to our JS entities (dist), relative to `baseDir`
entitiesTs: ['./src/entities'], // path to our TS entities (src), relative to `baseDir`
dbName: 'my-db-name',
type: 'postgresql',
console.log(orm.em); // access EntityManager via `em` property

Read more about all the possible configuration options in Advanced Configuration section.

We can also provide paths where we store our entities via entities array. Internally it uses globby so we can use globbing patterns, including negative globs.

const orm = await MikroORM.init<PostgreSqlDriver>({
entities: ['./dist/app/**/entities'],
entitiesTs: ['./src/app/**/entities'],
// ...

If we are experiencing problems with folder based discovery, try using mikro-orm debug CLI command to check what paths are actually being used.

Since v4, we can also use file globs, like ./dist/app/**/entities/*.entity.js.

We can also set the configuration via environment variables.

We can pass additional options to the underlying driver (e.g. mysql2) via driverOptions. The object will be deeply merged, overriding all internally used options.

Possible issues with circular dependencies

Our entities will most probably contain circular dependencies (e.g. if we use bi-directional relationship). While this is fine, there might be issues caused by wrong order of entities during discovery, especially when we are using the folder based way.

The errors caused by circular dependencies are usually similar to this one:

TypeError: Cannot read property 'name' of undefined
at Function.className (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/utils/Utils.js:253:28)
at TsMorphMetadataProvider.extractType (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/metadata/TsMorphMetadataProvider.js:37:34)
at TsMorphMetadataProvider.initProperties (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/metadata/TsMorphMetadataProvider.js:25:31)
at TsMorphMetadataProvider.loadEntityMetadata (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/metadata/TsMorphMetadataProvider.js:16:9)
at MetadataDiscovery.discoverEntity (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/metadata/MetadataDiscovery.js:109:9)
at MetadataDiscovery.discoverDirectory (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/metadata/MetadataDiscovery.js:80:13)
at Function.runSerial (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/utils/Utils.js:303:22)
at MetadataDiscovery.findEntities (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/metadata/MetadataDiscovery.js:56:13)
at (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/metadata/MetadataDiscovery.js:30:9)
at Function.init (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/MikroORM.js:45:24)
at Function.handleSchemaCommand (/path/to/project/node_modules/mikro-orm/dist/cli/SchemaCommandFactory.js:51:21)

If we encounter this, we have basically two options:

  • Use entity references in entities array to have control over the order of discovery. We might need to play with the actual order we provide here, or possibly with the order of import statements.
  • Use strings instead of references (e.g. @OneToMany('Book', 'author')). The downside here is that we will lose the typechecking capabilities of the decorators.

Entity Discovery in TypeScript

In v4 the default metadata provider is ReflectMetadataProvider. If we want to use ts-morph based discovery (that reads actual TS types via the compiler API), we need to install @mikro-orm/reflection.

import { TsMorphMetadataProvider } from '@mikro-orm/reflection';

const orm = await MikroORM.init<PostgreSqlDriver>({
metadataProvider: TsMorphMetadataProvider,
// ...

Read more about the differences in Metadata Providers section.

const orm = await MikroORM.init<PostgreSqlDriver>({
entities: ['./dist/entities/**/*.js'], // path to our JS entities (dist), relative to `baseDir`
entitiesTs: ['./src/entities/**/*.ts'], // path to our TS entities (source), relative to `baseDir`
// ...

It is important that entities will point to the compiled JS files, and entitiesTs will point to the TS source files. We should not mix those.

For ts-morph discovery to work in production, we need to deploy .d.ts declaration files. Be sure to enable compilerOptions.declaration in our tsconfig.json.

We can also use different metadata provider or even write custom one:

  • ReflectMetadataProvider that uses reflect-metadata instead of ts-morph
  • JavaScriptMetadataProvider that allows us to manually provide the entity schema (mainly for Vanilla JS)

Using EntitySchema is another way to define our entities, which is better suited than using JavaScriptMetadataProvider.

const orm = await MikroORM.init<PostgreSqlDriver>({
// default in v4, so not needed to specify explicitly
metadataProvider: ReflectMetadataProvider,
// ...

Request Context

Then we will need to fork Entity Manager for each request so their identity maps will not collide. To do so, we can use the RequestContext helper:

const app = express();

app.use((req, res, next) => {
RequestContext.create(orm.em, next);

If the next handler needs to be awaited (like in Koa), use RequestContext.createAsync() instead.

app.use((ctx, next) => RequestContext.createAsync(orm.em, next));

More info about RequestContext is described here.

Setting up the Commandline Tool

MikroORM ships with a number of command line tools that are very helpful during development, like SchemaGenerator and EntityGenerator. We can call this command from the NPM binary directory or use npx:

To work with the CLI, first install @mikro-orm/cli package locally. The version needs to be aligned with the @mikro-orm/core package.

# install the CLI package first!
$ yarn add @mikro-orm/cli

# manually
$ node node_modules/.bin/mikro-orm

# via npx
$ npx mikro-orm

# or via yarn
$ yarn mikro-orm

For CLI to be able to access our database, we will need to create mikro-orm.config.js file that exports our ORM configuration.

ORM configuration file can export the Promise, like: export default Promise.resolve({...});.

TypeScript is also supported, just enable useTsNode flag in our package.json file. By default, when useTsNode is not enabled, CLI will ignore .ts files, so if you want to out-out of this behaviour, enable the alwaysAllowTs option. This would be useful if you want to use MikroORM with Bun, which has TypeScript support out of the box. There we can also set up array of possible paths to mikro-orm.config file, as well as use different file name. The package.json file can be located in the current working directory, or in one of its parent folders.

We can use these environment variables to override CLI settings:

  • MIKRO_ORM_CLI: the path to ORM config file
  • MIKRO_ORM_CLI_USE_TS_NODE: register ts-node
  • MIKRO_ORM_CLI_TS_CONFIG_PATH: path to the tsconfig.json (for ts-node)
  • MIKRO_ORM_CLI_ALWAYS_ALLOW_TS: enable .ts files to use without ts-node

Do not forget to install ts-node when enabling useTsNode flag.

The useTsNode is used only when executing the CLI, it is not respected when running our app.

MikroORM will always try to load the first available config file, based on the order in configPaths. This means that if we specify the first item as the TS config, but we do not have ts-node enabled and installed, it will fail to load it.

"name": "our-app",
"dependencies": { ... },
"mikro-orm": {
"useTsNode": true,
"configPaths": [
export default {
entities: [Author, Book, BookTag], // no need for `entitiesTs` this way
dbName: 'my-db-name',
type: 'mongo', // one of `mongo` | `mysql` | `mariadb` | `postgresql` | `sqlite`

To have the config type-safe, we can define the options variable first, with the Options type:

import { Options } from '@mikro-orm/core';

const config: Options = {
// ...

export default config;

Alternatively, we can use the defineConfig helper that should provide intellisense even in JavaScript files, without the need for type hints via jsdoc:

import { defineConfig } from '@mikro-orm/core';

export default defineConfig({
// ...

When we have useTsNode disabled and ts-node is not already registered and detected, TS config files will be ignored.

Once we have the CLI config properly set up, we can omit the MikroORM.init() options parameter, and the CLI config will be automatically used. This process may fail if we use bundlers that use tree shaking. As the config file is not referenced anywhere statically, it would not be compiled - for that the best approach is to provide the config explicitly:

import config from './mikro-orm.config';
const orm = await MikroORM.init(config);

We can also use different names for this file, simply rename it in the configPaths array our in package.json. We can also use MIKRO_ORM_CLI environment variable with the path to override configPaths value.

Now we should be able to start using the CLI. All available commands are listed in the CLI help:

Usage: mikro-orm <command> [options]

mikro-orm cache:clear Clear metadata cache
mikro-orm cache:generate Generate metadata cache for production
mikro-orm generate-entities Generate entities based on current database
mikro-orm database:import <file> Imports the SQL file to the database
mikro-orm schema:create Create database schema based on current
mikro-orm schema:drop Drop database schema based on current
mikro-orm schema:update Update database schema based on current
mikro-orm migration:create Create new migration with current schema
mikro-orm migration:up Migrate up to the latest version
mikro-orm migration:down Migrate one step down
mikro-orm migration:list List all executed migrations
mikro-orm migration:pending List all pending migrations
mikro-orm debug Debug CLI configuration

-v, --version Show version number [boolean]
-h, --help Show help [boolean]

mikro-orm schema:update --run Runs schema synchronization

To verify our setup, we can use mikro-orm debug command.

When we have CLI config properly set up, we can omit the options parameter when calling MikroORM.init().

Note: When importing a dump file we need multipleStatements: true in our configuration. Please check the configuration documentation for more information.

Now we can start defining our entities.