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Version: 6.0

Metadata Providers

As part of entity discovery process, MikroORM uses so called MetadataProvider to get necessary type information about our entities' properties.

We can also implement custom metadata provider by extending abstract MetadataProvider class.

There are 3 built-in metadata providers we can use:


With TsMorphMetadataProvider MikroORM will use ts-morph to read TypeScript source files of all entities to be able to detect all types. Thanks to this, defining the type is enough for runtime validation.

To use it, first install the @mikro-orm/reflection package.

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

await MikroORM.init({
metadataProvider: TsMorphMetadataProvider,
// ...

If we use folder-based discovery, we should specify paths to the compiled entities via entities as well as paths to the TS source files of those entities via entitiesTs. When we run the ORM via ts-node, the latter will be used automatically, or if we explicitly pass tsNode: true in the config. Note that tsNode: true should not be part of production config.

When running via node, .d.ts files are used to obtain the type, so we need to ship them in the production build. TS source files are no longer needed (since v4). Be sure to enable compilerOptions.declaration in our tsconfig.json.

After the discovery process ends, all metadata will be cached. By default, FileCacheAdapter will be used to store the cache inside ./temp folder in JSON files.

We can generate production cache via CLI command mikro-orm cache:generate.

We can implement custom cache adapter by implementing CacheAdapter interface.


ReflectMetadataProvider uses reflect-metadata module to read the type from decorator metadata exported by TypeScript compiler.

We will need to install reflect-metadata module and import at the top of our app's bootstrap script (e.g. main.ts or app.ts).

import 'reflect-metadata';

Next step is to enable emitDecoratorMetadata flag in our tsconfig.json.

As this approach does not have performance impact, metadata caching is not really necessary.

await MikroORM.init({
metadataProvider: ReflectMetadataProvider,
// ...

Limitations and requirements

While TsMorphMetadataProvider do not suffer from any of the following problems, it brings a performance penalty (that can be limited only to cases where you change your entity definition via metadata caching) and is in general not compatible with other compilers like webpack or babel. It also requires you to deploy .d.ts files alongside your compiled .js entities (more about this in the deployment section.

Explicit types

Since v6, the type is inferred automatically based on the runtime default value, as long as it is possible to instantiate the entity without passing any constructor arguments. As long as you keep your constructors aware of that, this limitation does not apply.

Type inference is not supported, we need to always explicitly specify the type:

createdAt: Date = new Date();

Collection properties and Identified references

We need to provide target entity type in @OneToMany and @ManyToMany decorators:

@OneToMany(() => Book, b =>
books = new Collection<Book>(this);

@ManyToOne(() => Publisher, { ref: true })
publisher!: Ref<Publisher>;

Optional properties

Reading property nullability is not supported, we need to explicitly set nullable attribute:

@Property({ nullable: true })
prop?: string;


By default, enum is considered as numeric type. For string enums, we need to explicitly provide one of:

  • reference to the enum (which will force us to define the enum before defining the entity)
    @Enum(() => UserRole)
    role: UserRole;
  • name of the enum (if it is present in the same file)
    @Enum({ type: 'UserRole' })
    role: UserRole;
  • list of the enum items
    @Enum({ items: ['a', 'b', 'c'] })
    role: UserRole;

Circular dependencies

Reading type of referenced entity in @ManyToOne and @OneToOne properties fails if there is circular dependency. We will need to explicitly define the type in the decorator (preferably via entity: () => ... callback).

@ManyToOne({ entity: () => Author })
author: Author;

There can be recursion issues when we define multiple entities (with circular dependencies between each other) in single file. In that case, we might want to provide the type via decorator's type or entity attributes and set the TS property type to something else (like any or object).

Additional typings might be required

We might have to install additional typings, one example is use of ObjectId in MongoDB, which requires @types/mongodb to be installed.

Using EntitySchema

Alternatively, you can use EntitySchema instead, which is suitable for JavaScript only projects.

If you want to have absolute control, you can also use EntitySchema.fromMetadata() factory method.

Read more about it in Usage with JavaScript section.