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Chris Achinga for Hackmamba

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Why Appwrite's database relationships are a game-changer for intermediate developers

Appwrite is an open-source end-to-end backend server that simplifies developers' work by providing tools and services to build modern applications. Appwrite allows developers to keep and share data across applications using Appwrite Databases.

Database relationships, a powerful tool to simplify collection management for junior and intermediate developers, is an important feature of Appwrite. The benefits of Appwrite database relationships, as well as the way they save developers time and effort, will be discussed in this article.

Diagram illustrating Database Relationship (ER) Diagram

The power of Appwrite's database relationships

Appwrite's database service lets you create structured collections of documents. Appwrite allows developers to search and filter documents and manage document permissions. After querying the database, data is returned in structured JSON form, and each database may contain several collections of similarly structured documents. Collection attributes ensure that data submitted by users are valid and stored in the correct format.

The Appwrite permission structure allows for the assignment of reading or writing access to individual collections or documents in a project. This can be done for special users, teams, user roles, or even public access. The secure and manageable environment for developers to build applications is ensured by handling permissions and access controls in Appwrite.

Types of relationships in Appwrite:

In Appwrite, relationships define how different collections in a database associate.
Database relationships can be of two directions:

This relationship can only be seen by one side of the partnership. It is the same as a tree data structure where each leaf contains no reference to its root but refers to all leaves in that tree.

Both sides of the relationship are aware of the relationship. It's like a graph data structure, where each node has a reference to all its edges, and all its edges can refer to the nodes it's connected to.

The four types of relationships offered by Appwrite database relations define the associative rules between documents in different collections:

A document may only be related to one and only one document in a one-to-one relationship. Appwrite flags an error when connecting multiple documents in a one-to-one relationship. If only one other entity is associated with each entity, this type of relationship is useful. Example:
One user can only have one profile.

In a one-to-many relationship, a document can be related to many others. This type of relationship is useful when one entity is associated with multiple other entities.
One user can have many articles.

In a many-to-one relationship, many documents can be related to a single document. This type of relationship is the reverse of the one-to-many relationship and is useful when multiple entities are associated with a single entity.
Many articles can share one author.

A document can be related to many other documents in a many-to-many relationship. This type of relationship is useful when multiple entities are associated with multiple other entities. Example:
A user can have many friends, and many users can share the same friend.

Accelerating development with Appwrite's database relationships

Pre-built API for efficient database management:
Appwrite offers a pre-built API that simplifies creating, updating, and deleting relationships between documents in different collections. Developers can concentrate on building their applications and avoid the complexity of managing database associations when they provide an API to manage relationships.

Easy-to-use query language:
In Appwrite’s release announcement, database querying involving relationships will allow developers to efficiently retrieve and manipulate data in their applications, reducing the time and effort required to implement complex queries manually.

An example of a query using Appwrite’s JavaScript web SDK:

    const { Client, Databases } = require('node-appwrite');

    const client = new Client()
        .setEndpoint('https://[HOSTNAME_OR_IP]/v1') // Your API Endpoint
        .setProject('[PROJECT_ID]');               // Your project ID

    const databases = new Databases(client);

    await databases.updateDocument(
            title: 'Spiderman',
            year: 2002,
            reviews: [
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Minimized manual coding efforts
The database relationships feature of Appwrite reduces the manual coding required to manage the associations between documents. Developers can rapidly establish and maintain relationships, leading to faster development and reducing the risk of errors by using its straightforward configuration options and simple code snippets.

Flexibility and scalability for growing applications

Adaptable database schema:
Developers can create flexible database schemas with Appwrite database relationships. Developers can quickly adapt their database structure by supporting different relationship types, deleting behaviours to meet evolving application requirements and avoiding rigid schemas that limit growth.

Hassle-free database migration and maintenance:
Using relationships in Appwrite helps to decrease redundant database information and simplify the task of data updates. This simplifies database migrations and maintenance processes, making the program more manageable and maintainable.

Scalability to support application growth:
The database relationships in Appwrite are intended to promote scalability as applications evolve. Developers may guarantee their applications are ready to manage increased data volume and complexity by properly organizing data using relationships, allowing for smooth scaling and improved performance as the application grows.

Seamless integration with the Appwrite ecosystem

Complementary services:
Appwrite's database relationships work harmoniously with other Appwrite services, such as authentication, storage, and functions. This synergy provides a comprehensive and cohesive development experience, enabling developers to build full-featured applications with a single platform easily.

Wide range of SDKs and libraries for different programming languages:

Relationships (Beta) - Docs - Appwrite

Appwrite is a backend-as-a-service platform that provides developers with all the core APIs required to build any application.


Appwrite offers a variety of SDKs, making it easy to integrate database relationships into your existing development environment. Appwrite’s SDK includes the following:

Strong developer community and support:
The Appwrite ecosystem is supported by a robust and active developer community. Developers can access resources, share knowledge, and receive assistance through various channels, including online forums, social media, and official documentation. This strong community ensures developers can get the help they need when working with Appwrite's database relationships and other features.

Ensuring security and privacy

Role-based access control:
Appwrite's database relationships provide a role-based control of the access to read, write and update documents, enabling developers to assign specific permissions. This robust control gives you greater security and privacy for your application, so authorized users can access and edit data.

Data encryption and secure connections:
Using encryption and secure connections, Appwrite protects data in transit and at rest. All client-server communication uses SSLTLS encryption, and data at rest shall use industry ciphertext standards. This security method safeguards sensitive information and ensures developers' and users' peace of mind.

Compliance with privacy regulations (GDPR, CCPA):
Appwrite's database relationships help developers comply with various privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Appwrite supports the development environment in which privacy is protected by providing features that enable developers to store user data safely, giving users control over their personal information.

Appwrite's database relationships in action

Appwrite's database relationships are versatile and can be used across various application domains. These relationships enable developers to model complex real-world associations between entities, providing a powerful foundation for building feature-rich applications.

E-commerce platforms:

Relationships in an e-commerce platform can link products, categories, customers, orders, and reviews. For example, one product may belong to multiple categories, one customer can have multiple orders, and each order can contain multiple products. Appwrite's database relationships make it simple to model and manage these connections efficiently.

Social networking sites:

Appwrite's relationships can be leveraged to create a robust social networking application where users can have friends, join groups, and post content. For instance, a user may have many-to-many relationships with other users as friends, one-to-many relationships with posts they create, and many-to-one relationships with groups they join.

Project management tools:

Relationships can associate users with projects, tasks, and comments in a project management application. A project may have many users, each user can have multiple tasks, and each task can have multiple comments. Appwrite's database relationships make it easy to maintain these associations, providing a solid foundation for building an efficient project management tool.

Success stories from developers:

Appwrite's database relationships have been successfully implemented by developers in various industries and use cases, enabling them to build efficient, scalable, and secure applications. By leveraging the power of Appwrite's database relationships, developers can focus on building their applications' core functionality, resulting in faster development cycles and increased productivity.

Getting started with Appwrite database relationships


    docker run -it --rm \
        --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
        --volume "$(pwd)"/appwrite:/usr/src/code/appwrite:rw \
        --entrypoint="install" \
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    docker run -it --rm ^
        --volume //var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock ^
        --volume "%cd%"/appwrite:/usr/src/code/appwrite:rw ^
        --entrypoint="install" ^
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Database relationships can be created from Appwrite’s dashboard UI or programmatically:

Here are sample code snippets for creating relationships:
Using Node.js:

    const { Client, Databases } = require('node-appwrite');

    const client = new Client()
        .setEndpoint('https://[HOSTNAME_OR_IP]/v1') // Your API Endpoint
        .setProject('[PROJECT_ID]');               // Your project ID

    const databases = new Databases(client);

        'marvel',     // Database ID
        'movies',     // Collection ID
        'reviews',    // Related collection ID
        'oneToMany',  // Relationship type
        true,         // Is two-way
        'reviews',    // Attribute key 
        'movie',      // Two-way attribute key
        'cascade'     // On delete action
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The preceding example introduces a link between the movie collections and the reviews. The movie collection now has a relationship attribute with the key reviews, and the reviews collection has another relationship attribute with the main movie.


The article explains why Appwrite's database relationships are a key tool for junior and intermediate developers, allowing them to have the capabilities and flexibility they need to succeed. It will facilitate the efficient modeling of complex interactions between entities in different application domains, thus leading to quicker development cycles and productivity gains by encouraging developers to take advantage of this feature. Developers can concentrate on developing their application's essential functions and make the development experience more effective and enjoyable through Appwrite database relationships.


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