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Query builders

Server-side database query builders in Apostrophe help developer refine database document queries or refine the query results in some way. The sections below organize core query builders by the relevant document types.

See the database querying guide for general information about using query builders.

Builders for all doc types

The following query builders apply to all Apostrophe doc types.



Default value: true

The addUrls builder controls whether to invoke the addUrls method for doc types included in the query results. If set to false, addUrls methods are not invoked.

This effectively controls whether the query results should include a _url property on individual documents, when available. _url is a dynamic property (not stored in the database) containing the document's unique URL. Not all documents have a unique URL.

Only piece type modules have an addUrls method in Apostrophe core. By default, page documents always include the _url property.


query.and({ price: { $gte: 0 } })

The and builder adds additional required criteria to the query. The value should be a MongoDB criteria object (as you would use in the find() operation). This is the main way to add criteria to a database query. It can be used multiple times to continue adding criteria.

Since this is the main way additional criteria get merged, this method performs a few transformations of the query to make it more readable when APOS_LOG_ALL_QUERIES=1 is in the environment.



The archived builder tells the query whether or not to include archived documents in the results. It takes boolean value, undefined, or null (empty).

If the builder value is false, undefined or this method is never called, the query only returns docs that are not in the archive. This is the default behavior for document queries.

If the value is true the query returns only docs in the archive. Note that permissions would still prevent a typical site visitor from obtaining any results, but an editor might.

If the value is null (not undefined), the query returns docs regardless of archived status.



query.areas([ 'thumbnail' ])

Default value: true

The areas builder controls whether to call the load methods of widget type managers for widgets in areas. load methods are used to do things such as populating relationships in widgets and other asynchronous actions when areas are loaded.

The default value is true. Pass false to prevent the extra processing for a particular query. This is helpful to make queries faster when detailed area data is not needed.

The value can also be an array containing strings representing area field names or dot paths to nested area fields. For example, with .areas([ 'thumbnail' ]) you could load only the 'thumbnail' area for all pages matching the query.



Default value: false

Passing true to the attachments builder will annotate all attachment fields in the returned documents with URLs and other metadata (primarily for images). This uses the the apos.attachment.all method with the annotate: true option.



The autocomplete builder operates as a sort of fuzzy search for documents. It accepts a string and uses document search text properties to find matches. The string can contain multiple words, but only the final word may be a partial string to find non-exact results. So "tree" will find results with "treehouse," but "treehouses" will not find "treehouse" (it is not meant as an advanced search tool, but can help find similar results).

This will only find partial matches in high-priority properties such as the title, or any string, select or checkbox field in the schema of the document.


query.criteria({ category: { $in: ['animals', 'vegetables'] } })

Default value: {}

The criteria builder sets the base MongoDB query criteria, discarding criteria previously added using this method or the and builder. The and builder is usually better for most cases since it is not destructive. The default value of this builder is an empty object. As with the and builder, the criteria format would match that used in the MongoDB find operation.


query.defaultSort({ updatedAt: 1 })

The defaultSort changes the default value for the sort query builder. The argument is the same as for the sort query builder: an object like { updatedAt: 1 }, including a field name and 1 for ascending or -1 for descending. See the MongoDB sort method documentation for other options. false can be passed as an option as well to clear the default sort.

It is distinct from the sort builder to distinguish between cases where a default sort should be ignored (for instance, the search query builder is present) and cases where a sort is explicitly requested by the user.

In most custom uses the sort builder will likely be a more common option.



The _ids builder causes the query to return only the document with matching _id properties and to return them in that order, assuming the documents with the specified IDs exist. All documents are fetched in the locale and mode of the request regardless of the locale suffix of the values. If no locale can be determined via query parameters, the locale is inferred from the first _id in the set.

The query builder can also be called with a string, which is treated as a single document ID.



The limit query builder accepts an integer and limits the number of document results. It returns the first matching documents up to the set limit after taking the skip builder into account.



Default value: false

A valid locale identifier passed to the locale builder will tell the query to return results only belonging to that locale, including the mode (draft or published) after a : character. Documents that match the query and have no locale (because their doc type is not localized) are also included in the results. Specifically passing false (the default value) will use the locale and mode on the req request object.



Default value: false

Setting the builder .log(true) on a query will log the the query criteria on the server (or the terminal when working on a local machine).

  _id: 'cgwxzcdvc501b4v3ghxvxqgg1:en:published',

Default value: false

Passing a document object to the next builder returns the document that follows it in the current sort order. The document object argument needs to at least include the properties used by the current sort as well as the _id. The _id is used as a tiebreaker to avoid loops.


Default value: 1

The page builder is used to request a particular "page," or set, of results when the perPage builder is also used. Page numbers start with 1 (there is no page zero).



Default value: true

The pageUrl query builder is set to true by default and controls whether to add the ._url property to page documents in the query results. The builder can be set to false to disable the ._url property on a particular query.

The ._url property will include a site prefix if applicable and is always better to use than the document's slug for a URL.



The permission builder is used to restrict returned documents based on the action name passed as an argument. Only documents on which the req object can take the named action are returned. For example, using .permission('edit') on the query will only return documents that the requesting user (via req) can edit.

Valid action arguments include:

  • 'view': The req has permission to view the documents. This is the default.
  • 'edit': The req has permission to edit the documents.
  • 'publish': The req has permission to publish the documents.
  • false: Bypass any permission checks. This returns everything regardless of permission level. Use this with caution.

In all cases, all of the returned docs are marked with _edit: true properties if the user associated with the request is allowed to edit the document and _published: true if the user is allowed to publish it. This is useful if you are fetching docs for viewing but also want to know which ones can be edited.



Default value: undefined

Using the perPage builder returns documents in sets of the number passed as an argument. This helps return documents in managable numbers and paginate the results, using the page query builder to get a specific set of results. This is usually easier than using skip and limit directly.

After the query completes, with await query.toArray() for instance, query.get('totalPages') will return the total number of pages.


  _id: 'cgwxzcdvc501b4v3ghxvxqgg1:en:published',

Default value: false

Passing a document object to the previous builder returns the document that precedes it in the current sort order. The document object argument needs to at least include the properties used by the current sort as well as the _id. The _id is used as a tiebreaker to avoid loops.


  title: 1,
  category: 1,
  updatedAt: 1

The project builders sets the MongoDB projection, specifying the document properties to included in the returned documents. The argument should be an object with properties of desired field names set to 1 to include those fields. Negative projections (category: 0) are currently not supported.

In addition to database properties, Apostrophe provides two dynamic properties that can be included in the project builder object:

  • _url: 1 will include all properties required to generate an accurate _url property for each returned document.
  • _relationshipName: 1 will add the properties required to permit a field of type relationship to be loaded, even though the related documents are not stored redundantly in the database. In this example, the name of the field is _relationshipName. _articles: 1 could do the same for a relationship to article pieces.




Default value: true

By default, relationship data are fetched for queried documents. The relationships builder can prevent or limit this.

Pass false to the builder to not retrieve any relationship data. You may also pass an array of relationship names, which will fetch only those relationships and those intermediate to them (using dot notation).


query.sort({ updatedAt: -1, title: 1 })

The sort builder sets the sorting order for returned documents. If not set, the default is used, from the defaultSort builder or module configuration. The sort argument is an object like { updatedAt: 1 }, including a field name and 1 for ascending or -1 for descending. See the MongoDB sort method documentation for other options.

false can be passed as an option to use no sort definition at all. This can be helpful when using MongoDB operators like $near, which already sort.

If this method is never called or the argument is undefined, a case-insensitive sort on the title is normally the default. If search() has been called, then a sort by search result quality is the default.

If the query sorts on a field that is defined in a doc type's schema with the sortify: true option, then this query builder will automatically substitute a "sortified" version of the field: case-insensitive and ignoring extra whitespace and punctuation. This provides a more natural sort than MongoDB normally does.



The skip builder accepts a number as an argument, then skips that number of documents in a query's results. This affects toArray and toObject. It does not affect toDistinct or toMongo.'tree')

The search builder limits results to those matching the string passed as an argument. Search is implemented using MongoDB's $text operator and a full text index. The search builder does not support partial matches. For that, see the autocomplete builder.

If this query builder is set, the sort query builder will default to sorting by search quality. This is important because the worst of the full-text search matches will be of very poor quality.



The type builder can be used to limit a query to only one particular doc type. Pass the doc type name (string) as an argument.

Generally you don't want to call this method directly. It will be better to use a doc type module's find method, which limits to that type automatically. You can also include the doc type name as the type criteria in a generic find() method's arguments.



If the withPublished builder is set to true, then each document in the results will include a _publishedDoc property. That property will be set to the published version of that document. This is really only useful when querying for draft documents.

Page document query builders

The following query builders are only available on query created with the page module's method and page REST API routes.



query.ancestors({ children: true })

Default value: false

Setting the ancestors builder to true retrieves the array of "ancestors" for each returned page and assigns them to the _ancestors property. Page ancestors are those that precede a given page in the page tree hierarchy. The home page is _ancestors[0]. A returned page is not included in its own _ancestors array.

If the builder's argument is an object, the builder does all of the above, and also calls the query builders present in the object on the query that fetches the ancestors. For example, you can pass { children: true } to fetch the children of each ancestor as the _children property of each ancestor, or pass { children: { depth: 2 } } to get two layers of child pages.

ancestors also has its own depth option, but it might not do what you think. If the depth option is present as a top-level property of the ancestors builder argument, then only that number of ancestors are retrieved, counting backwards from the immediate parent of each page. So { depth: 2 } retrieves only the two closest ancestors.



query.children({ depth: 1 })

Default value: false

The children builder is used to include the "children" of returned pages in an array on a _children property. If children(true) is called, it will return all children of a given page. If the argument is an object, it may have a depth property to fetch a specific number of child layers. Any other properties are passed on as builders for the query that fetches the children.



Default value: true

Passing true to the isPage builder ensures that results will only include documents that are pages.



The orphan builder is used to return documents based on their "orphan" status. Orphans are pages that are not returned by the default behavior of the children query builder and thus are left out of standard navigation.

If flag is true, return only orphan docs. If flag is false, return only docs that are not orphans. If .orphan(null) or undefined is called, or this method is never called, return docs regardless of orphan status.

Image document query builders

The following query builders are only available on query created with the image module's apos.image.find method and piece REST API routes when dealing with the @apostrophecms/image piece type.


query.minSize([ 600, 800 ])

The minSize query builder can be used to set a minimum size for returned image documents. The argument should be an array with two values: the image width and the image height, in that order. The sizes are measured in pixels.