Add JavaScript code to work with Cosmos DB


Microsoft provides APIs that enable you to access Azure Cosmos DB from application code. Behind the scenes, these APIs are wrappers around a series of REST calls that send and receive HTTP requests to and from the Azure Cosmos DB service. These APIs are available for a variety of programming languages, including JavaScript.

In this unit, you'll learn how to use the JavaScript API for Azure Cosmos DB to query and manage documents and containers.

Install the JavaScript API for Azure Cosmos DB

The JavaScript API for Azure Cosmos DB is supplied in a package named @azure/cosmos. You install this package using the Node Package Manager (npm).

Connect to an Azure Cosmos DB account

The JavaScript API exposes a class named CosmosClient that acts as the access point to Azure Cosmos DB. You use a CosmosClient object to obtain a handle on databases and containers. When you have access to a container, you can query and manipulate documents.

You use the constructor to create an CosmosClient object. The constructor takes an Azure Cosmos DB connection string as its parameter. The connection string contains the address of your Azure Cosmos DB account, and the security key needed to access the account. You obtain the connection string for an account using the Azure Databases extension pane in Visual Studio Code. Right-click the account, and select Copy Connection String.

Screenshot of Azure Databases extension pane in Visual Studio Code. The user is copying the connection string for the Azure Cosmos DB account to the clipboard.

In your JavaScript application, run the following code to connect to an Azure Cosmos DB account using the connection string.

var cosmos = require("@azure/cosmos");

const client = new cosmos.CosmosClient("Connection string goes here");

You can use the client object to retrieve, create, update, and delete documents in a container. These operations all require a reference to the container. You obtain this reference through the database function of a CosmosClient object, as follows.

const databaseid = "Your database name";
const containerid = "Your container name";
const containerref = client.database(databaseid).container(containerid);
const containerdata = containerref.items;

Retrieve documents

Azure Cosmos DB provides two ways to retrieve documents. You can run a query, or fetch a document directly using its ID.

Query documents

The first technique is to run a query. Use the query function of a container and specify a SELECT statement that identifies the documents to fetch.

This code walks down the hierarchy of Azure Cosmos DB objects described in unit 2. The containerdata object provides access to the documents (items) in the container.

The following code snippet shows how to run a query against a container. The following example finds the documents for all students who have a specified academic year.

var academicyear = ...;
const studentquery = {
    query: "SELECT, s.Name.Forename, s.Name.Lastname \
            FROM students s  \
            WHERE s.AcademicYear = @year",
    parameters: [
            name: "@year",
            value: academicyear

const { resources } = await containerdata.query(studentquery).fetchAll();
for (let queryResult of resources) {
    let resultString = JSON.stringify(queryResult);
    process.stdout.write(`\nQuery returned ${resultString}\n`);


Many of the functions in the JavaScript API for Cosmos DB operate asynchronously. You use JavaScript Promise objects to schedule tasks when a function completes successfully, and to handle exceptions. You can also use the JavaScript await operator (as shown in the previous code) to pause execution until the function has completed its work.

In this example, the text of the query is encapsulated in the studentquery variable. The query is parameterized; this is good practice, to avoid possible SQL Injection attacks. The query function of the containerdata variable runs the query and returns a result set. By default, a Cosmos DB query will only retrieve the first 100 documents. In this example, the fetchAll function is used to fetch every matching document. The result set is returned as the resources property of an object. The for loop iterates through the documents in the result set and displays the contents of each document as a JSON string.

Fetch a document by ID

If you know the ID of a document, the quickest way to retrieve it is by reading directly from the container. You use the read function to do this. The parameters to read are the ID and the partition key of the document. The following example fetches a student document given the student ID and the academic year (the partition key in the sample scenario). The value returned by the read function is an object containing a copy of the document in the resource property and an HTTP status code.

The status code indicates whether the read was successful. Codes in the 200-299 range indicate success; other values indicate a failure. If there's a failure, the read function will also throw an exception. To handle the failure manually, you should examine the HTTP status code in an exception handler. This process isn't included in the following sample.

var id = ...;
var year = ...;
const { resource, statusCode } = await containerref.item(id, year).read();
process.stdout.write(`\nDetails: ${JSON.stringify(resource)}\n`);

Create, update, and delete documents

To add a new document to a container, use the create function of the container, and provide the document as the parameter. If the create operation is successful, like the read function, it returns an object containing a copy of the new document, and the HTTP status code of the request.

var student = {
    id: "SU999",
    AcademicYear: "2019",
    Name: {
        Forename: "...",
        Lastname: "..."
    CourseGrades: []

const { item, statusCode } = await containerdata.create(student)

You can use the upsert or replace functions to update a document. Strictly speaking, Azure Cosmos DB doesn't actually do an update operation. Rather, it deletes a document and replaces it with a new one that has the same ID. You'll have to supply the entire document as a parameter. The code below shows an example:

var updatedstudent = {
    id: "SU999",

const { item, statusCode } = await containerdata.upsert(updatedstudent);

The syntax for the replace function is similar. The main difference between upsert and replace concerns the case where a document with the specified ID doesn't already exist in the container. In this situation, the replace function will throw an exception, but upsert will just insert the new document.

Use the delete function to remove a document. As with read, you must provide the ID and the partition key of the document as parameters, as shown in the following code.

var student = {
    id: "SU999",
    AcademicYear: "2019",

const { item, statusCode } = await containerref.item(, student.AcademicYear).delete();

If there's no document with a matching ID and partition key, the delete function will throw an exception.