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An overview of typed SQL libraries for TypeScript

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Using relational databases in a typed language is a pain unless you have great libraries to support you. There’s a lot of different libraries for TypeScript, but they all have their own advantages and flaws. Since it’s hard to find anything other than TypeORM, this is a short list of the possibilities (not an extensive review).

I’m only including SQL libraries for TypeScript that fulfill the following criteria. If I’m missing a library, please let me know.

  • The result of a query should automatically have the correct type. You don’t need to cast it or declare the type yourself.

Object Relation Mappers (ORMs)

In an ORM you declare the schema completely in the host language (TypeScript). The ORM then completely manages synchronization between your objects / classes and the corresponding database tables.

I’m not a huge fan of ORMs since they always have the same issues: If you have somewhat complex queries, you will get to the limit of the ORM and not be able to represent that query in it without escape hatching. You also lose direct control over how the queries are handled, and thus may get surprising performance issues when the ORM uses suboptimal SQL queries in the background.

Query Builder / ORM combinations that extract types from a live database

These all connect to a dev instance of the database at compile time or in a preprocessing step to figure out the database schema and create the TypeScript types and/or code for it.


    A mix of a query builder and an ORM. Schemas are extracted from a dev instance of the database, which then generates TypeScript code to interact with the database. Very good docs, well thought out.


    Schemas are extracted from a dev instance of the database. Simple queries (Select, update, insert, each with simple joins) are fully typed with a query-builder like interface. More complex queries are done with raw SQL by manually connecting the schema types with the queries. PostgreSQL only.


    Reads raw SQL queries, and figures out the TypeScript input and return types for them by connecting to a dev instance of the database and asking it to interpret the query. Thus it is very flexible while still being statically typed. PostgreSQL only.

Fully typed query builders

For these you declare your tables in TypeScript, and write your queries in TypeScript in a way that is as similar as possible to raw SQL.

The library is then able to (ab)use the TypeScript type system to infer the return types of any type of complex query.

In theory this method is really elegant, but all of these have performance issues and regression issues, since the TS compiler is not optimized for very complex operations, and TS is not backwards compatible, so these libraries often break when a new TS version is released.