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Data Import

Last updated a day ago Edit this page

Data to be imported needs to adhere to the Normalized Data Format (NDF). As of today, the conversion from any concrete data source (like MySQL, MongoDB or Firebase) to NDF must be performed manually. In the future, the Prisma CLI will support importing from these data sources directly.


Note that import operations are not idempotent. This means running an import always adds data to your service. It never updates existing nodes. This means importing the same dataset multiple times will lead to undefined behaviour.

For example, importing a node with the same id more than once will lead to undefined behaviour and likely break your service!

Data Validation

The import API does not perform any validation checks on the data to be imported. When using the CLI to import data, basic validation checks are executed.

Importing invalid data leads to undefined behaviour and might break your service! As the service maintainer, you are responsible to ensure the validity of the imported data.

Tip: A good way to ensure valid data when importing is inspecting the data of a previous export on a service with an identical data model.

Here is a general overview of the data import process:

+--------------+                    +----------------+                       +------------+
| +--------------+                  |                |                       |            |
| |            | |                  |                |                       |            |
| | SQL        | |  (1) transform   |      NDF       |  (2) chunked upload   |   Prisma   |
| | MongoDB    | | +--------------> |                | +-------------------> |            |
| | JSON       | |                  |                |                       |            |
| |            | |                  |                |                       |            |
+--------------+ |                  +----------------+                       +------------+

As mentioned above, step 1 has to be performed manually. Step 2 can then be done by either using the raw import API or the prisma import command from the CLI.

To view the current state of supported transformations in the CLI and submit a vote for the one you need, you can check out this GitHub issue.

When uploading files in NDF, you need to provide the import data split across three different kinds of files:

  • nodes: Data for individual nodes (i.e. databases records)
  • lists: Data for a list of nodes
  • relations: Data for related nodes

You can upload an unlimited number of files for each of these types, but it's recommended that each file should be at most 1 MB large. Otherwise you might run into timeouts.

#Data import with the CLI

The Prisma CLI offers the prisma import command. It accepts one option:

  • --data (short: -d): A file path to a directory containing the data to be imported (this can either be regular or a zipped directory)

Under the hood, the CLI uses the import API that's described in the next section. However, using the CLI provides some major benefits:

  • uploading multiple files at once (rather than having to upload each file individually)
  • leveraging the CLI's authentication mechanism (i.e. you don't need to manually send your authentication token)
  • ability to pause and resume an ongoing import
  • import from various data sources like MySQL, MongoDB or Firebase (not available yet)

#Input format

When importing data using the CLI, the files containing the data in NDF need to be located in directories called after their type: nodes, lists and relations.

NDF files are JSON files following a specific structure, so each file containing import data needs to end on .json. When placed in their respective directories (nodes, lists or relations), the .json-files need to be numbered incrementally, starting with 1, e.g. 1.json. The file name can be prepended with any number of zeros, e.g. 01.json or 0000001.json.


Consider the following file structure defining a Prisma service:

├── data
│   ├── lists
│   │   ├── 0001.json
│   │   ├── 0002.json
│   │   └── 0003.json
│   ├── nodes
│   │   ├── 0001.json
│   │   └── 0002.json
│   └── relations
│       └── 0001.json
├── datamodel.graphql
└── prisma.yml

data contains the files data to be imported. Further, all files ending on .json are adhering to NDF. To import the data from these files, you can simply run the following command in the terminal:

prisma import --data data

#Data import using the raw import API

The raw import API is exposed under the /import path of your service's HTTP endpoint. For example:

  • http://localhost:60000/my-app/dev/import
  • https://database.prisma.sh/my-app/prod/import

One request can upload JSON data (in NDF) of at most 10 MB in size. Note that you need to provide your authentication token in the HTTP Authorization header of the request!

Here is an example curl command for uploading some JSON data (of NDF type nodes):

curl 'http://localhost:60000/my-app/dev/import' \
-H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
-H 'Authorization: Bearer eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpc3MiOiJPbmxpbmUgSldUIEJ1aWxkZXIiLCJpYXQiOjE1MTM1OTQzMTEsImV4cCI6MTU0NTEzMDMxMSwiYXVkIjasd3d3LmV4YW1wbGUuY29tIiwic3ViIjoianJvY2tldEBleGFtcGxlLmNvbSIsIkdpdmVuTmFtZSI6IkpvaG5ueSIsIlN1cm5hbWUiOiJSb2NrZXQiLCJFbWFpbCI6Impyb2NrZXRAZXhhbXBsZS5jb20iLCJSb2xlIjpbIk1hbmFnZXIiLCJQcm9qZWN0IEFkbWluaXN0cmF0b3IiXX0.L7DwH7vIfTSmuwfxBI82D64DlgoLBLXOwR5iMjZ_7nI' \
-d '{"valueType":"nodes","values":[{"_typeName":"Model0","id":"0","a":"test","b":0,"createdAt":"2017-11-29 14:35:13"},{"_typeName":"Model1","id":"1","a":"test","b":1},{"_typeName":"Model2","id":"2","a":"test","b":2,"createdAt":"2017-11-29 14:35:13"},{"_typeName":"Model0","id":"3","a":"test","b":3},{"_typeName":"Model3","id":"4","a":"test","b":4,"createdAt":"2017-11-29 14:35:13","updatedAt":"2017-11-29 14:35:13"},{"_typeName":"Model3","id":"5","a":"test","b":5},{"_typeName":"Model3","id":"6","a":"test","b":6},{"_typeName":"Model4","id":"7"},{"_typeName":"Model4","id":"8","string":"test","int":4,"boolean":true,"dateTime":"1015-11-29 14:35:13","float":13.333,"createdAt":"2017-11-29 14:35:13","updatedAt":"2017-11-29 14:35:13"},{"_typeName":"Model5","id":"9","string":"test","int":4,"boolean":true,"dateTime":"1015-11-29 14:35:13","float":13.333,"createdAt":"2017-11-29 14:35:13","updatedAt":"2017-11-29 14:35:13"}]}' \

The generic version for curl (using placeholders) would look as follows:

curl '__SERVICE_ENDPOINT__/import' \
-H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
-H 'Authorization: Bearer __JWT_AUTH_TOKEN__' \
-d '{"valueType":"__NDF_TYPE__","values": __DATA__ }' \

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