Interactive command line shell for CouchDB

pip install cdbcli==0.9.1


cdbcli - CouchDB Interactive Shell

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  • auto-completion for database name, document id, view name, command

  • syntax highlighting of documents and views

  • navigate a couchdb server as if it were a file system

  • various commands supported
    • cd - change database
    • ls - list docs under a database
    • cat - show content of a doc
    • exec - execute a view
    • rm - remove a doc
    • man - show help on commands
    • mkdir - create new database
    • du - doc and database size
    • lv - list views inside a view doc
  • create/update docs using external $EDITOR

  • pipe output to external shell commands, such as grep, wc and jq



This tool allows you to traverse a CouchDB database as if it were a file system. Familiar file system commands are supported, such as ls, cd, mkdir, rm, etc, while providing context-rich auto-completion.

Starting cdbcli

Refer to the Installation section for guide on how to install cdbcli.

Running cdbcli requires connection parameters to the underlying couchdb instance you want to connnect to.

cdbcli --help

Usage: cdbcli [OPTIONS] [DATABASE]

  -h, --host TEXT               The host of the couchdb instance
  --port TEXT                   The port of the coouchdb instance
  -u, --username TEXT           The username to connect as
  -p, --password TEXT           The password
  -P, --askpass / --no-askpass  Ask for password?
  --tls / --no-tls              Use TLS to connect to the couchdb instance?
  --help                        Show this message and exit.

e.g., if you want to connect your couchdb instance at http://yourdomain:9999, you can issue the command:

cdbcli -h yourdomain --port 9999 -u admin -P

Specifying -P will prompt you for password. You can also use -p to specify password at the command line, but this is not recommended for sensitive passwords.

By default, cdbcli connects to the couchdb instance at http://localhost:5984.

You will be greeted by the cdbcli's splash screen:

      ___  ____  ____   ___  __    ____
     / __)(  _ \(  _ \ / __)(  )  (_  _)
    ( (__  )(_) )) _ <( (__  )(__  _)(_
     \___)(____/(____/ \___)(____)(____)

    Welcome to cdbcli 0.1.1
    CouchDB version: 1.5.0

    Type 'help' or 'man' to get a list of all supported commands
    Press <TAB> for command auto-completion
    Press Ctrl+C or Ctrl+D or type 'exit' to exit


Run with Docker

cdbcli is also available as a docker image on the docker hub

To run:

docker run -it kevinjqiu/cdbcli cdbcli <arguments>

The docker networking restrictions apply, so if you want to connect to a database on localhost, e.g., you will need to let the container use the host's networking:

docker run -it --net=host kevinjqiu/cdbcli cdbcli <arguments>


pip install cdbcli


  • Clone this repository.
  • Make a Python virtualenv
  • Install requirements: pip install -r requirements-test.txt
  • Install docker because the integration tests require it
  • Run make start_couchdb. This will start the testing couchdb instance using docker
  • Run make test
  • Run make stop_couchdb to clean up

Contributing to Documentation

  • Clone this repository.
  • Make a Python virtualenv
  • Install requirements: pip install -r requirements-docs.txt
  • Run make docs. The documentation can be accessed under docs/build/index.html.


cdbcli is licensed under Apache 2.0


cdbcli was written by Kevin J. Qiu.

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