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Finding by ID (primary key) in Datomic

Published March 10, 2013

This post is part of a series: Datomic

Datomic has no essential type for entities, so how do you find the user with id X with Datomic?

Finding by internal Datomic entity ID

All entities in datomic gets the attribute :db/id, which is Datomic's own primary key attribute. You might be surprised that (d/entity db 123) for an entity id that doesn't exists doesn't return nil.

(require ['datomic.api :as 'd])

(def db (d/db my-datomic-connection))
(def non-existing-id 123123)
(d/entity db non-existing-id)
;; Returns an actual entity
;; Even if there's no entity with id 123123

To actually find an entity by ID, you need to run a query.

;; Assuming an entity with id 123 exists

(d/q '[:find ?eid :in $ ?eid :where [?eid]] db 123)
;; HashSet [[123]]

(d/q '[:find ?eid :in $ ?eid :where [?eid]] db non-existing-id)
;; HashSet [[]]

Also, just for fun, we can create a reproducible example that doesn't depend on having an actual Datomic database around, since Datomic is able to query any data strucutre that consists of a list of lists.

;; This is what an actual Datomic DB actually looks like.
(def my-mock-db [
  [123 :name "Test"]
  [123 :email "test@test.com"]
  [456 :name "Foo"]
  [456 :email "Hello"]])

;; A "normal" query, for good measure.
(d/q '[:find ?person
       :in $ ?name
       :where [?person :name ?name]]
     my-mock-db "Test")
;; HashSet [[123]]

(d/q '[:find ?eid :in $ ?eid :where [?eid]] my-mock-db 123)
;; HashSet [[123]]

(d/q '[:find ?eid :in $ ?eid :where [?eid]] my-mock-db 999)
;; HashSet [[]]

However, how do we know that we get an entity of the type we want? Datomic entities doesn't actually have a type, they're just entities with attributes, so we're at a loss.

Using manual "public ID" attributes

I like to have a public ID field per entity type in my system. Again, Datomic entities has no type, so this is all on us, Datomic doesn't care.

I use a string type that's set to unique. Setting it to unique is obviously important. You could also use the built-in UUID type if you want to, but I find it more convenient to just work with strings.

;; Inserting data
  [{:person/name "Test"
    :person/email "test@test.com"
    :person/public-id (str (java.util.UUID/randomUUID))
    :db/id (d/tempid :db.part/user}])

;; ...

 '[:find ?person
   :in $ ?pub-id
   [?person :person/public-id ?pub-id]]


Questions or comments?

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