Ibiyemi Adewakun Ibiyemi is a full-stack developer from Lagos. When she's not writing code, she likes to read, listen to music, and put cute outfits together.

Using Sequelize with TypeScript

8 min read 2299

Using Sequelize With TypeScript

Writing raw SQL in your API is so passé, or at best it’s reserved for really complex queries. These are simpler times for developing, and for most APIs, using one of many object-relational mappers (ORMs) is sufficient.

ORMs also conveniently encapsulate the intricate details of communicating with a database and its query language.

This means you can use a single ORM on multiple database types like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or MongoDb, making it easy to switch between databases without rewriting your code! You can also connect different types of databases to your project while using the same code to access them.

In this article, you’ll learn how to use the Sequelize ORM with TypeScript. So grab your laptops, open your IDE, and let’s get started!


To follow along with this article, install the following:

Setting up the project

To begin our project, let’s set up a simple Express.js API to create a virtual cookbook that stores recipes and ingredients, and tags our recipes with popular categories.

First, let’s create our project directory by typing the following into our terminal:

$ mkdir cookbook
$ cd cookbook

Inside the new cookbook project directory, install the needed project dependencies using yarn. First, run npm init to initialize the Node.js project with a package.json file:

$ npm init

After the Node.js project initializes, install the dependencies starting with express:

$ yarn add express

Next, add TypeScript to the project by running the following:

We made a custom demo for .
No really. Click here to check it out.

$ yarn add -D typescript ts-node @types/express @types/node

💡 Note that we’ve added a flag, -D, to our installation command. This flag tells Yarn to add these libraries as dev dependencies, meaning these libraries are only needed when the project is in development. We also added type definitions for Express.js and Node.js.

With TypeScript added to our project, let’s initialize it:

$ npx tsc --init

This creates our TypeScript configuration file ts.config, and sets the default values:

// ts.config
    "compilerOptions": {
      "target": "es5",                                
      "module": "commonjs",                           
      "sourceMap": true,                           
      "outDir": "dist",                              
      "strict": true,                                 
      "esModuleInterop": true,                        
      "skipLibCheck": true,                           
      "forceConsistentCasingInFileNames": true        

Find more information about customizing ts.config here.

Finally, let’s define a simple API structure for our project by creating project directories and files to match the outline below:

- dist # the name of our outDir set in tsconfig.json
- src
  - api
    - controllers
    - contracts
    - routes
    - services
  - db
    - dal
    - dto
    - models
  - errors

Now that we have defined our project structure in the index.ts file, which is our application’s starting point, add the following code to create our Express.js server:

# src/index.ts

import express, { Application, Request, Response } from 'express'

const app: Application = express()
const port = 3000

// Body parsing Middleware
app.use(express.urlencoded({ extended: true }));
app.get('/', async(req: Request, res: Response): Promise<Response> => {
    return res.status(200).send({ message: `Welcome to the cookbook API! \n Endpoints available at http://localhost:${port}/api/v1` })

try {
    app.listen(port, () => {
        console.log(`Server running on http://localhost:${port}`)
} catch (error) {
    console.log(`Error occurred: ${error.message}`)

We must also include some additional libraries to run the application easily and pass in environment variables. These additional libraries are nodemon using yarn add -D nodemon, eslint using yarn add -D eslint, and dotenv using yarn add dotenv.

Setting up the Sequelize ORM

At this point, the Express.js application is running, so it’s time to bring in the fun stuff: Sequelize ORM!

Start by adding Sequelize to the project by running the following:

$ yarn add sequelize
$ yarn add mysql2

Although we added the database driver for MySQL, which is solely based on personal preference, you can install any driver of your preferred database instead. View here for other available database drivers.

Initiating Sequelize’s connection

After installing Sequelize, we must initiate its connection to our database. Once initiated, this connection registers our models:

# db/config.ts

import { Dialect, Sequelize } from 'sequelize'

const dbName = process.env.DB_NAME as string
const dbUser = process.env.DB_USER as string
const dbHost = process.env.DB_HOST
const dbDriver = process.env.DB_DRIVER as Dialect
const dbPassword = process.env.DB_PASSWORD

const sequelizeConnection = new Sequelize(dbName, dbUser, dbPassword, {
  host: dbHost,
  dialect: dbDriver

export default sequelizeConnection

Creating and registering Sequelize models

Sequelize provides two ways to register models: using sequelize.define or extending the Sequelize model class. In this tutorial, we’ll use the model extension method to register our Ingredient model.

We begin by creating the interfaces of the following:

  • IngredientAttributes defines all the possible attributes of our model
  • IngredientInput defines the type of the object passed to Sequelize’s model.create
  • IngredientOuput defines the returned object from model.create, model.update, and model.findOne
# db/models/Ingredient.ts

import { DataTypes, Model, Optional } from 'sequelize'
import sequelizeConnection from '../config'

interface IngredientAttributes {
  id: number;
  name: string;
  slug: string;
  description?: string;
  foodGroup?: string;
  createdAt?: Date;
  updatedAt?: Date;
  deletedAt?: Date;
export interface IngredientInput extends Optional<IngredientAttributes, 'id' | 'slug'> {}
export interface IngredientOuput extends Required<IngredientAttributes> {}

Next, create an Ingredient class that extends, initializes, and exports theimport {Model} from 'sequelize' Sequelize model class:

# db/models/Ingredient.ts


class Ingredient extends Model<IngredientAttributes, IngredientInput> implements IngredientAttributes {
  public id!: number
  public name!: string
  public slug!: string
  public description!: string
  public foodGroup!: string

  // timestamps!
  public readonly createdAt!: Date;
  public readonly updatedAt!: Date;
  public readonly deletedAt!: Date;

  id: {
    type: DataTypes.INTEGER.UNSIGNED,
    autoIncrement: true,
    primaryKey: true,
  name: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING,
    allowNull: false
  slug: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING,
    allowNull: false,
    unique: true
  description: {
    type: DataTypes.TEXT
  foodGroup: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING
}, {
  timestamps: true,
  sequelize: sequelizeConnection,
  paranoid: true

export default Ingredient

💡 Note we added the option paranoid: true to our model; this imposes a soft delete on the model by adding a deletedAt attribute that marks records as deleted when invoking the destroy method.

To complete our model and create its target table in the connected database, run the model sync method:

# db/init.ts

import { Recipe, RecipeTags, Tag, Review, Ingredient, RecipeIngredients } from './models'
const isDev = process.env.NODE_ENV === 'development'

const dbInit = () => {
  Ingredient.sync({ alter: isDev })
export default dbInit 

💡 The sync method accepts the force and alter options. The force option forces the recreation of a table. The alter option creates the table if it does not exist or updates the table to match the attributes defined in the model.

💡 Pro tip: reserve using force or alter for development environments so you don’t accidentally recreate your production database, losing all your data or applying changes to your database that might break your application.

Using our models in DAL and services

The data access layer (DAL) is where we implement our SQL queries, or in this case, where the Sequelize model queries run:

# db/dal/ingredient.ts

import {Op} from 'sequelize'
import {Ingredient} from '../models'
import {GetAllIngredientsFilters} from './types'
import {IngredientInput, IngredientOuput} from '../models/Ingredient'

export const create = async (payload: IngredientInput): Promise<IngredientOuput> => {
    const ingredient = await Ingredient.create(payload)
    return ingredient

export const update = async (id: number, payload: Partial<IngredientInput>): Promise<IngredientOuput> => {
    const ingredient = await Ingredient.findByPk(id)
    if (!ingredient) {
        // @todo throw custom error
        throw new Error('not found')
    const updatedIngredient = await (ingredient as Ingredient).update(payload)
    return updatedIngredient

export const getById = async (id: number): Promise<IngredientOuput> => {
    const ingredient = await Ingredient.findByPk(id)
    if (!ingredient) {
        // @todo throw custom error
        throw new Error('not found')
    return ingredient

export const deleteById = async (id: number): Promise<boolean> => {
    const deletedIngredientCount = await Ingredient.destroy({
        where: {id}
    return !!deletedIngredientCount

export const getAll = async (filters?: GetAllIngredientsFilters): Promise<IngredientOuput[]> => {
    return Ingredient.findAll({
        where: {
            ...(filters?.isDeleted && {deletedAt: {[Op.not]: null}})
        ...((filters?.isDeleted || filters?.includeDeleted) && {paranoid: true})

Adding the paranoid: true option to the findAll model method includes the soft-deleted records with deletedAt set in the result. Otherwise, the results exclude soft deleted records by default.

In our DAL above, we defined some commonly needed CRUD queries using our ModelInput type definition and placing any additional types in db/dal/types.ts:

# db/dal/types.ts

export interface GetAllIngredientsFilters {
    isDeleted?: boolean
    includeDeleted?: boolean

💡 Sequelize ORM has some really cool model methods, including findAndCountAll, which returns a list of records and a count of all records matching the filter criteria. This is really useful for returning paginated list responses in an API.

Now we can create our service, which acts as an intermediary between our controller and DAL:

# api/services/ingredientService.ts

import * as ingredientDal from '../dal/ingredient'
import {GetAllIngredientsFilters} from '../dal/types'
import {IngredientInput, IngredientOuput} from '../models/Ingredient'

export const create = (payload: IngredientInput): Promise<IngredientOuput> => {
    return ingredientDal.create(payload)
export const update = (id: number, payload: Partial<IngredientInput>): Promise<IngredientOuput> => {
    return ingredientDal.update(id, payload)
export const getById = (id: number): Promise<IngredientOuput> => {
    return ingredientDal.getById(id)
export const deleteById = (id: number): Promise<boolean> => {
    return ingredientDal.deleteById(id)
export const getAll = (filters: GetAllIngredientsFilters): Promise<IngredientOuput[]> => {
    return ingredientDal.getAll(filters)

Powering up the model with routes and controllers

We’ve come a long way! Now that we have services fetching our data from our database, it’s time to bring all that magic to the public using routes and controllers.

Let’s start by creating our Ingredients routes in src/api/routes/ingredients.ts:

# src/api/routes/ingredients.ts

import { Router } from 'express'

const ingredientsRouter = Router()
ingredientsRouter.get(':/slug', () => {
  // get ingredient
ingredientsRouter.put('/:id', () => {
  // update ingredient
ingredientsRouter.delete('/:id', () => {
  // delete ingredient
ingredientsRouter.post('/', () => {
  // create ingredient

export default ingredientsRouter

Our cookbook API will eventually have several routes, such as Recipes and Tags. So, we must create an index.ts file to register the different routes to their base paths and have one central export to connect to our Express.js server from earlier:

# src/api/routes/index.ts

import { Router } from 'express'
import ingredientsRouter from './ingredients'

const router = Router()

router.use('/ingredients', ingredientsRouter)

export default router

Let’s update our src/index.ts to import our exported routes and register them to our Express.js server:

# src/index.ts

import express, { Application, Request, Response } from 'express'
import routes from './api/routes'

const app: Application = express()


app.use('/api/v1', routes)

After creating and connecting the routes, let’s create a controller to link to our routes and call the service methods.

To support typing the parameters and results between the routes and controllers, let’s add data transfer objects (DTOs) and mappers to transform the results:

# src/api/controllers/ingredient/index.ts

import * as service from '../../../db/services/IngredientService'
import {CreateIngredientDTO, UpdateIngredientDTO, FilterIngredientsDTO} from '../../dto/ingredient.dto'
import {Ingredient} from '../../interfaces'
import * as mapper from './mapper'

export const create = async(payload: CreateIngredientDTO): Promise<Ingredient> => {
    return mapper.toIngredient(await service.create(payload))
export const update = async (id: number, payload: UpdateIngredientDTO): Promise<Ingredient> => {
    return mapper.toIngredient(await service.update(id, payload))
export const getById = async (id: number): Promise<Ingredient> => {
    return mapper.toIngredient(await service.getById(id))
export const deleteById = async(id: number): Promise<Boolean> => {
    const isDeleted = await service.deleteById(id)
    return isDeleted
export const getAll = async(filters: FilterIngredientsDTO): Promise<Ingredient[]> => {
    return (await service.getAll(filters)).map(mapper.toIngredient)

Now, update the router with the calls to the controller:

# src/api/routes/ingredients.ts

import { Router, Request, Response} from 'express'
import * as ingredientController from '../controllers/ingredient'
import {CreateIngredientDTO, FilterIngredientsDTO, UpdateIngredientDTO} from '../dto/ingredient.dto'

const ingredientsRouter = Router()

ingredientsRouter.get(':/id', async (req: Request, res: Response) => {
    const id = Number(req.params.id)
    const result = await ingredientController.getById(id)
    return res.status(200).send(result)
ingredientsRouter.put('/:id', async (req: Request, res: Response) => {
    const id = Number(req.params.id)
    const payload:UpdateIngredientDTO = req.body

    const result = await ingredientController.update(id, payload)
    return res.status(201).send(result)
ingredientsRouter.delete('/:id', async (req: Request, res: Response) => {
    const id = Number(req.params.id)

    const result = await ingredientController.deleteById(id)
    return res.status(204).send({
        success: result
ingredientsRouter.post('/', async (req: Request, res: Response) => {
    const payload:CreateIngredientDTO = req.body
    const result = await ingredientController.create(payload)
    return res.status(200).send(result)
ingredientsRouter.get('/', async (req: Request, res: Response) => {
    const filters:FilterIngredientsDTO = req.query
    const results = await ingredientController.getAll(filters)
    return res.status(200).send(results)
export default ingredientsRouter 

At this point, we can add a build script to run our API:

# package.json

"scripts": {
  "dev": "nodemon src/index.ts",
  "build": "npx tsc"

To see the final product, run the API using yarn run dev and visit our ingredient endpoints at http://localhost:3000/api/v1/ingredients.


In this article, we set up a simple TypeScript application with Express.js to use the Sequelize ORM and walked through initializing Sequelize, creating our models, and running queries through the ORM.

Using Sequelize with TypeScript in our project helps us write less code and abstract the database engine while defining strict types for model input and output. This makes our code is more consistent, even if we change database types, and can prevent the occurrence of SQL injection to our tables.

The entire code from this article is available on Github. I hope you found this article easy to follow and I would love to hear any ideas you have on cool ways to use Sequelize in your application or any questions you have in the comment section!

Writing a lot of TypeScript? Signup for our upcoming TypeScript meetup to learn about writing more readable code.

TypeScript brings type safety to JavaScript. There can be a tension between type safety and readable code. Join us on Sept 30th at 2pm EDT for a deep dive on some new features of TypeScript 4.4.

Save your seat.

Ibiyemi Adewakun Ibiyemi is a full-stack developer from Lagos. When she's not writing code, she likes to read, listen to music, and put cute outfits together.

Testing accessibility with Storybook

One big challenge when building a component library is prioritizing accessibility. Accessibility is usually seen as one of those “nice-to-have” features, and unfortunately, we’re...
Laura Carballo
4 min read

Leave a Reply