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10.1 Reference - Firestore CRUD command templates

Last Reviewed: Mar 2023


Google's online documentation for Firestore CRUD (create, read, update, delete) instructions is very full but perhaps too verbose for everyday use. Here are templates for the most important variants of the Web Version 9 form of the Firestore library. If you find them useful, my suggestion is that you cut and paste them as is and then replace the word "my" in variable names by some suitable contraction of the name of the collection that you're targetting. For example, references to a collection called "Lecture_events"might be coded as "lecEvtsCollRef".

If you find these templates useful for your WebV9 work, you may quickly find yourself looking for something similar for Node.js. This will be because you've found the need to code some bit of your application in Firebase functions and have now realised that everything is entirely different here! I thought of writing a parallel "Firestore CRUD templates for Node.js" version of this post but have just (Jan 1 2023, appropriately) found this is now completely unnecessary. As of November 2022, we're firmly in the world of AI-assisted development and you can simply ask something like ChatGPT to take a bunch of code expressed in WebV9 form and convert it. Just start the AI up and give it a question like the following:

How would you rewrite the following firebase web version 9 javascript code for use in node.js?
const myCollRef = collection(db, "myCollectionName");
const myDocRef = doc(myCollRef);
await setDoc(myDocRef, myDocData);

I imagine (though I've not actually tried this) that you could use the same trick to get yourself versions for C, Python and all the other platforms that Google supports.

You might also be interested to now that there's a ChatGPT Helper VSCode extension that makes it easy to embed the submission of questions like this directly into the flow of your code development work

Where will all this end?

Creating documents

To create a document containing a myDocData object with an automatically-generated id:

let myDocData =  .... create an object containing your data item properties .....
const myCollRef = collection(db, "myCollectionName");
const myDocRef = doc(myCollRef);
await setDoc(myDocRef, myDocData);
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Note that, confusingly, Google Documentation on 'Adding Data' references an addDoc function as an alternative to setDoc. See the Postscript below for advice on why setDocis preferred.

In the code snippet above, the myDocRef= statement is the point at which an auto-id is allocated. If you need to find the value that's been assigned, you'll find this at Again, see the Postscript below for further information on this point.

To create a document with a data item as its identifier :

let myDocData =  .... create a data object  ..... 
let myDocumentIdentifier = .... create your identifier ....
const myDocRef = doc(db, "myCollectionName", myDocumentIdentifier)
await setDoc(myDocRef, myDocData);
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Reading documents

To retrieve an individual document using its document id:

const myDocRef = doc(db, "myCollectionName", myDocId);
const myDoc = await getDoc(myDocRef);  
if (myDoc.exists()) {
  console.log("Document data:",;
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To retrieve a selection of documents with selection and ordering criteria (example):

const myCollRef = collection(db, "myCollectionName");
const myQuery = query(myCollRef, where("myField1Name", "==", myField1Value), orderBy("myField2Name", "asc"));
const mySnapshot = await getDocs(myQuery);
mySnapshot.forEach((myDoc) => {
  console.log(, " => ",;
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Within a Snapshot's forEach, the data for a document is available as, the document's docRef is myDoc.ref and its docId as If you're just interested in determining the existence of document(s) that match the selection criteria, a useful trick is to check for non-zero mySnapshot.size.

If you want to refer to individual documents in the snapshot array, you'll find the data for the n'th entry at[n].data() and its id at[n].id

Note that if you don't specify an orderBy field, documents will be returned in ascending order of docId. Also that if you specify more than one where field, you will need to create a (compound) index. The browser inspection tool will help you here - just follow the link embedded in the "index-needed" error message. Individual fields are indexed automatically in a Firestore database.

To retrieve all of the documents in a collection:

const myCollRef = collection(db, "myCollectionName");
const myQuery = query(myCollRef);
const mySnapshot = await getDocs(myQuery);
mySnapshot.forEach((myDoc) => {
  console.log(, " >= ",;
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Firestore comparison operators are "==", ">" , "<", "<=", ">=" and "!=", plus some interesting array membership operators.

To retrieve all of the documents in a hierarchy of collections and then do something:

You have to be careful when you want to perform a certain action after processing on a multi-level hierarchy of collections has concluded. If your code contains a number of nested foreach statements, each containing an await instruction, you can't rely on the individual awaits to tell you when the whole set has finished. Each of these individual awaits occupies its own separate thread and these don't communicate directly with each other in any helpful way.

One way out of this problem is to use traditional for loop on your snapshots rather than forEachs. Here's an example targeting all the children in a sub-collection before performing an action

const myParentsCollRef = collection(db, "myParentCollectionName");
const myParentsQuery = query(myParentsCollRef);
const myParentsSnapshot = await getDocs(myParentsQuery);
for (let i = 0; i < myParentsSnapshot.size; i++) {
    let myParentDocId =[i].data()
    const myChildrenCollRef = collection(db, "myParentCollectionName", myParentDocId, "myChildrenCollectionName");
    const myChildrenQuery = query(myChildrenCollRef);
    const myChidrenSnapshot = await getDocs(myChildrenQuery);
    for (let j = 0; j < myParentsSnapshot.size; j++) {
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Here, you can rely on your awaits to be performed in strict sequence, and when you hit the end of the loop you know you can carry on confidently to perform your dependant action. But the performance hit created by this may be significant and so you might be interested in the following arrangement:

You can get a handle on the individual promises launched by the awaits in a forEach loop by storing them in an array. You can then apply an await Promise.all instruction to this array to find out when all its member promises are done. It's not possible to provide a simple template here to suit all circumstances, but the following is a "sketch" that illustrates the broad principles.

Here, a two-level hierarchy involving two separate collections (parents and children) are linked by a common parentsId field . The two collections are read into memory so that some sort of analysis can be performed on the aggregate. This can only be done when all the children have been read.

const aggregateArray =[]
const parentsCollRef = collection(db, "parents");
const parentsQuery = query(parentsCollRef);
const parentsSnapshot = await getDocs(parentsQuery);

  const promisesArray = [];
  parentsSnapshot.forEach((parentsDoc) => {
    // for clarity, the nested awaits required to get the children for each parent are coded as an explicit function

await Promise.all(promisesArray); 
// and now you can perform your aggregate analysis. 

// here's the function to perform the fetchChildren awaits
async function fetchChildren(parentsDoc) {
  const childrenCollRef = collection(db, "children");
  const childrenQuery = query(childrenCollRef, where("parentsId", "==",;
  const childrenSnapshot = await getDocs(childrenQuery);
  chidrenSnapshot.forEach((childrenDoc) => {//push parent and children data into the aggregate array
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Updating a document

Example - to change the value of the myField property in a document's myDocData content

    const myDocRef = doc(db, 'myCollectionName', myDocId);
    await setDoc(myDocRef, {myField: myFieldValue}, { merge: true });
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Example - to replace the entire content of document myDocId with a new object containing only a myField property

    const myDocRef = doc(db, 'myCollectionName', myDocId);
    await setDoc(myDocRef, {myField: myFieldValue}, { merge: false });
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You can apply changes to a number of fields simultaneously by replacing the {myField: myFieldValue}bit in the above examples by an object containing the fields you want to change.

Deleting a document

    const myDocRef = doc(db, 'myCollectionName', myDocId);
    await deleteDoc(myDocRef);
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CRUD operations within transactions

Inside a transaction, the patterns introduced above remain unchanged but the precise form of the setDoc commands are amended as follows:

Within the runTransaction(db, async (transaction) => { ... }).catch(); function:

  • getDoc is replaced by transaction.get()
  • setDoc is replaced by transaction.set()
  • deleteDoc is replaced by transaction.delete()


  1. As mentioned above, Google provides addDoc() and updateDoc() functions for document creation and update in parallel with setDoc(). But this seems unnecessarily confusing when setDoc can perform both operations. Also, when it comes to transactions, addDoc() can only be used for the creation of documents with auto ids. It seems simpler, in practice, just to use setDoc everywhere.

  2. You may have noticed that there's no await on the doc(myCollRef) call that creates a Firestore document identifier. This tells you that Firestore somehow manages to do this without actually visiting the collection and seeing what is already in use. If you're curious about how it manages this you might like to check out the discussion at StackOverflow.

If you have found this post interesting, you might find it useful to check out the index to this series

Google documentation references

SDK documentation can be found at:

Top comments (1)

bilalmohib profile image
Muhammad Bilal Mohib-ul-Nabi

Nice work