Reactive Database Access Kotlin

This repository demonstrates how one could combine great libraries, tools and Kotlin language features like context receivers to work with databases in a convenient and reactive way. The tools include:

Dependency remarks

Some libraries that are used are currently unreleased snapshot versions. They will be updated to proper releases as soon as they are published.


Kotlin database access

This project combines some language and library features that provide an accessible and reactive way of working with databases using Kotlin. Just look around the source code. Maybe you find something useful to adopt for yourself.

Context receivers

Context receivers are a new Kotlin feature that enable an elegant way of passing and using a context in form of an implicit parameter when calling a function.

Functions can declare a dependency using the context construct as part of the signature. This context can be used inside the function.

suspend fun plus(accountId: Account.Id, amount: Int): Account {
    return update(ACCOUNTS).set(ACCOUNTS.BALANCE,
    // ...

In this example JOOQs DSLContext is declared as the context to be available when calling the function. This allows the function to access all exposed functions and properties of DSLContext like update(...). It requires the caller to provide an instance of it when calling the method plus:

val dslContext = //...
with(dslContext) {
    plus(myAccountId, 10)

This feature can be used when passing a context between methods is required or helpful like a transactional context as used by JOOQ for example.

// ...
with(transactionalDslContext) {, -transfer.amount), transfer.amount)

All function calls to the accountRepository and the transactionRepositry are using the same transactionalDslContext as their context passed via the with() construct.

Inline classes

The ability to encapsule value objects without runtime overhead in proper types is possible in Kotlin using inline classes. This allows us to model scalar values like UUIDs references for foreign key relationships:

data class Customer(val id: Id, val name:String) {
    value class Id(val value: UUID)

A Customer.Id is now a proper type and can only be used in places where a Customer.Id is expected. This would not be possible if we just used plain UUID as its type.

data class Account(
    val customerId: Customer.Id,
    // ...

The only disadvantage is that you have to wrap and unwrap the value when you need to access it or create an instance of it:

    .set(ACCOUNTS.CUSTOMER_ID, account.customerId.value)


Without diving too deep into the Kotlin way of structured concurrency using coroutines, here is a simple example that using Reactor extensions allow to leverage JOOQs reactive database support in a readable way:

suspend fun deposit(accountId: Account.Id, amount: Int) {
    assert(amount > 0)
    transactional {
        val deposit = Transaction.Deposit(
            id = Transaction.Id(UUID.randomUUID()),
            accountId = accountId,
            amount = amount
        ), deposit.amount)

using a simple, coroutine based helper method:

suspend fun <T> transactional(context: CoroutineContext = EmptyCoroutineContext, block: suspend DSLContext.() -> T): T {
    return dslContext.transactionPublisher { tx ->
        mono {

This is just a simple example that only covers the use-cases of this demo setup but shows that a readable and reactive database access is possible.

Sealed interfaces

Sealed interfaces allow to model closed hierarchies in a convenient way especially when one wants to use sealed error types. In this case sealed interfaces allow a Error.Transaction error to be re-used in the Error.Withdrawal and Error.Transfer hierarchies. Meaning that for example an Error.Transaction.CreditLineExceeded error needs to be handled when dealing with a Error.Withdrawal error result.

sealed interface Error {
    sealed interface Withdrawal: Error
    sealed interface Transfer: Error
    sealed interface Transaction: Withdrawal, Transfer {
        data class CreditLineExceeded(val balanceValue: Int): Transaction

If you want to dive deeper into this topic please take a look at this inspiring blog post by Jorge Catillo

Arrow with Either

The Arrow library provides a lot of features that support functional programming in Kotlin. One example of this is the Either result type that can be used in combination with coroutines and sealed classes based error hierarchies to provide a programming model without requiring clients to handle exceptions:

private suspend fun saveCustomer(customer: Customer): Either<Error.CreateCustomer, Customer> = catch {
}.mapLeft { e ->
    when {
        e.isConstraintxception("customers_name_key") -> Error.CreateCustomer.CustomerNameAlreadyExists(
        else -> Error.Database(e)


Make sure that the database is up and running by starting it via:

docker-compose up

Run the demo

./gradlew bootRun

or run the tests

./gradlew flywayMigrate test

Use pgadmin to look at the database schema and data at: http://localhost:5050. Use postgres for the host to connect to.


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