When connecting Prisma to an existing database that already has a database schema and/or contains some data, it can be tedious to manually write the datamodel from scratch while ensuring it matches the structure of the already existing data.
To automate this process, you can use the
prisma1 introspect command from the Prisma CLI to generate the datamodel based on the actual structure of the existing data.
The generated SDL serves as a foundation for your Prisma API, but you can easily make modifications afterwards as you see fit. Some common modifications include hiding a table from the Prisma API or renaming a column to a different name.
Introspecting a MySQL database
There are two ways you can use the CLI to introspect a MySQL schema:
- Using the interactive
- Using the dedicated
In both cases, you need to provide the connection details for the running MySQL database. This includes the following:
- Host: The host of your MySQL server, e.g.
- Port: The port where your MySQL server listens, e.g.
- User & Password: The credentials for your MySQL server.
- Name of existing database: The name of the MySQL database (according to the illustrated model from above).
- Use SSL (Yes/No): If your database connection is using SSL, you need to select
prisma1 init wizard
During the interactive
prisma1 init flow you can choose to connect to an existing database with data. The CLI will ask for database connection details (as mentioned above) and verify that it can establish a successfully connection.
If the connection details are valid, the CLI will introspect the database and show you a summary.
prisma1 init terminates, the CLI has created the following files for you which you can now use to deploy a new Prisma service:
datamodel.prisma: Contains the datamodel (in SDL) that was generated based on your existing database.
docker-compose.yml: The Docker Compose file containing the configuration of your Prisma server, including details about how to connect to your database
prisma.yml: The root configuration file for your service
To be able to query your MySQL database using GraphQL you now need to deploy the service:
You can then view and edit your data in Prisma Admin or access it using the Prisma client.
prisma1 introspect works in a similar way as the
prisma1 init wizard in that you need to provide the database connection information.
prisma1 init wizard generates an entire service configuration,
prisma1 introspect only generates the datamodel file:
datamodel-[TIMESTAMP].prisma: The timestamp component allows you to use the introspect command for an existing Prisma service without overriding your existing datamodel.