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attic-labs / noms


The versioned, forkable, syncable database


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Noms is a decentralized database philosophically descendant from the Git version control system.

Like Git, Noms is:

  • Versioned: By default, all previous versions of the database are retained. You can trivially track how the database evolved to its current state, easily and efficiently compare any two versions, or even rewind and branch from any previous version.
  • Synchronizable: Instances of a single Noms database can be disconnected from each other for any amount of time, then later reconcile their changes efficiently and correctly.

Unlike Git, Noms is a database, so it also:

  • Primarily stores structured data, not files and directories (see: the Noms type system)
  • Scales well to large amounts of data and concurrent clients (TODO: benchmarks)
  • Supports atomic transactions (a single instance of Noms is CP, but Noms is typically run in production backed by S3, in which case it is "effectively CA")
  • Supports efficient indexes (see: Noms prolly-trees)
  • Features a flexible query model (see: GraphQL)

Finally, because Noms is content-addressed, it yields a very pleasant programming model.

Working with Noms is declarative. You don't INSERT new data, UPDATE existing data, or DELETE old data. You simply declare what the data ought to be right now. If you commit the same data twice, it will be deduplicated because of content-addressing. If you commit almost the same data, only the part that is different will be written.

Install Noms

Noms is supported on Mac OS X and Linux.

  1. Download the latest build

The build contains the Noms command-line and some utility tools. You can use tar -ztvf noms-*.tar.gz to view the contents of the tar.

  1. Extract the Noms commands.

tar -xzf noms-*.tar.gz

Get started

  1. Use the noms ds command to connect to the cli-tour database.

    ./noms ds
  2. View the history for the sf-film-locations dataset.

    ./noms log

Learn Noms

Learn the basics: Introduction to Noms

Tour the CLI: Command-Line Interface Tour

Tour the Go API: Go SDK Tour

Status / Roadmap

Noms is currently under heavy development. Attic Labs plans to use it as an integral piece of an upcoming consumer product.

Data Format

We are fairly confident in the core data format, and plan to support Noms database version 7 and forward. If you create a database with Noms today, future versions will have migration tools to pull your databases forward.


We plan to implement the following for Noms version 8. Beyond that unknown.


The Public API will continue to evolve. Pull requests which represent breaking API changes should be marked with APIChange and sent to the slack channel and mailing list below for advance warning and feedback.


If you'd like to use Noms for something, we'd love to hear. Contact us: