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Import Prisma Schema

Amplication's Import Prisma Schema feature lets you use your existing databases for a head start on development.

For example, if you want to build a new application or API using an existing database, you can import its schema to quickly generate Amplication entities, fields, and relationships, saving significant time.

Just upload your schema.prisma file. Amplication will then search for models and convert them into Amplication's internal structure.


The Import Prisma Schema feature is available on Amplication's Enterprise plan.

This guide walks you through how to generate a custom schema.prisma file from your existing database and upload it to Amplication.

How to create and upload your schema.prisma file

To import your schema into Amplication, you first need to run Prisma's introspection process on your existing database.


Always backup your database before performing any introspection or migrations. These operations can potentially lead to data loss.

Step 1: Run the Introspection process

Introspection is a feature of Prisma that scans your entire database and generates a schema.prisma file. This feature generates a data model that reflects your current database schema.

Here's a quick overview of its main functions on SQL databases:

  • Map tables in the database to Prisma models
  • Map columns in the database to the fields of Prisma models
  • Map indexes in the database to indexes in the Prisma schema
  • Map database constraints to attributes or type modifiers in the Prisma schema

To learn more see Prisma's Introspection docs.

Here are the steps to introspect your database:

1. Install Prisma

If you don't have Prisma CLI installed globally, install it:

npm install -g prisma

2. Set the connection URL in prisma.schema

Next, create a prisma.schema file.

Now add your database's connection URL to the url parameter in the datasource block of your new prisma.schema file.

Here's an example:

datasource db {
provider = "postgresql"
url = "postgresql://janedoe:mypassword@localhost:5432/mydb?schema=sample"

The format of the url parameter depends on your database provider. For example, PostgreSQL connection URLs start with postgresql://.

Visit the Prisma docs' section on connection URLs for details on constructing yours.

3. Run The Prisma Introspection Command

Run the following command in the same directory as your schema.prisma file:

prisma db pull

After generating your schema file, double check it in your code editor for errors. Make sure you fix any errors before you upload your schema.prisma file into Amplication. There are some cases where the introspection process ends with a schema that might have errors.

Visit Prisma's Error Message Reference to learn more about other prisma schema issues you might run into.

Here's a simple example of what happens when you run the introspection process on a Postgres database:

model posts {
id Int @id


model User {
user_id Int @id
first_name String


The introspection process generated Prisma models matching the original PostgreSQL database structure. It created a posts model and user_id field for the User model based on the database table and column names.

However, changes are needed for the schema to follow Prisma conventions:

  • The posts model should be named Post for PascalCase.
  • The user_id field needs the @id directive to indicate the primary key
  • Any foreign key fields need @relation directives to define relationships

Additional conversions are also required to generate Amplication entities from the schema. You'll learn more about that process on the How Prisma Schemas Are Converted Into Amplication Entities page.

Step 2: Create your initial migration

If you'd like to use Prisma Migrate with your newly introspected database, then you will have to baseline your database.

Prisma Migrate lets you gradually change your database schema in an organized way. Baselining sets up migration history for a database that already has data. It tells Prisma Migrate to assume migrations were already applied.

To baseline your database, run the following commands:

1. Create a migrations directory in your prisma folder

First, create a migrations directory in side your prisma folder, and add another directory inside with your preferred name:

mkdir -p prisma/migrations/init_after_introspection

If you use this command make sure you are in the root of your server project. The -p flag will recursively create any missing folders in the path you provide.

2. Generate the migration with prisma migrate diff

Next, run the following command to generate a migration.sql file.

prisma migrate diff --from-empty --to-schema-datamodel prisma/schema.prisma --script > prisma/migrations/init_after_introspection/migration.sql

Review the generated migration.sql file to ensure everything is correct.

3. Run prisma migrate

To apply your migration for your created migration.sql file run the following command:

prisma migrate resolve --applied init_after_introspection

That will add the migration to the _prisma_migrations table.

Step 3: Upload your Prisma Schema File to Amplication

Visit the Entities page of your service.

Upload Prisma Schema Button

You'll now see the Upload Prisma Schema button in the top right corner.

Click on this button and you'll be presented a form where you can upload your schema.prisma file.

Upload Prisma Schema

Step 4: Check the conversion logs

After uploading the file, you'll see a log of what's happening while Amplication is converting your prisma schema into its internal structure.


Schema uploads can't be redone in the same project, so make sure that you're OK with everything you see in the conversion logs.

Here's how that log might look:

Amplication Import Prisma Schema Upload Log

These logs detail what is happening during the conversion process.


If the schema.prisma file is invalid, doesn't contain entities, or one of the operations in the process receives an unexpected value — the process will stop immediately. An error message will then be displayed showing you what happened.

Check the Log Warnings section to get more detail on what these logs are about.

Step 5: Check your new entities

After a successful upload and conversion process, you will see your newly created entities on your dashboard. You can visualize your entities and their relationships with Amplication's ERD view.

Amplication's Entity ERD View

Step 6: Apply your migration

In order to apply your migration to your new Amplication service, go through the following steps:

  1. Commit your changes to your preferred git repository.
  2. Change the value of DB_URL env variable to the connection string of your database in your .env file.
  3. Copy the migrations folder (from the previous step) from your original project and paste it to the prisma folder in your newly cloned service.
  4. Run the following commands:
cd [your-server-folder]
npm i
npm run prisma:generate
npm run db:migrate-save

The next time you change an entity, add a relation, add an entity, etc. and you run npm run prisma:generate everything will be the same as with a "green field" project with Amplication, or with manual prisma schema changes.

Next Steps

Now you have your own custom database schema uploaded into Amplication.

To learn more about the mechanisms Amplication uses to convert your schema.prisma file into Amplication's internal structure, visit the How Prisma Schemas Are Converted Into Amplication Entities page.

You can also visit the Prisma Custom Attributes page to further familiarize yourself with custom attributes like @id and @@map.

Some of the transformations involve custom attributes in some way. Learning more about Prisma Custom Attributes will help you understand what's happening, but also how to effectively utilize them to add more functionality to your entities and fields.