React NextJS app using Prisma and Postgres (Part 1)

Part 1 of a React tutorial on how to create a CRUD webapp using Next.js 13, Prisma and Postgres.


I used create-next-app, which sets up everything automatically for me. To create the project, run:

npx create-next-app@latest

On installation, I had to make some decisions. I chose as follows:

1. What is your project named? my-crud-app
2. Would you like to use TypeScript? Yes
3. Would you like to use ESLint? Yes
4. Would you like to use Tailwind CSS? No
5. Would you like to use `src/` directory? No
6. Would you like to use App Router? (recommended) Yes
7. Would you like to customize the default import alias? No

TypeScript and ESLint are essential for me so that was a no-brainer. I've tried to like Tailwind but I just can't. I thought I would prefer a src folder but after trying it for a bit I don't really see the point so I decided to omit it. No big deal either way though - go with whatever you prefer. App Router is essential for me as I'm learning Next.js in 2023 and this is the future so it's another no-brainer.

I chose not to customise the default import alias but you might want to depending on how you like to structure your projects. The default import alias allows you to import modules without using relative paths. So if I create a ./components folder and a ./utils folder at the root level of the project, then I can import modules from those folders using @components or @utils rather than using realtive paths with ends up with a lot of ../../../ in the imports. It might not seem like a big deal now but it can get ugly as the project gets bigger.

After the prompts, create-next-app will create a folder named my-crud-app and install the required dependencies so I cd into that folder and type code . to open the project in VSCode. Then I switch back to the terminal (I can't get used to using the one inside VSCode - I perfer a separate terminal app so I can ALT-TAB between them easily) and type the following to run the app locally:

npm run dev

At this point I can visit http://localhost:3000 to view the application.


I'm a fan of Continuous Delivery (CD) so I want to push to production whenever I commit code, right from the start. So before writing any code, let's set-up Vercel so we can see the app running live in production from the get go.

First, I need to set-up the repo in GitHub so I goto in a browser and create a new empty repo called my-crud-app without initialising it with a README or .gitignore as the project on my local machine already has them.

Then, I do the following in the terminal in the root folder of my-crud-app:

git branch -M main
git remote add origin
git push -u origin main

Now that git is set-up I can go over to Vercel's dashboard, add a new project and select my newly created repo in the Import Git Repository section by clicking the Import button. Vercel automatically recognises this is a NextJS project so I don't have to do anything else. I can just click on the Deploy button and without a few minutes my project is deployed and I can visit it at

At this point I would normally set-up a domain as well but that's beyond the scope of this article so we'll just stick with the one vercel provides for us.


Before I can start coding I need a database as this is a CRUD app after all. I'll be using Vercel's Postgres support and Prisma which is a fancy ORM that makes it easier to fetch and mutate data than using raw SQL queries.

Setting up Vercel's Postgres support couldn't be eaiser:

  1. Goto to the storage tab of the project at
  2. Choose the option to create a Postgres Serveless SQL database
  3. Select Postgres Serverless SQL then Continue
  4. There is an option to change the name and region but I stick just stick to the defaults.
  5. There is an option to configure the database including environments and envvars but again, I stick to the defaults.

Now the database is created I can go back to the terminal on my local machine, in the rood of my project and type:

npm i -g vercel@latest

This installs the vercel CLI. Next, we need to link our project to Vercel:

vercel link

I just accept the defaults here - it looks like this:

Vercel CLI 31.0.4
? Set up “~/src/my-crud-app”? [Y/n] y
? Which scope should contain your project? pdrummond
? Found project “pdrummond/my-crud-app. Link to it? [Y/n] y
✅  Linked to pdrummond/my-crud-app (created .vercel)

Next, I need to bring down the environment variables so the app knows how to connect to the Vercel db:

vercel env pull .env

NOTE: Vercel recommends you pull the env vars down to a .env.development.local file but Prisma expects an .env file so that's what we'll use for now to keep things simple

With this done, I can now focus on setting up Prisma.

Create a folder called prisma in the root of the project then inside the prisma folder create a file called schema.prisma with the following content:

// schema.prisma

generator client {
  provider = "prisma-client-js"

datasource db {
  provider = "postgresql"
  url = env("POSTGRES_PRISMA_URL") // uses connection pooling
  directUrl = env("POSTGRES_URL_NON_POOLING") // uses a direct connection
  shadowDatabaseUrl = env("POSTGRES_URL_NON_POOLING") // used for migrations

model Post {
  id            String     @default(cuid()) @id
  title         String
  content       String?
  author        User?      @relation(fields: [authorId], references: [id])
  authorId      String?

model User {
  id            String      @default(cuid()) @id
  name          String?
  email         String?     @unique
  createdAt     DateTime    @default(now()) @map(name: "created_at")
  updatedAt     DateTime    @updatedAt @map(name: "updated_at")
  posts         Post[]
  @@map(name: "users")

Then I run the following command:

npx prisma db push

This tells prisma to read the schema and create the tables in the database. I could also use Prisma Migrate here to keep track of all changes to the database as I make changes but I'm going to keep it simple for now. For more info on the differences between prisma db push and prisma migrate dev, check out this Q&A on StackOverflow.

Now I can run Prisma Studio as follows:

npx prisma studio

This opens up a UI in the browser that lets me add a test user and a few posts by that user.

And with that, everything is set-up so we can finally start writing some actual code in Part 2, coming soon.