Here's a collection of our recommendations on how best to use Convex to build your application. If you want guidance specific to your app's needs or have discovered other ways of using Convex, message us on Discord!
All Convex libraries have complete type annotations and using theses types is a great way to learn the framework.
Even better, Convex supports code generation to create types that are specific to your app's schema and Convex functions.
Code generation is run automatically by
npx convex dev.
Use argument validation in all public functions.
Argument validation prevents malicious users from calling your functions with the wrong types of arguments. It's okay to skip argument validation for internal functions because they are not publicly accessible.
console.log to debug your Convex functions.
Any server-side log from a Convex query or mutation function will end up both in the logs page in the dashboard, as well as in the browser console logs for the user who invoked the function call.
If a server-side exception occurs, it will also be logged as an error event which will appear in both places— in the dashboard logs, and echoed into the browser's console log.
Use helper functions to write shared code.
You can feel free to write additional helper functions in your
directory and use them within your Convex functions. Helpers can be a powerful
way to share business logic, authorization code, and more.
Prefer queries and mutations over actions
You should generally avoid using actions when the same goal can be achieved using queries or mutations. Since actions can have side effects, they can't be automatically retried nor their results cached. Actions should be used in more limited scenarios, such as calling third-party services.
Use indexes or paginate all large database queries.
Database indexes with range expressions allow you to write efficient database queries that only scan a small number of documents in the table. Pagination allows you to quickly display incremental lists of results. If your table could contain more than a few thousand documents, you should consider pagination or an index with a range expression to ensure that your queries stay fast.
For more details, check out our Introduction to Indexes and Query Performance article.
Use tables to separate logical object types.
Even though Convex does support nested documents, it is often better to put
separate objects into separate tables and use
Ids to create references between
them. This will give you more flexibility when loading and
You can read more about this at Document IDs.
undefined to determine if a query is loading.
useQuery React hook will return
undefined when it is first mounted, before the query has been loaded from
Convex. Once a query is loaded it will never be
undefined again (even as the
data reactively updates).
undefined is not a valid return type for queries
(you can see the types that Convex supports at
You can use this as a signal for when to render loading indicators and placeholder UI.
Add optimistic updates for the interactions you want to feel snappy.
By default all relevant
useQuery hooks will update automatically after a
mutation is synced from Convex. If you would like some interactions to happen
even faster, you can add
optimistic updates to your
useMutation calls so that the UI updates instantaneously.
Use an exception handling service and error boundaries to manage errors.
Inevitably, your Convex functions will have bugs and hit exceptions. If you have an exception handling service and error boundaries configured, you can ensure that you hear about these errors and your users see appropriate UI.
See Error Handling for more information.