# Platform Overview

The Directus platform is primarily comprised of an API and App, working in concert to "mirror" the schema and content of your SQL database.

# Database Mirroring

Instead of using a predefined "one-size-fits-all" data model to store your content, Directus "mirrors" your actual SQL database in real-time. The principle is akin to a database client (eg: phpMyAdmin), but includes far more advanced tools, and is safe and intuitive enough for non-technical users. This approach has many unique advantages:

  • A custom SQL database schema, tailored to your exact requirements
  • Significant performance improvements through optimizations and indexing
  • Complete transparency, portability, and security for your data
  • Direct database access and the full power of raw/complex SQL queries
  • Allows importing existing databases, unaltered and without any migrations

# Directus API

The Directus API uses Database Mirroring to dynamically generate REST endpoints and a GraphQL schema based on the connected database's architecture. It is written in Node.js (opens new window) and uses database abstraction to support most SQL database vendors.

# Relevant Docs

# Directus App

The Directus App is decoupled from, and powered by, the Directus API. It provides a way for both technical admins and non-technical users to view and manage content of the connected database. It is written in Vue.js (opens new window) v3, is completely modular, and is highly customizable.

# Relevant Docs

# Projects & Environments

A Project is a complete instance of Directus. Each project primarily represents a database, but also includes a configuration file and any related asset storage. This modular approach means you can also create different environments (eg: Dev, Staging, Prod) by simply creating additional project instances.

# Collections

A Collection is a grouping of similar Items. Each collection represents a table in your database. Directus automatically uses a built-in title formatter to display your database table names prettified, and you can use translations to completely rename them if needed.


Collections can be organized in any way that is appropriate for your project. You can architect them platform-specific (eg: pages of a website), or in a more platform-agnostic way (eg: raw customers of your business). While there's no right or wrong way to structure your data-model, we recommend keeping your data as agnostic as possible so it is easier to repurpose in the future. In short, learn to see your data as its own asset — not only through the lens of your immediate project needs.

# Relevant Guides

# Presets

Presets store the exact state of a collection detail page. These are used to set layout defaults for a user, or to define bookmarks that can be used to quickly recall specific datasets.

# Relevant Guides

# Fields

A Field is a specific type of value within a Collection. Each field represents a database column. Directus automatically uses a built-in title formatter to display your database column names prettified, and you can use translations to completely rename them if needed.

Each field also mirrors other characteristics from the column, including its type, default, length, allow_null, etc.


You might have title, body, author, and date_published fields within an articles collection.


Not all fields in Directus map directly to an actual database column within their table. Some relational fields, like One-to-Many (O2M) and Many-to-Many (M2M), represent data that is stored in different tables. Other fields are only for presentation and don't save data at all, such as a divider. These are called "alias" fields.

Relational Fields

Fields that reference other items (in the same collection or different) are called relational fields. Linking or connecting data relationally is an immensely powerful feature of relational databases and SQL queries.

# Relevant Guides

# Types

Directus has built-in database abstraction for managing all SQL database vendors. However, each of those vendors has a different list of supported column datatypes. To standardize all of these differences, Directus has a single superset of types that each map to the more specific vendor ones.

  • String
  • Text
  • Boolean
  • Integer
  • Big Integer
  • Float
  • Decimal
  • Timestamp
  • DateTime
  • Date
  • Time
  • JSON
  • CSV
  • UUID

@TODO confirm

# Items

An Item is an object containing the field values within a Collection. Each item represents a database record. Similar to a "row" within a spreadsheet.

# Relevant Guides