I had to export some data from a Postgres database into a Mongo database. Postgres apparently (yay!) lets you export table rows as JSON.

CREDITS: This solution comes from the dba.stackexchange answer at the bottom.

First I'm connecting to my remote database using Docker and opening up a psql prompt (-W forces psql to ask me for the password)

docker run -it --rm postgres psql -h $hostname -p $port -U $username -d $dbname -W
psql (9.6.4, server 9.5.5)
SSL connection (protocol: TLSv1.2, cipher: ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384, 
bits: 256, compression: off)
Type "help" for help.

dbname=>

From now on, the psql prompt is denoted as %.

If I go straight away to try and export a row to JSON using row_to_json, I will get output that is not ideal for exporting:

% SELECT row_to_json(row) FROM (SELECT id, satisfaction_degree FROM poll LIMIT 3) row;
            row_to_json                
-------------------------------------------
 {"id":1067,"satisfaction_degree":"FINE"}
 {"id":1068,"satisfaction_degree":"FINE"}
 {"id":1069,"satisfaction_degree":"GREAT"}
(3 rows)

Turning off output alignment with \a and trying again:

% \a
Output format is unaligned.
% SELECT row_to_json(row) FROM (SELECT id, satisfaction_degree FROM poll LIMIT 3) row;
row_to_json
{"id":1067,"satisfaction_degree":"FINE"}
{"id":1068,"satisfaction_degree":"FINE"}
{"id":1069,"satisfaction_degree":"GREAT"}
(3 rows)

The header and footer is still there. Turn those off as well with \t (Tuples only):

% \t
Tuples only is on.
% SELECT row_to_json(row) FROM (SELECT id, satisfaction_degree FROM poll LIMIT 3) row;
{"id":1067,"satisfaction_degree":"FINE"}
{"id":1068,"satisfaction_degree":"FINE"}
{"id":1069,"satisfaction_degree":"GREAT"}

Great! Now I want to export all rows in table as JSON to a file. Setting output to a file and re-executing the query:

% \o poll-backup.json
% SELECT row_to_json(row) FROM (SELECT id, satisfaction_degree FROM poll LIMIT 3) row;

There is no output to the terminal now. Everything is dumped into the output file. Now, before exiting the container, open up a new terminal to pull out the outout file from the ephemeral container volume. (eloquent_clarke is the name of my psql container)

$ docker exec -it eloquent_clarke cat /poll-backup.json > ~/tmp/poll-backup.json

Verify the contents of the file:

$ cat ~/tmp/poll-backup.json
{"id":1067,"satisfaction_degree":"FINE"}
{"id":1068,"satisfaction_degree":"FINE"}
{"id":1069,"satisfaction_degree":"GREAT"}

As you can see, this file is not valid JSON, as it's not an array of objects, but merely a list of JSON objects separated by newlines. It's fine by me. If you have a simple solution to converting the results to valid JSON, please write a comment.

References