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Azure Cosmos DB: Build a Flask app with the MongoDB API

This is a sample for Azure Cosmos DB. You can read the full tutorial here.

Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft’s globally distributed multi-model database service. You can quickly create and query document, key/value, and graph databases, all of which benefit from the global distribution and horizontal scale capabilities at the core of Azure Cosmos DB.

This quick start guide demonstrates how to build a simple TO-DO Flask App using Azure Cosmos DB with the Azure Cosmos DB Emulator instead of MongoDB.


  • Download the Azure Cosmos DB Emulator. The emulator is currently only supported on Windows. The sample shows how to use the sample with a production key from Azure, which can be done on any platform.

  • If you don’t already have Visual Studio Code installed, you can quickly install VS Code for your platform (Windows, Mac, Linux).

  • Be sure to add Python Language support by installing one of the popular Python extensions.

    1. Select an extension.
    2. Install the extension by typing ext install into the Command Palette Ctrl+Shift+P.

    The examples in this document use Don Jayamanne's popular and full featured Python Extension.

Clone the sample application

Now let's clone the app, set the connection string, and run it.

  1. Open a git terminal window, such as git bash, and cd to a working directory.
  2. Run the following command to clone the sample repository.

    git clone https://github.com/Azure-Samples/CosmosDB-Flask-Mongo-Sample.git
  3. Run the following command to install the python modules. bash pip install -r .\requirements.txt

  4. Open the folder in Visual Studio Code or your IDE of choice.

Review the code

Let's take a quick review of what's happening in the app. Open the app.py file under the root directory and you find that these lines of code create the Azure Cosmos DB connection. The following code uses the connection string for the local Azure Cosmos DB Emulator. The password needs to be split up as seen below to accommodate for the forward slashes that cannot be parsed otherwise.

  • Initialize the MongoDB client, retrieve the database, and authenticate.

    client = MongoClient("mongodb://") #host uri
    db = client.test    #Select the database
    db.authenticate(name="localhost",password='C2y6yDjf5' + r'/R' + '+ob0N8A7Cgv30VRDJIWEHLM+4QDU5DE2nQ9nDuVTqobD4b8mGGyPMbIZnqyMsEcaGQy67XIw' + r'/Jw==')
  • Retrieve the collection or create it if it does not already exist.

    todos = db.todo #Select the collection
  • Create the app

    app = Flask(__name__)
    title = "TODO with Flask"
    heading = "ToDo Reminder"

Run the web app

  1. Make sure the Azure Cosmos DB Emulator is running.

  2. Open a terminal window and cd to the directory that the app is saved in.

  3. Then set the environment variable for the Flask app with set FLASK_APP=app.py or export FLASK_APP=app.py if you are using a Mac.

  4. Run the app with flask run and browse to

  5. Add and remove tasks and see them added and changed in the collection.

Deploy to Azure

To deploy this app, you can create a new web app in Azure and enable continuous deployment with a fork of this github repo. Follow this tutorial to set up continuous deployment with Github in Azure.

When deploying to Azure, you should remove your application keys and make sure the section below is not commented out:

    client = MongoClient(os.getenv("MONGOURL"))
    db = client.test    #Select the database

You then need to add your MONGOURL, MONGO_PASSWORD, and MONGO_USERNAME to the application settings. You can follow this tutorial to learn more about Application Settings in Azure Web Apps.

If you don't want to create a fork of this repo, you can also click the deploy to Azure button below. You should then go into Azure and set up the application settings with your Cosmos DB account info.

[!NOTE] If you plan to store your code in Github or other source control options, please be sure to remove your connection strings from the code. They can be set with application settings for the web app instead.