We will explore one of the essential features of Cosmos DB - pagination and continuation tokens. Below is a brief look at a robust & practical implementation for using continuation tokens in a stored procedure. We will use the JavaScript server-side SDK to define the procedure and the Java client SDK to execute it.


  • An Azure account
  • Basic JavaScript knowledge
  • Basic Java knowledge

Setting up a workspace

The code here has been hacked together from the quick start for java example. To create a workspace, simply use the portal to create a Cosmos DB free tier.

Once you have a Cosmos instance, set the primary key and connection strings that the program will use to create a client.

export ACCOUNT_KEY="test=="
export ACCOUNT_HOST="https://test.documents.azure.com:443/"

You can then run the example code. It can be found here in its entirety. Below we will go through the code. It will:

  1. Create the ToDoList database
  2. Create the Items collection
  3. Create the getItems stored procedure
  4. Insert test data
  5. Run the stored procedure and fetch data in pages.

Writing the procedure

Cosmos DB stored procedures are written in JavaScript. This allows for a wide range of syntax. The chain command allows for extremely concise scripting. The syntax is modeled after lodash and ECMAScript5 array functions. This cheat sheet should give you the tools to get started writing with it.

Within a partition the stored procedure be doing the equivalent SQL query (with pagination):

SELECT i.address FROM items i;

Using the SDK the procedure definition can be written as follows:

function getItems(continuation) {
    var container = getContext().getCollection();

            pageSize: 100,
            continuation: continuation
        }, function (err, feed, options) {
            if (err) throw err;
                result: feed,
                continuation: options.continuation


Within the chain's terminating value() we are setting the FeedOptions to the default pageSize of 100 wiring in the continuation token from procedure input. In the callback we set the response body to include the resulting documents in result field and the associated continuation token, it it exists, in the continuation field.

The full server-side JS API can be found here.


On the client side, we will call the stored procedure to fetch all the addresses within the collection. The first call will have no arguments. After the client receives a response, it should inspect it for a continuation token, and call again until the final result is available (no continuation token returned). This pattern is the driver for pagination, or continuing updates in a stored procedure.

Using the Java client SDK, that pattern looks like the following in the function runProcedureContinuation:

private void runProcedureContinuation() throws Exception {
  storedProcedure = container

  List<Address> fetched = new ArrayList<>();
  GetItemsProcedureResponse response = runStoredProcedure(null);
  if (StringUtils.isNotBlank(response.getContinuation())) {
      String continuation = response.getContinuation();
      System.out.printf("Got initial response with continuation %s\n", continuation);
      int attempts = 0;
      while (StringUtils.isNotBlank(continuation) && attempts < MAX_QUERIES) {
          GetItemsProcedureResponse page = runStoredProcedure(continuation);
          continuation = page.getContinuation();
          System.out.printf("Got response with continuation %s\n", continuation);
      System.out.printf("Fetched %d addresses from collection in %d attempts\n",


private GetItemsProcedureResponse runStoredProcedure(String continuation) throws Exception {
  List<Object> input = new ArrayList<Object>();
  if (StringUtils.isNotBlank(continuation)) {

  CosmosStoredProcedureRequestOptions options = new CosmosStoredProcedureRequestOptions();
          new PartitionKey("Anderson"));

  CosmosStoredProcedureResponse response = storedProcedure.execute(

  return mapper.readValue(response.getResponseAsString(),

I've put together example code that demonstrates the process here. Simply clone, set the env vars for your cosmos instance, package, and then run it to inspect the output of the procedure calls:

INFO: Getting database account endpoint from https://XXXX.documents.azure.com:443/
Create database ToDoList if not exists.
Checking database ToDoList completed!

Create container Items if not exists.
Checking container Items completed!

Scaling container Items.
Scaled container to 600 completed!
Created item with request charge of 10.29 within duration PT0.422883S
Created item with request charge of 15.43 within duration PT0.027728S

... (log output abbreviated) ...

Got initial response with continuation -RID:~QoESALqhssxkAAAAAAAAAA==#RT:1#TRC:100#ISV:2#IEO:65567#QCF:8
Got response with continuation -RID:~QoESALqhsszIAAAAAAAAAA==#RT:2#TRC:200#ISV:2#IEO:65567#QCF:8
Got response with continuation -RID:~QoESALqhsswsAQAAAAAAAA==#RT:3#TRC:300#ISV:2#IEO:65567#QCF:8
Got response with continuation -RID:~QoESALqhssyQAQAAAAAAAA==#RT:4#TRC:400#ISV:2#IEO:65567#QCF:8
Got response with continuation -RID:~QoESALqhssz0AQAAAAAAAA==#RT:5#TRC:500#ISV:2#IEO:65567#QCF:8
Got response with continuation -RID:~QoESALqhssxYAgAAAAAAAA==#RT:6#TRC:600#ISV:2#IEO:65567#QCF:8
Got response with continuation -RID:~QoESALqhssy8AgAAAAAAAA==#RT:7#TRC:700#ISV:2#IEO:65567#QCF:8
Got response with continuation -RID:~QoESALqhssw0CAAAAAAAAA==#RT:21#TRC:2100#ISV:2#IEO:65567#QCF:8
Fetched 900 addresses from collection in 9 attempts
Demo complete, please hold while resources are released
Closing the client


Above we used the JavaScript server-side SDK to define a stored procedure that uses continuation. We then orchestrate our client to call the stored procedure in a looping pattern to obtain all the results. There are many variations on this approach depending on the operation(s) being done.