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MongoDB: Combine data from multiple collections into one..how?

How can I (in MongoDB) combine data from multiple collections into one collection?

Can I use map-reduce and if so then how?

I would greatly appreciate some example as I am a novice.

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Although you can't do this real-time, you can run map-reduce multiple times to merge data together by using the "reduce" out option in MongoDB 1.8+ map/reduce (seehttp://www.mongodb.org/display/DOCS/MapReduce#MapReduce-Outputoptions). You need to have some key in both collections that you can use as an _id.

For example, let's say you have a users collection and a comments collection and you want to have a new collection that has some user demographic info for each comment.

Let's say the users collection has the following fields:

  • _id
  • firstName
  • lastName
  • country
  • gender
  • age

And then the comments collection has the following fields:

  • _id
  • userId
  • comment
  • created

You would do this map/reduce:

var mapUsers, mapComments, reduce;

db.users_comments.remove();


// setup sample data - wouldn't actually use this in production

db.users.remove();

db.comments.remove();

db.users.save({firstName:"Rich",lastName:"S",gender:"M",country:"CA",age:"18"});

db.users.save({firstName:"Rob",lastName:"M",gender:"M",country:"US",age:"25"});

db.users.save({firstName:"Sarah",lastName:"T",gender:"F",country:"US",age:"13"});

var users = db.users.find();

db.comments.save({userId: users[0]._id, "comment": "Hey, what's up?", created: new ISODate()});

db.comments.save({userId: users[1]._id, "comment": "Not much", created: new ISODate()});

db.comments.save({userId: users[0]._id, "comment": "Cool", created: new ISODate()});

// end sample data setup


mapUsers = function() {

    var values = {

        country: this.country,

        gender: this.gender,

        age: this.age

    };

    emit(this._id, values);

};

mapComments = function() {

    var values = {

        commentId: this._id,

        comment: this.comment,

        created: this.created

    };

    emit(this.userId, values);

};

reduce = function(k, values) {

    var result = {}, commentFields = {

        "commentId": '', 

        "comment": '',

        "created": ''

    };

    values.forEach(function(value) {

        var field;

        if ("comment" in value) {

            if (!("comments" in result)) {

                result.comments = [];

            }

            result.comments.push(value);

        } else if ("comments" in value) {

            if (!("comments" in result)) {

                result.comments = [];

            }

            result.comments.push.apply(result.comments, value.comments);

        }

        for (field in value) {

            if (value.hasOwnProperty(field) && !(field in commentFields)) {

                result[field] = value[field];

            }

        }

    });

    return result;

};

db.users.mapReduce(mapUsers, reduce, {"out": {"reduce": "users_comments"}});

db.comments.mapReduce(mapComments, reduce, {"out": {"reduce": "users_comments"}});

db.users_comments.find().pretty(); // see the resulting collection


At this point, you will have a new collection called users_comments that contains the merged data and you can now use that. These reduced collections all have _id which is the key you were emitting in your map functions and then all of the values are a sub-object inside the value key - the values aren't at the top level of these reduced documents.

This is a somewhat simple example. You can repeat this with more collections as much as you want to keep building up the reduced collection. You could also do summaries and aggregations of data in the process. Likely you would define more than one reduce function as the logic for aggregating and preserving existing fields gets more complex.

You'll also note that there is now one document for each user with all of that user's comments in an array. If we were merging data that has a one-to-one relationship rather than one-to-many, it would be flat and you could simply use a reduce function like this:


reduce = function(k, values) {

    var result = {};

    values.forEach(function(value) {

        var field;

        for (field in value) {

            if (value.hasOwnProperty(field)) {

                result[field] = value[field];

            }

        }

    });

    return result;

};


If you want to flatten the users_comments collection so it's one document per comment, additionally run this:


var map, reduce;

map = function() {

    var debug = function(value) {

        var field;

        for (field in value) {

            print(field + ": " + value[field]);

        }

    };

    debug(this);

    var that = this;

    if ("comments" in this.value) {

        this.value.comments.forEach(function(value) {

            emit(value.commentId, {

                userId: that._id,

                country: that.value.country,

                age: that.value.age,

                comment: value.comment,

                created: value.created,

            });

        });

    }

};

reduce = function(k, values) {

    var result = {};

    values.forEach(function(value) {

        var field;

        for (field in value) {

            if (value.hasOwnProperty(field)) {

                result[field] = value[field];

            }

        }

    });

    return result;

};

db.users_comments.mapReduce(map, reduce, {"out": "comments_with_demographics"});


This technique should definitely not be performed on the fly. It's suited for a cron job or something like that which updates the merged data periodically. You'll probably want to run ensureIndex on the new collection to make sure queries you perform against it run quickly (keep in mind that your data is still inside a value key, so if you were to index comments_with_demographics on the comment createdtime, it would be db.comments_with_demographics.ensureIndex({"value.created": 1});


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