Getting started with MongoDB


Hello Everyone,

In this post, I am going to present some of the basic syntax and example of MongoDB to get started with it. For basic detail of NoSQL db visit this link.

What is MongoDB?

Mongo db is an open source, cross-platform NoSql database. It is a document-oriented db which is written in C++.

Mongo db stores its data on the filesystem. It stores all the data in BSON (Binary JSON). The format of BSON documents is very similar to the Object Oriented Programming. In MongoDB we can store complete information in one document rather than creating different tables for them and then define a relationship between them.

Let’s take a brief look at terms which mongo db uses to store the data:

  • Collections: You need to create collections in each Database. Each DB can contain multiple collections.
  • Documents: Each Collection contains multiple Documents.
  • Fields: Each Document contains multiple Fields.


Now get started with the commands:


  • Create db or Use db: There is no command to create a db in Mongo. Whenever we want to create a new db use following command.
    • Syntax: use <dbname>
    • Example: use customerdb
  • Show current db : This is very simple and small command
    • Syntax: db
  • Show db : This command will return the existing dbs only if it contains at least one collection.
    • Syntax: show dbs

At this time we did show dbs it will return only a default db. For this, we need to add a collection to it. We will see how to add collection in collection section. But for now, presenting an example:

    • Example: db.customer({first_name:”Robin”}
    • show dbs

Now we can see our db customerdb in the list.

  • Drop db: To drop database following is the command. Before deleting database first select the db.
    • Syntax: db.dropDatabase()
    • Example: use customerdb


  • Create collection : Mongo db normally we do not need to create collection explicitly. When we write a command to insert the document it will create the collection if does not exist. But there is a way to create collection explicitly an define it as expected:
    • Syntax: db.createCollection(<collectionName>, option)
      db.createCollection(<name>, { capped: <boolean>,
      autoIndexId: <boolean>,
      size: <number>,
      max: <number>,
      storageEngine: <document>,
      validator: <document>,
      validationLevel: <string>,
      validationAction: <string>,
      indexOptionDefaults: <document>,
      viewOn: <string>,
      pipeline: <pipeline>,
      collation: <document> } )
    • Example: db.createCollection(customer)

Collection name’s type is String and option type is Document.
Some of the important fields I am describing below:

Field(optional) Type Description
capped boolean If it sets to true it creates capped collection. For capped collection we need to define the size as well.
size number It defines the size of the capped collection. If the documents size reached to its limit then on each insert mongo db started deleting the old entries.
max number This defines the max size of capped collection. If the size is defined less then max size mongo db will start deleting the old document. So we need to ensure that max size is always less then size.
autoIndexId boolean It automatically creates index on id.


  • Drop Collection: We can drop a collection by using the following index but before dropping any collection we should be in the same db.
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>.drop()
    • Example: use customerdb

CRUD Operations:

Mongo db provides very flexibility for CRUD operations. We can insert or update document on the fly.

  • Insert Document:
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>.insert(<documents>)
    • Example:  db.customer.insert([{first_name:”Robin”, last_name:”Desosa”}, {first_name:“Kanika”, last_name:”Bhatnagar”},{first_name:”Rakesh”, last_name:”Sharma”, gender:”male”}]);

In the above example we are adding 3 document, first 2 are having the same fields but the third document has an additional field gender. Mongo db provides a functionality to insert the non structural data.
When you insert a document mongo db will automatically create a unique Id for each document.

  • Update Document:
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>.update({<documentIdentifier>}, {$set:{<update value>}})
    • Example: db.customer.update({first_name:”Robin”},  {$set:{gender:”male”}});
      db.customer.update({first_name:”Kanika”},  {$set:{gender:”female”}});db.customer.update({first_name:”Rakesh”}, {$set:{age:”25”}})The above example will add a new field in corresponding document.
  • Update or Insert: Upsert command updates the document if it already exists or inserts a new one.
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>.upsert({<docIdentifier>}, {<document>}, {upsert:true})
    • Example: db.customer({first_name:”Amita”}, {first_name:” Amita”, last_name:”Jain”, gender:”female”}, {upsert: true});
  • Rename Field in Document: We can rename field of a specific document by using $rename in update command.
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>. update({<documentIdentifier>}, {$rename:{<update value>}})
    • Example: db.customer.update({first_name:”Rakesh”}, {$rename:{“gender”:”sex”}});After this we renamed the gender field to sex only for the document whose first_name is “Rakesh”.
  • Remove a field: To remove a field $unset needs to be used in update command.
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>.update({<documentIdentifier >}, {$unset:{<field:1>}})
    • Example: Db.customer.update({first_name:”Rakesh”}, {$unset:{age:1}});
  • Remove Document:
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>.remove({<documentIdentifier >})
    • Example: db.customer.remove({first_name:”Amita”});
      (If we have multiple entries with first_name Amita and want to remove 1.)
      db.customer.remove({first_name:”Amita”}, {justOne:true});
  • Find Document: We can find the document in collection by using following command. The output of that command is an object in json form.
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>.find()
    • Example: db.customer.find();

The output of the above command will be all the json object stored in that collection.
To see it in a formatted way like each object and field in new line we can use pretty on find.

Example: db.customer.find().pretty();

  • Find Specific: By passing the documentIdentifier value in find method.
    • Syntax: db.<collectionName>.find({<documentIdentifier >})
    • Example: db.customer.find({first_name:”Kanika”});
  • Or condition: 
    • Example: db.customer.find({$or:[{first_name:”Kanika”}, {first_name:”Robin”}]});

In the above example we have a document in find as parameter, and in that document we have give an array of first_name. $or is defining the operation which is going to be performed on the array.

  • Greater than, Less than: We can directly jump on the example of the greater than and less than.


  • db.customer.find({age:{$gt:26}});
    In the above example $gt defines that > operation need to be perform on age. It will find and print all the documents who has this field age and age >26.
  • db.customer.find({age:{$lt:26}});
    In the same way this $lt will help us to find all documents which have age field and age < 26.
  • db.customer.find({age:{$gte:26}});
    We can perform >= or <= operations as well by using $gte and $lte.

Following are some more example on features provided by Mongo db:

  • Sort:
    • db.customer.find().sort({first_name:1}); //descending order
      db.customer.find().sort({first_name:-1}); //ascending order
  • Count:
    • db.customer.find().count();
  • ForEach:
    • db.customer.find().forEach(function(doc){print(“Customer Name:”+ doc.first_name)});

These all are the basic syntax for getting started with MongoDb.






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