Forward Advance Learning

Grouping documents with $group

$group allows us to group a collection according to criteria. We can group by fields that exist in the data, or we can group by expressions that create new fields.

Group will operate on a set of documents in the pipeline, and output a new set of documents out the bottom.

We group using the _id field. This will create a new _id for each group that will be an object containing the grouping criteria.

The simplest group would look like this:

db.people.aggregate(
{
$group: {
_id: 1
}
}
)

The id field is empty, so the group contains the whole collection, but we haven't output anything, so each output document is empty.

Grouping by id

If we just want to group by a single field we can do this easily. The id of each output document will be the value of the expression, in this case '$name'.

db.people.aggregate(
{
$group: {
_id: '$name'
}
}
)

Exercise

  • Try this out on your people data set. You should get a list of distinct names.
  • The output is untidy, each name output in the id field. Add a $project step to the popeline to rename the '_id' field to 'name'.

You just wrote a function for getting distinct emails.

Grouping by multiple fields

You can group on more than one field by passing an object to _id:

db.people.aggregate(
{
$group: {
_id: {
name: '$name',
age: '$age'
}
}
}
)

Exercise - Grouping by object

Try out the above. Notice that the _id field is now an object. Use $project to reformat the data. You now have distinct names and ages.

$pushing data into the result

When grouping we use the _id field to hold the common values that we are grouping our documents on. This means that the output of a group aggregation only holds the data that is common to all documents in that group.

What happens though if we want to preserve a value that we are not grouping on. For this we use $push.

$push

$push will create an array and store part or all of the grouped source documents in it.

db.entrycodes.aggregate([
{
$group: {
_id: "$email",
count: {$sum: 1},
entry: {
$push: {
firstName: "$firstName",
lastName: "$lastName"
}
}
}
}
])

$$ROOT

The $$ROOT variable contains the source documents for the group. If you'd like to just pass them through unmodified, you can do this by $pushing $$ROOT into the output from the group.

db.entrycodes.aggregate([
{
$group: {
_id: "$email",
name: "$firstName"
count: {$sum: 1},
entries: { $push: "$$ROOT" }
}
}
])

Exercise - Group and push

  • Use $match to select only people with cats
  • Now group by name, and for each person.
  • Push the cats into the result.

We can now see a list of all the cats owned by people with a particular name.

Exercise - Enron

  • Take the Enron dataset and group by sender.
  • Push $$ROOT into the group. You now have the emails handily grouped by sender.

Code from the board