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MongoDB Commands & Concepts: Rookie's Quick Reference

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This article presents some of the basic concepts and commands which could prove useful for rookies starting with MongoDB.

Key Concepts

Simply speaking, MongoDB is a very popular NoSQL database with document-oriented storage. If you are a SQL developer and having challenges understanding document-oriented database, check out this page on mapping between SQL to MongoDB mapping. For a detailed introduction on MondoDB, check out this introduction page.

Following are some of the key terminologies:

  • Database
  • Collections
  • Document
  • Field
  • Primary key (_id)
  • index

JSON-styled Documents: The most important concept is document-oriented storage, and the documents are JSON-styled. Thus, one would require to learn JSON very well to do well with MongoDB as JSON-styled document is at the heart of it.

As like MySQL server and client, MongoDB also has a server and client. Following are the commands:

mongod: Start the server
mongo: Start the client


Following is a sample document in the collection, “users”:

    _id: ObjectId("509a8fb2f3f4658bd2f783a0"),
    firstname: "Chris",
    lastname: "Johnson",
    age: 25,
    email: ""


Simply speaking, Collection is a set of documents.

Key Commands

Before I list down some, I must say that you may see a detailed query samples  in comparison with traditional SQL statements on this page.

  • show dbs: Shows all the databases
  • use <dbname>: Use the database; Create the database if not present in the database list
  • show collections: Shows all the collections in any database

CRUD: Create A Collection Explicity

db.createCollection( "&lt;collectionname&gt;" )

CRUD: Create A Document

db..insert( ): Create the collection if does not exist and insert the document OR, Insert the document in the existing collection having name as . Following is the sample command:

//Insert a new document in the collection users
        firstname: "Bill",
        lastname: "Sherwood",
        age: 32,
        email: ""
// Insert multiple documents or array of documents
    { firstname: "Bill", lastname: "Sherwood", age: 32,email: ""},
    { firstname: "Chris", lastname: "Johnson", age: 28,email: ""},

CRUD: Select Documents

//Shows all the documents within a collection. 

CRUD: Update Documents

//Updates multiple documents set firstname = "William" whose age = 35
  { age: 35 },
  { $set: { firstname: "William" } ,
  { multi: true }

CRUD: Delete Document

// Removes the document with age=35
    { age: 35 }
// Removes all the document
db.users.remove( {} )

As mentioned earlier, if you want to quickly learn these commands with equivalent MySQL commands in the sight, do bookmark the following link:

Published at DZone with permission of Ajitesh Kumar, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)