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What is MongoDB?

What is MongoDB?

One of the most popular open-source databases among developers currently, MongoDB has cultivated a loyal following attracted to its power and versatility. Able to support a variety of queries, offering limited downtime when scaling applications, and a whole range of other convenient features, MongoDB has proven itself time and again as one of the best combinations of innovative technology and data accessing tools.

But MongoDB’s positives go far beyond structural elements, and include a wide variety of use cases and upside benefits to developers looking for an ideal database platform tailored to the rapidly growing needs of cloud services and distributed data storage. It’s this flexibility and scalability that has made MongoDB essential for data-intensive emerging fields like machine learning, the Internet of Things, cloud storage, and other new technologies that promise to drive the continued evolution of the Internet and hardware in the coming years.

So what are the other benefits of using MongoDB? Why is this database platform preferable to other competing NoSQL databases, such as RDBMS? In this guide, we’ll walk through the actual structure of MongoDB, the features that drive its widespread applications and growing adoption rate among developers, and the steps you should take to learn how to work with this powerful tool on your next project.

The Basics of MongoDB

As stated above, MongoDB is an open-source database that employs a document-oriented data model as well as a non-structured query language. It is one of the most powerful NoSQL systems and databases around, today. As a NoSQL tool, MongoDB does not use the usual rows and columns that are often associated with relational database management. Instead, MongoDB is an architecture that is built entirely on collections and documents. 

The basic unit of data in this database consists of a set of key-value pairs, which allow documents to possess different fields and structures. MongoDB uses a document storage format called BSON (a binary style of JSON documents). The data model that MongoDB follows is a highly flexible format that allows users to combine and store data of multivariate types without having to compromise on powerful indexing options, data access, and validation rules. This means there is no downtime when a programmer wants to dynamically modify the schemas. As an added benefit, you can concentrate more on making your data work harder rather than spending more time on doing time-consuming preparation work on the data for the database.

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What Does The Architecture Of A MongoDB Database Look Like?

The basic structure of a MongoDB database consists of three main areas:

  • Database: In a very basic sense, the database can be considered the physical container for data. Each of the databases possesses its own set of files on the file system, while multiple databases exist on a single MongoDB server.
  • Collection: A group of database documents is known as a collection. For programmers familiar with RDBMS, the collection is equivalent to a table, while the entire collection exists within a single database. Inside the collection, various documents can have varied fields, but generally the documents within a collection are employed for the same purpose or used to achieve the same end objective.
  • Document: A set of key-value pairs can be designated as a document, which are associated with dynamic schemas. The upside of having dynamic schemas is that a document in a single collection does not have to possess the same structure or fields. Additionally, the common fields in a collection’s document can have varied types of data.

What Are The Key Features Of MongoDB? (H2)

The features are truly what draw so many programmers to MongoDB for their projects currently. Spanning functional features to design elements that offer efficient database operations and query functions, MongoDB has a wide array of unique elements that make it attractive. Some of the most notable include:

  • MongoDB supports both document-based and ad-hoc queries
  • Any field in the document can be indexed as needed
  • MongoDB supports Master–Slave replication, and utilizes native applications to maintain multiple copies of data. This is partially responsible for the limited downtime of the database, a feature that makes it particularly attractive over competing options.
  • MongoDB can operate over multiple servers, since data is duplicated to foolproof the system in the potential case of critical hardware failure.
  • MongoDB offers auto-sharding, a process that distributes data across multiple physical partitions called shards. Thanks to this feature, MongoDB includes an automatic load balancing feature.
  • The platform supports MapReduce and a variety of flexible aggregation tools.
  • In MongoDB, it’s significantly easier to cope with cases of failures than some competing NoSQL options. Significant numbers of replicas offer increased protection and data availability against database downtime, including events like rack failures, multiple machine failures, and data center failures
  • The GridFS feature allows programmers to keep their stack simplified while storing files of any size. The GridFS feature divides files into conveniently smaller parts and then stores them as separate documents.
  • It is a schema-less database written in C++.
  • MongoDB JavaScript works well, since the database employs the language instead of procedures.

The True Advantages Of Using MongoDB

Now that we know the basic layout of MongoDB, as well as its most useful and convenient features, the final piece to know is what unique advantages MongoDB offers for companies and website managers in a variety of fields. No matter what industry or market vertical you may operate within, MongoDB probably has value for your upcoming or existing projects. Here are just a few of the biggest advantages of the database platform:

  • Distributed Data Platform: As a result of its geographically distributed data centers and cloud regions, MongoDB offers ever-increasing new levels of availability and scalability. With no downtime and without a need to change an existing application, MongoDB scales elastically in response to shifting data volume and throughput. Most importantly, MongoDB offers a level of consistency unseen in many of its predecessors.
  • Fast and Adaptable Development: Unlike in the past, where shifts in your business model or feature needs could significantly drag out development and updates, MongoDB allows you to save time and effort. Because it relies on a flexible data model using dynamic schema as noted above, as well as offering powerful GUI and command line tools, MongoDB makes it fast and efficient for developers to build and improve applications. Automated provisioning offers continuous integration and delivery for productive operations.
  • Flexible Data Model: MongoDB stores data in flexible JSON-like documents, offering streamlined data persistence and combining. The objects in your application code are mapped directly to the document model, making work with the data even easier than before. Likewise, schema governance controls, data access, complex aggregations, and rich indexing functionality are not compromised in any fashion. All of this allows a developer to worry less about data manipulation, and instead spend time on working with and analyzing the data itself.
  • Integrated Feature Suite: Programmers gain access to a variety of real-time applications because of analytics and data visualization, event-driven streaming data pipelines, text and geospatial search, graph processing, in-memory performance, and global replication reliably and securely. Previous database platforms required significant external programs or tailoring to offer this same robust set of features included within MongoDB naturally.
  • Thriving Developer and User Community: With over 30 million downloads and growing, along with thousands of customers and partners, the growing pool of MongoDB enthusiasts means innovations to the technology will only continue to grow over the coming years. 

How Do I Learn How To Use MongoDB?

For new programmers, database architecture can be a daunting thing to learn, so it’s best to start by learning foundational languages like C++ or JavaScript to understand the underlying code. Taking online coding classes to learn the fundamental concepts of languages like those, as well as the basic foundations of database architecture in general, is a great first step to developing the skills needed to access the features and benefits of MongoDB.

For intermediate and experienced programmers, aside from online courses, MongoDB (and traditional developer resource sites like GitHub or StackOverflow) host thriving programmer communities where experienced MongoDB developers trade questions, tips, and best practices on a daily basis. Aside from the big communities of developers, the MongoDB site itself offers a variety of tutorials and tips for mastering this technology specifically.

Once you’ve gained some experience with the structural elements of MongoDB, building a test project to learn the potential and the limits of the platform is a logical next step. Code playgrounds, coding challenges, and similar “hands-on” experiences can let you get your hands dirty with navigating queries and database work before you begin building your own project or taking on a job as a MongoDB programmer with an existing company or startup.