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    0.5.1 • Public • Published

    Migroose: MongoDB Migrations

    Migroose provides database / data-structure migrations for MongoDB, with NodeJS and MongooseJS models / schemas.

    Changing your document structure in MongoDB is no different than changing a table structure in a relational database, when it comes to migrating data. The migration needs to be done - you need your new data structure to be populated with the data from the old structure.

    Migroose will help you get there by providing a structure and framework in which you can migrate from your old MongoDB collections and document structures, in to your new one.

    Getting Started

    Start by installing migroose in your project:

    npm install --save migroose
    npm install -g migroose-cli

    Create A Migration Script

    To create a migration, you will want to use migroose-cli. This is a command line tool to generate and run you migrations.

    migroose some example migration

    This will create a mongrations/########-some-example-migration.js file where "########" is a timestamp. The contents of this file will be a barebones migration that does nothing more than a console.log.

    The migration will also have an ID passed in to the Migration constructor function. This is used to ensure idempotency within a given database / system. Running a migration more than once will only do the work once, based on the ID.

    Working With The Migration API

    The first thing you need to know: Every method in the migration API creates a new step to execute. Steps are always run in the order in which they are defined.

    The net effect of this: If you drop a table first and then try to load data from it, there will be no data to load!

    So be careful. Be sure to specify the steps in the order you need. As a recommended starting point, use steps in this order:

    1. Data Load
    2. Custom Migration Steps
    3. Data Remove
    4. Collection Drop

    Data Load

    If you are migrating away from an old data structure, and no longer have a model that represents this structure, you can use the data load feature.

    After creating a migration instance, call the .load method, passing in an object literal with key / value pairs. The key will be used to reference the data that is returned. The value will be the name of the collection from which data is loaded.

      someData: "somecollection",
      moreData: {
        collection: "anothercollection",
        query: {someField: "some value"}

    Data Availability

    When the migration is run, each of the collections specified in the .load configuration will result in a data set being made made available to the steps.

    If you need to limit the data that is loaded, from within a given collection, you can specify any standard MongooseJS query, as shown in the above example. If you do not need to limit the data returned, and want to retrieve the entire collection, specifying the collection name directly will do that.

    Data Structure

    The data loaded by the load command returns a raw MongoDB "collection" and an array od "documents" on the named data parameter.

    migration.step(function(data, stepComplete){
      // the MongoDB collection
      var myCollection = data.myData.collection;
      // the documents from the collection
      var myDocuments = data.myData.documents;

    By returning the raw collection and document array, you can manipulate the documents in a manner that would not be possible using MongooseJS models. However, this does limit your migration code in that you can't use methods and features of MongooseJS models and schemas.

    Manipulating Data

    If you wish to manipulate the data in your documents that are loaded with the load feature, you can do so. To add / update or otherwise save things to the database, see the MongoDB Collection documentation

    Custom Migration Steps

    Now that you have a migration and have optionally specified a collection of documents to load, you can define steps for your migration. Any given migration can be built with 1 or more steps, using the .step method. This method receives a single argument of a callback function. The callback function receives a data parameter, and a stepComplete function parameter.

    The data parameter will contain the named collections that were previously defined by the load configuration.

    When your step is complete, call the stepComplete() function.

    The step definition function is where you will do the real work of transforming your previous collection and document structure, in to your new MongooseJS model structure. Be sure to require any MongooseJS model you need, so that you can manipulate the data correctly.

    var MyModel = require("./models/myModel");
    migration.step(function(data, stepComplete){
      var oldData = data.moreData.documents[0];
      var myModel = new MyModel({
        something: oldData.something,
        newThing: { 
          what: oldData.old1,
          ever: + oldData.old
        otherThing: oldData.moreStuff
        if (err) { return stepComplete(err); }
    migration.step(function(data, stepComplete){
      // handle more steps for this migration, here
      // ...

    In this example, a single model will be retrieved form the moreData collection that was previously loaded. This model is used to create a new model, which is then saved. After saving the model, the step is completed.

    A second step is also defined in this example. Steps are run in the order in which they are defined in the file. This allows you to have multiple steps that potentially deal with multiple collections, or to have processes that are a little more involved be split apart.

    Remove Old Data

    Having migrated your data, you may wish to remove data from old collections (models) from your database. This can be with the remove configuration, which works the same was as the load configuration.

      someData: "somecollection",
      moreData: {
        collection: "anothercollection",
        query: {someField: "some value"}

    In this example, both the somecollection and anothercollection document collections are removed from the database. In the case of somecollection, all documents are removed. In the case of anothercollection, however, only documents that match the query will be removed.

    Note that the query for removing data can be any valid MongooseJS query, the same as the load feature.

    Drop Old Collections

    If you are completely removing a collection from your database, you may wish to drop the collection entirely after migrating data out of it. To do that, you can specify a drop configuration with a list of collections.

    migration.drop("somethings", "otherthings", "etcthings");

    Drops will run last in the migration process.

    Run The Migration

    Having written this complete script, you can now run the migroose command line with no parameters, to execute your migrations.

    Please see the migroose-cli documentation for information on how to configure the migroose-cli tool and connect it to your database.

    Once you have connected migroose to your database, you can use the migroose command line tool to run your migrations:


    This will run the migrations that you have created, and not yet run. Running migrations mutliple times will result in the work being done only once, due to the ID passed in to the Migration constructor.

    View Prevously Run Migrations

    If you would like to view the list of migrations that have been run on your app instance, you can do that in two different ways.

    1. Run the Migroose.MigrationModel.find method
    2. Examine the migroosemigrations collection directly

    To run the MigrationModel's find method, require Migroose in your script and then execute the find method as you would any other MongooseJS model find method.

    var Migroose = require("migroose");
    Migroose.MigrationModel.find(function(err, migrations){
      if (err) { throw err; }

    This will print out a list of all migrations that have been run in the current app database. You are free to use any MongooseJS methods to find Migrations, using the MigrationModel - it is a standard MongooseJS model / schema.

    If you wish to examine the migrootions collection in your MongoDB instance directly, you may do this however you wish. It will show you the same information as the MigrationModel.find method.

    Legal Junk

    Migroose is ©2015 Muted Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    You may distribute and use Migroose under the MIT License.


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