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    Mongrate: MongoDB Migrations

    Mongrate 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.

    Mongrate 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 mongrate in your project:

    npm install --save mongrate

    Create A Migration Script

    Create a folder for your migrations, and add a file with a timestamp in the name and a .js extension. For example, "sample-12-29-2014-10-59-03-am.js". Within this file, you will need to require("mongrate") and create a migration from this object. Give the migration an ID in the constructor function - a unique name that will not be duplicated. It is common to use the same name and time stamp as the file name.

    // migrations/sample-12-29-2014-10-59-03-am.js
    var Mongrate = require("mongrate");
    var migration = new Mongrate.Migration("sample-12-29-2014-10-59-03-am");

    The ID passed in to the Migration constructor function 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.

    Load Previous Data Structures

    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"}

    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.

    Run 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[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 Structures

    Having migrated your data, you may wish to remove the old collection or 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.

    Run The Migration

    There are a few final steps in your script, to run the migration.

    1. Open your database connection
    2. Handle the "complete" event, to know the migration is done
    3. Handle the "already-run" event, to know the migration has already been run
    4. Run the migration.migrate method
    // bottom of migrations/sample-12-29-2014-10-59-03-am.js
    var mongoose = require("mongoose");
    mongoose.connect("mongodb://localhost:27017/my-app", function(err){
      if (err) { throw err; }
      migration.on("complete", function(){
      migration.on("already-run", function(){

    Having written this complete script, you can now run the script using the standard node command line to execute the file.

    node migrations/sample-12-29-2014-10-59-03-am.js

    This will run the migration's load, steps and the remove processes. Running this migration 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 Mongrate.MigrationModel.find method
    2. Examine the _mongrateMigrations collection directly

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

    var Mongrate = require("mongrate");
    Mongrate.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 _mongrateMigrations 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

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

    You may distribute and use Mongrate under the MIT License.


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