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Mongoid::Lookup

Mongoid::Lookup is an extension for the Mongoid ODM providing support for cross-model document lookups. It has a broad range of applications including versatile app-wide search. Mongoid::Lookup leverages Mongoid's polymorphism support to provide intuitive filtering by model.

Simple Lookup

An ideal use for Mongoid::Lookup is cross-model search, i.e. the Facebook search box which returns Users, Groups, Pages, Topics, etc.

To begin, define a collection to use as a root for your lookup:

require 'mongoid_lookup'

class SearchListing
  include Mongoid::Document
  include Mongoid::Lookup

  lookup_collection

  field :label, type: String
end

Next, for each model you'd like to reference in the SearchListing collection, add a has_lookup relationship:

class User
  include Mongoid::Document
  include Mongoid::Lookup

  has_lookup :search, collection: SearchListing, map: { label: :full_name }

  field :full_name, type: String
end

has_lookup does more than just add a relation to SearchListing. It actually creates a new model extending SearchListing, which you can access by passing the name of the relation to the lookup method:

User.lookup(:search) #=> User::SearchReference
User::SearchReference.superclass #=> SearchListing

Mongoid::Lookup will now maintain a reference document through the User#search_reference relation. The :map option matches fields in User::SearchReference to fields in User. User::SearchReference#label will be User#full_name. Whenever the user changes its name, its #search_reference will be updated:

user = User.create(full_name: 'John Doe')
user.search_reference #=> #<User::SearchReference label: "John Doe">
user.update_attributes(full_name: "Jack Doe")
user.search_reference.reload #=> #<User::SearchReference label: "Jack Doe">

The lookup collection won't be particularly useful, though, until you add more models:

class Group
  include Mongoid::Document
  include Mongoid::Lookup
  has_lookup :search, collection: SearchListing, map: { label: :name }
  field :name, type: String
end

class Page
  include Mongoid::Document
  include Mongoid::Lookup
  has_lookup :search, collection: SearchListing, map: { label: :title }
  field :title, type: String
end

References in the lookup collection relate back to the source document, referenced:

User.create(full_name: 'John Doe')
listing = SearchListing.all.first
listing.referenced #=> #<User _id: 4f418f237742b50df7000001, _type: "User", name: "John Doe">

Now, you can add whatever functionality desired to your lookup collection. In our example, we'd like to implement cross-model search:

class SearchListing
  scope :label_like, ->(query) { where(label: Regexp.new(/#{query}/i)) }
end

SearchListing.label_like("J")
#=> [ #<User::SearchReference label: "J User">, <Group::SearchReference label: "J Group">, <Page::SearchReference label: "J Page">  ]

Advanced Lookup

Building on the simple search example, suppose you have a structured tagging system:

class Tag
  include Mongoid::Document
end
class Person < Tag; end
class Topic < Tag; end
class Place < Tag; end
class City < Place; end
class Region < Place; end
class Country < Place; end

Sometimes you'll want results across all models (User, Group, Page, Tag) but at other times you may only be interested in Tags, or even just Places. Mongoid makes type filtering easy, and Mongoid::Lookup leverages this feature.

Begin by defining a lookup on your parent class:

class Tag
  include Mongoid::Lookup
  has_lookup :search, collection: SearchListing, map: { label: :name }
  field :name, type: String
end

Mongoid::Lookup allows you to directly query just for tags:

Tag.lookup(:search).label_like("B")
#=> [ #<Topic::SearchReference label: "Business">, <Person::SearchReference label: "Barack Obama">, <City::SearchReference label: "Boston">  ] 

Alternatively, you can access the model by its constant, which has been named according to the key "#{name.to_s.classify}Reference":

Tag::SearchReference.label_like(query)

has_lookup :screen_name would generate a reference model Tag::ScreenNameReference:

Lookup Inheritance

What if you're only interested in Places?

Your Place model can define its own lookup. Use the inherit: true option in any child class to create a finer grained lookup:

class Place < Tag
  has_lookup :search, inherit: true
end

The new lookup will inherit the configuration of Tag's :search lookup. Now you can query Place references only, as needed:

Place.lookup(:search).label_like("C")
#=> [ #<Country::SearchReference label: "Canada">, <Region::SearchReference label: "California">, <City::SearchReference label: "Carson City">  ] 

or

Place::SearchReference.label_like("C")

This does not effect SearchListing or Tag::SearchReference. Mongoid knows hows to limit the query.

Extending Lookup Reference Models

If you would like your lookup references to maintain more data from your source model, add the desired fields to the lookup collection:

class SearchListing
  field :alias, type: String
end

Now update your :map option in your lookup declarations:

class User
  has_lookup :search, collection: SearchListing, map: { label: :full_name, alias: :nickname }
  field :full_name, type: String
  field :nickname, type: String
end

The #search_reference will be updated whenever #full_name or #nickname are changed.

If you would like to include fields that only pertain to certain models, pass a block to your has_lookup call. It will be evaluated in the context of the reference class. The following:

class Place < Tag

  has_lookup :search, inherit: true, map: { population: :population } do
    # this block is evaluated 
    # in Place::SearchReference
    field :population, type: Integer
  end

  field :population, type: Integer
end

...adds a Place::SearchReference#population field and maps it to Place#population. This additional field and mapping will only exist to Place and its child classes.

Anytime that you define a lookup, the parent configurations (fields and mappings) will be inherited, and the new ones added:

class City < Place

  has_lookup :search, inherit: true, map: { code: :zipcode } do
    # this block is evaluated 
    # in City::SearchReference
    field :code, type: Integer
  end

  field :zipcode, type: Integer
end

City::SearchReference will maintain #label, #population, and #code, as per mappings given in Tag, Place, and City.

The ability to subclass lookup references allows for some flexibility. For instance, if you'd like search references to provide a #summary method:

class SearchListing
  lookup_collection

  def summary
    referenced_type.name
  end
end

class Place < Tag
  has_lookup :search, inherit: true, map: { population: :population } do
    field :population, type: Integer

    def summary
      super + " of population #{population}"
    end
  end
end

Topic.create(title: "Politics")
City.create(name: 'New York City', population: 8125497)

SearchListing.all.each do |listing|
  puts "#{listing.label} + (#{listing.summary})"
end

#=> "Politics (Topic)"
#=> "New York City (City of population 8125497)"

Notes

Presumably, write heavy fields aren't great candidates for lookup. Every time the field changes, the lookup reference will have to be updated.

The update currently takes place in a before_save callback. If performance were a concern, the hook could instead create a delayed job to update the lookup (not currently supported).

Authors

License

Copyright (c) 2012 Jeff Magee

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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