RavenDB & CouchDB - Basic Queries

Published on 2010-6-2

Previous entries in the series

Once you have a number of documents in the database, you soon want to do more complex operations than simply retrieving a list of them.

Consider therefore the following and rather over-used example document:

   1:  {
   2:      title: "Another blog entry",
   3:      content: 'blah blah blah',
   4:      category: 'code',
   5:      author: 'robashton'
   6:  }

Our example query would be to get all of the documents from the database that were written by a particular author AND in a certain category.

Obviously querying all the blogs written by a single author, or all the blogs in a certain category would be fairly expected queries too.

Indexes in RavenDB

In order to perform any queries whatsoever in RavenDB, we first need to create an index.

   1:  from doc in docs
   2:  select new {
   3:       doc.author,
   4:       doc.category
   5:  };

This is effectively a map function written as a LINQ query which returns a single value, an object that is a map of the values to be indexed.

Get all the documents by author and category

indexes/entriesByAuthorAndCategory?query=category:tech AND author:robashton

Get all the documents by category


Get all the documents by author


Those queries will return a list of whole documents which match the queries passed in.

Indexes in CouchDB

The same goes for CouchDB, only map functions in CouchDB have two outputs, and are written in JavaScript.

   1:  function(doc) {
   2:    emit([doc.category, doc.author], doc);
   3:  }

Return values are specified by calling emit, and emit can be called more than once for each document, thus multiple keys can be created for each document with a single map function. The first parameter in Emit is the “key” to be searched on, and the second parameter is the data associated with that key (in this case, the document).

Get all the documents by author and category


Get all the documents by category


Get all the documents by author

Ah. This suddenly a bit more complicated. I’ve not actually managed to come to a convenient solution, as far as I can understand from the docs, if you want to query specific fields within the key, you have to submit a POST request containing a JSON document with the fields you wish to search.

So it’s either that or create specific indexes for the queries you wish to perform. Performance-wise this is probably optimal but I don’t actually know for sure.

Paging in RavenDB

Paging in RavenDB is as simple as appending a start + pageSize to the query string


This will perform the query across the entire index and only retrieve the documents requested, this is an operation with trivial expense.

Paging in CouchDB

In CouchDb, a similar query string can be used, using “skip” and “count parameters, but these are considered expensive and instead to perform paging you should:


This really is just a whistle-stop of some basic functionality in these two systems, although it does highlight some fairly major differences in basic functionality between them.

Next up some more advanced functionality will be covered, going over the differences between writing reduce functions in the two

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