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Getting Started With Spring Data and MongoDB

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Getting Started With Spring Data and MongoDB

Get a nice introduction on the basics of working with MongoDB with Spring Data and Java so that you can perform CRUD operations without writing proper code.

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In this post, we will have a look at some of the basics of using Spring Data and MongoDB.

Firstly, what is MongoDB? It is a NoSQL database that uses JSON-like documents that allow fields to vary between documents and have the data structure change over time. A document model maps to an object that is defined within our code (we will be using Spring Data to do this). That is only a very short and minimalist view of what MongoDB is, but for the scope of this post, it should be enough information, as we will focus on implementation rather than it’s definition.

What is Spring Data? It is a project that encompasses many subprojects that are implemented to work with specific databases. As mentioned earlier, we will be using MongoDB and therefore will want to use the MongoDB specific sub-project.

In this post, we will be using Spring Boot to get everything up and running nice and quickly and therefore we will require the following dependency (assuming you are using Maven), which contains the spring-boot-starter and spring-data-mongodb dependencies among other things.


If you do not want to use Spring Boot or spring-boot-starter-data-mongodb, then you will require the spring-data-mongodb dependency at the very least.


The full pom.xml file can be found here. Have a look at Spring Boot’s guide on setting up a Spring Boot application from scratch.

A little bit more configuration is required if you haven’t used MongoDB before, as you will need to set up a local database, which (after following the instructions on the MongoDB website) did not take long to do and was pretty straight forward. Follow this link for more information.

Now that all the configuration is complete, we can begin implementing a very basic Spring application so we can focus on how to use Spring Data with MongoDB.

The first thing we will need is an object that will represent some data that we want to keep inside a database. This requires very little code and I was very surprised how few annotations were actually required to get this working. Also, I used Lombok in this class to save me writing some extra code; see my previous post on being lazy with Lombok for more information.

@Getter @Setter @ToString(exclude = {
 }) public class Person {
  @Id private String id;
  // not annotated as it is assumed that they will be mapped		  // onto db fields that have the same name as the properties		  private String firstName;		  private String secondName;		  private LocalDateTime dateOfBirth;		  private String profession;		  private int salary;		
  public Person(final String firstName, final String secondName, final LocalDateTime dateOfBirth, final String profession, final int salary) {
    this.firstName = firstName;
    this.secondName = secondName;
    this.dateOfBirth = dateOfBirth;
    this.profession = profession;
    this.salary = salary;
   // Lombok adds the getters, setters and toString		}

The only actual Spring Data annotation in this class is the @Id annotation that represents the unique Id of the object which maps to _id and is generated when it is persisted to the database. The annotation can also be left off if the field is named id or _id. Therefore, in the example above, the annotation is not necessary. If the annotation or a correctly named property is not included when persisted, an _id field will be created when saved as MongoDB requires the field to be populated. The other properties are left without annotations and when persisting or saving to the database it is assumed that they will map to fields that share the same name within the database.

The next step is creating a repository that will perform all the database operations to do with the Person object. Spring Data injects some magic into this step leaving barely anything for us to actually do.

public interface PersonRepository extends MongoRepository < Person, String > {

  List < Person > findBySalary(final int salary);


The interface extends the MongoRepository, which provides plenty of CRUD methods and a few extras to get us going quickly. On this interface , nly one actual definition has been added, but obviously, more could be added when required. So, where does this magic that I mentioned earlier come in? Well, normally, we would need to create a implementation of the interface that was just created but instead Spring will create this for us when the application is started. OK, but what about the method that we just defined on the interface surely that needs to know what it’s doing?

By using the name of the definition, Spring infers the implementation; therefore, findBySalary will find Person objects stored in the database by salarygetBySalary could also be used. To execute these queries, Spring Data uses the MongoTemplate.

Now, to tie all the code together and to show it in action, we need to create the main application that has the @SpringBootApplication annotation. In this example, the class has implemented CommandLineRunner as a convenient way to quickly show the output of some of the repositories methods.

@SpringBootApplication // needed because the repository is not in the same package or a sub package of the SpringBootApplication		@EnableMongoRepositories(basePackageClasses = PersonRepository.class)		public class Application implements CommandLineRunner {		
@Autowired private PersonRepository personRepository;
public static void main(final String args[]) {
 SpringApplication.run(Application.class, args);
@Override public void run(String...strings) throws Exception {
 final Person john = new Person("John", "Doe", LocalDateTime.now(), "Winner", 100);
 final Person joe = new Person("Joe", "Blogs", LocalDateTime.now(), "Loser", 50);
 System.out.println("Find all");
 System.out.println("Find by findBySalary");
 System.out.println("Making John a loser");
 System.out.println("Find all");

There isn’t actually very much to explain here, as it is really just a way to show some of the repository methods in action. But one important thing to notice is the @EnableMongoRepositories annotation, which is required as the PersonRepository is not found in the same package or sub-package as the @SpringBootApplication class. Therefore, the annotation is necessary to specify that the repository should be injected into the application. If the repository was moved into the same package as the application, then the basePackageClassesproperty could be removed from the @EnableMongoRepositories annotation, or it could even be taken out altogether.

When the application is run, the following output is produced (I ignored the id and dateOfBirth properties as they were long and messy):

Find all
Person(firstName=John, secondName=Doe, profession=Winner, salary=100)
Person(firstName=Joe, secondName=Blogs, profession=Loser, salary=50)
Find by getBySalary
Person(firstName=John, secondName=Doe, profession=Winner, salary=100)
Making John a loser
Find all
Person(firstName=John, secondName=Doe, profession=Loser, salary=100)
Person(firstName=Joe, secondName=Blogs, profession=Loser, salary=50)

Which leaves the following data persisted in the database.

 "_id" : ObjectId("592071e667c5852be43d20e8"),
 "_class" : "lankydan.tutorial.mongodb.entities.Person",
 "firstName" : "John",
 "secondName" : "Doe",
 "dateOfBirth" : ISODate("2017-05-20T17:42:14.629+01:00"),
 "profession" : "Loser",
 "salary" : 100

 "_id" : ObjectId("592071e667c5852be43d20e9"),
 "_class" : "lankydan.tutorial.mongodb.entities.Person",
 "firstName" : "Joe",
 "secondName" : "Blogs",
 "dateOfBirth" : ISODate("2017-05-20T17:42:14.632+01:00"),
 "profession" : "Loser",
 "salary" : 50

So there we have it — a quick tutorial on using Spring Data and MongoDB that allows us to easily implement some basic functionality that can perform CRUD operations without really writing any proper code.

If you want to play around with the code, it can be found on my GitHub.

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