How can I discover a mongo database's structure

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I have a Mongo database that I did not create or architect, is there a good way to introspect the db or print out what the structure is to start to get a handle on what types of data are being stored, how the data types are nested, etc?

Just query the database by running the following commands in the mongo shell:

use mydb //this switches to the database you want to query
show collections //this command will list all collections in the database
db.collectionName.find().pretty() //this will show all documents in the database in a readable format; do the same for each collection in the database

You should then be able to examine the document structure.

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This will print name and its type

var schematodo = db.collection_name.findOne()
for (var key in schematodo) { print (key, typeof key) ; }

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I would recommend limiting the result set rather than issuing an unrestricted find command.

use mydb
var z = db.collectionName.find().limit(10)

This will help you being to understand your database structure or lack thereof.

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This is an open-source tool that I, along with my friend, have created -

It is a Python library with a pretty simple usage. You can try it out (even contribute).

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  • What if some documents are different to others? That method won't show ALL fields or the entire structure stored.
  • @Sammaye you're will need a script to reach into all docs and compare all keys then print a tree structure is probably a good visual way to show the whole structure and make it digestible
  • @Sammaye @ssbrewster :You can use this script to get the structure for your collection. Let me know if it is helpful. mongo mongo-struc.js > struc.json
  • The script uses typeof function. It retrives js types and not BSON types.
  • New URL, and it has been recently updated as of today 2014-10-14. Variety, a Schema Analyzer for MongoDB. Very helpful!
  • The only problem is that there is no way the say that the number you get back represents the database structure, you could have 1000001 records and limit on 1000000 of them but miss the existing field in the last document because the other 1000000 dont have it
  • I agree with you there. However for a quick and dirty it might suffice. I know of many use cases where mongo is used as a semi structured data store similar to traditional RDMS. In the other case this technique will not give the full structure but it can at least provide something quick. I have used the variety tool and like it a lot for a comprehensive schema analysis.
  • True and there is a tool out there somewhere, forgot its name, that actually takes 10 queries of limited 10 queries in an attempt to create a performant schema analyzer.