6. MongoDB repositories

6.1 Introduction

This chapter will point out the specialties for repository support for MongoDB. This builds on the core repository support explained in Chapter 4, Working with Spring Data Repositories. So make sure you've got a sound understanding of the basic concepts explained there.

6.2 Usage

To access domain entities stored in a MongoDB you can leverage our sophisticated repository support that eases implementing those quite significantly. To do so, simply create an interface for your repository:

Example 6.1. Sample Person entity

public class Person {

  private String id;
  private String firstname;
  private String lastname;
  private Address address;

  // … getters and setters omitted

We have a quite simple domain object here. Note that it has a property named id of typeObjectId. The default serialization mechanism used in MongoTemplate (which is backing the repository support) regards properties named id as document id. Currently we supportString, ObjectId and BigInteger as id-types.

Example 6.2. Basic repository interface to persist Person entities

public interface PersonRepository extends PagingAndSortingRepository<Person, Long> {

  // additional custom finder methods go here

Right now this interface simply serves typing purposes but we will add additional methods to it later. In your Spring configuration simply add

Example 6.3. General MongoDB repository Spring configuration

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"

  <mongo:mongo id="mongo" />
  <bean id="mongoTemplate" class="org.springframework.data.mongodb.core.MongoTemplate">
    <constructor-arg ref="mongo" />
    <constructor-arg value="databaseName" />

  <mongo:repositories base-package="com.acme.*.repositories" />


This namespace element will cause the base packages to be scanned for interfaces extending MongoRepository and create Spring beans for each of them found. By default the repositories will get a MongoTemplate Spring bean wired that is called mongoTemplate, so you only need to configure mongo-template-ref explicitly if you deviate from this convention.

If you'd rather like to go with JavaConfig use the @EnableMongoRepositories annotation. The annotation carries the very same attributes like the namespace element. If no base package is configured the infrastructure will scan the package of the annotated configuration class.

Example 6.4. JavaConfig for repositories

class ApplicationConfig extends AbstractMongoConfiguration {

  protected String getDatabaseName() {
    return "e-store";

  public Mongo mongo() throws Exception {
    return new Mongo();

  protected String getMappingBasePackage() {
    return "com.oreilly.springdata.mongodb"

As our domain repository extends PagingAndSortingRepository it provides you with CRUD operations as well as methods for paginated and sorted access to the entities. Working with the repository instance is just a matter of dependency injecting it into a client. So accessing the second page of Persons at a page size of 10 would simply look something like this:

Example 6.5. Paging access to Person entities

public class PersonRepositoryTests {

    @Autowired PersonRepository repository;

    public void readsFirstPageCorrectly() {

      Page<Person> persons = repository.findAll(new PageRequest(0, 10));
      assertThat(persons.isFirstPage(), is(true));

The sample creates an application context with Spring's unit test support which will perform annotation based dependency injection into test cases. Inside the test method we simply use the repository to query the datastore. We hand the repository a PageRequest instance that requests the first page of persons at a page size of 10.

6.3 Query methods

Most of the data access operations you usually trigger on a repository result a query being executed against the MongoDB databases. Defining such a query is just a matter of declaring a method on the repository interface

Example 6.6. PersonRepository with query methods

public interface PersonRepository extends PagingAndSortingRepository<Person, String> {

    List<Person> findByLastname(String lastname);

    Page<Person> findByFirstname(String firstname, Pageable pageable);

    Person findByShippingAddresses(Address address);


The first method shows a query for all people with the given lastname. The query will be derived parsing the method name for constraints which can be concatenated with And and Or. Thus the method name will result in a query expression of{"lastname" : lastname}. The second example shows how pagination is applied to a query. Just equip your method signature with a Pageable parameter and let the method return a Page instance and we will automatically page the query accordingly. The third examples shows that you can query based on properties which are not a primitive type.


Note that for version 1.0 we currently don't support referring to parameters that are mapped as DBRef in the domain class.

Table 6.1. Supported keywords for query methods

KeywordSampleLogical result
GreaterThanfindByAgeGreaterThan(int age){"age" : {"$gt" : age}}
LessThanfindByAgeLessThan(int age){"age" : {"$lt" : age}}
BetweenfindByAgeBetween(int from, int to){"age" : {"$gt" : from, "$lt" : to}}
IsNotNull, NotNullfindByFirstnameNotNull(){"age" : {"$ne" : null}}
IsNull, NullfindByFirstnameNull(){"age" : null}
LikefindByFirstnameLike(String name){"age" : age} ( age as regex)
RegexfindByFirstnameRegex(String firstname){"firstname" : {"$regex" : firstname }}
(No keyword)findByFirstname(String name){"age" : name}
NotfindByFirstnameNot(String name){"age" : {"$ne" : name}}
NearfindByLocationNear(Point point){"location" : {"$near" : [x,y]}}
WithinfindByLocationWithin(Circle circle){"location" : {"$within" : {"$center" : [ [x, y], distance]}}}
WithinfindByLocationWithin(Box box){"location" : {"$within" : {"$box" : [ [x1, y1], x2, y2]}}}True
IsTrue, TruefindByActiveIsTrue(){"active" : true}
IsFalse, FalsefindByActiveIsFalse(){"active" : false}
ExistsfindByLocationExists(boolean exists){"location" : {"$exists" : exists }}

6.3.1 Geo-spatial repository queries

As you've just seen there are a few keywords triggering geo-spatial operations within a MongoDB query. The Near keyword allows some further modification. Let's have look at some examples:

Example 6.7. Advanced Near queries

public interface PersonRepository extends MongoRepository<Person, String>

  // { 'location' : { '$near' : [point.x, point.y], '$maxDistance' : distance}}
  List<Person> findByLocationNear(Point location, Distance distance);

Adding a Distance parameter to the query method allows restricting results to those within the given distance. If the Distance was set up containing a Metric we will transparently use $nearSphere instead of $code.

Example 6.8. Using Distance with Metrics

Point point = new Point(43.7, 48.8);
Distance distance = new Distance(200, Metrics.KILOMETERS);
… = repository.findByLocationNear(point, distance);
// {'location' : {'$nearSphere' : [43.7, 48.8], '$maxDistance' : 0.03135711885774796}}

As you can see using a Distance equipped with a Metric causes $nearSphere clause to be added instead of a plain $near. Beyond that the actual distance gets calculated according to the Metrics used.

Geo-near queries

public interface PersonRepository extends MongoRepository<Person, String>

  // {'geoNear' : 'location', 'near' : [x, y] }
  GeoResults<Person> findByLocationNear(Point location);

  // No metric: {'geoNear' : 'person', 'near' : [x, y], maxDistance : distance }
  // Metric: {'geoNear' : 'person', 'near' : [x, y], 'maxDistance' : distance, 
  //          'distanceMultiplier' : metric.multiplier, 'spherical' : true }
  GeoResults<Person> findByLocationNear(Point location, Distance distance);

  // {'geoNear' : 'location', 'near' : [x, y] }
  GeoResults<Person> findByLocationNear(Point location);

6.3.2 MongoDB JSON based query methods and field restriction

By adding the annotation org.springframework.data.mongodb.repository.Query repository finder methods you can specify a MongoDB JSON query string to use instead of having the query derived from the method name. For example

public interface PersonRepository extends MongoRepository<Person, String>

  @Query("{ 'firstname' : ?0 }")
  List<Person> findByThePersonsFirstname(String firstname);


The placeholder ?0 lets you substitute the value from the method arguments into the JSON query string.

You can also use the filter property to restrict the set of properties that will be mapped into the Java object. For example,

public interface PersonRepository extends MongoRepository<Person, String>

  @Query(value="{ 'firstname' : ?0 }", fields="{ 'firstname' : 1, 'lastname' : 1}")
  List<Person> findByThePersonsFirstname(String firstname);


This will return only the firstname, lastname and Id properties of the Person objects. The age property, a java.lang.Integer, will not be set and its value will therefore be null.

6.3.3 Type-safe Query methods

MongoDB repository support integrates with the QueryDSL project which provides a means to perform type-safe queries in Java. To quote from the project description, "Instead of writing queries as inline strings or externalizing them into XML files they are constructed via a fluent API." It provides the following features

  • Code completion in IDE (all properties, methods and operations can be expanded in your favorite Java IDE)

  • Almost no syntactically invalid queries allowed (type-safe on all levels)

  • Domain types and properties can be referenced safely (no Strings involved!)

  • Adopts better to refactoring changes in domain types

  • Incremental query definition is easier

Please refer to the QueryDSL documentation which describes how to bootstrap your environment for APT based code generation using Maven or using Ant.

Using QueryDSL you will be able to write queries as shown below

QPerson person = new QPerson("person");
List<Person> result = repository.findAll(person.address.zipCode.eq("C0123"));

Page<Person> page = repository.findAll(person.lastname.contains("a"), 
                                       new PageRequest(0, 2, Direction.ASC, "lastname"));

QPerson is a class that is generated (via the Java annotation post processing tool) which is a Predicate that allows you to write type safe queries. Notice that there are no strings in the query other than the value "C0123".

You can use the generated Predicate class via the interface QueryDslPredicateExecutor which is shown below

public interface QueryDslPredicateExecutor<T> {

  T findOne(Predicate predicate);

  List<T> findAll(Predicate predicate);

  List<T> findAll(Predicate predicate, OrderSpecifier<?>... orders);

  Page<T> findAll(Predicate predicate, Pageable pageable);

  Long count(Predicate predicate);

To use this in your repository implementation, simply inherit from it in additiion to other repository interfaces. This is shown below

public interface PersonRepository extends MongoRepository<Person, String>, QueryDslPredicateExecutor<Person> {

   // additional finder methods go here


We think you will find this an extremely powerful tool for writing MongoDB queries.