Design Documents

Design documents are a special CouchDB document. This documents do not contain data but functions.

These documents have an identifier starting with _design/. Some examples of design documents are:

  • Views a.k.a. map / reduce functions.
  • Validation functions,
  • Show functions,
  • and List transforms.

Other than the fact that these functions are executed inside CouchDB, they are stored in a very similar way to other documents: they have identifiers and revisions and these need to be managed properly.

Storing Design Documents.

In the following piece of code, I am going to show how to store and update a view.

    DesignDocument doc = new DesignDocument("my_views");
    String mapFn = "function(doc) { if (doc.even == 'yes' &&  doc.value < 10) { emit(, doc._id); }";
    // Check if the documents exists...
    try {
        DesignDocument old = db.getDesignDocument(doc.getId());
    } catch (NotFoundException e) {
        // Do nothing, it is enough knowing that it does not exist
    View view = new View();
    doc.addView(name, view);

First thing to note, is that views are stored with an identifier equal to _design/XXX where XXX is something that you choose. In my case I define it equal to my_views so, I create a new DesignDocument with my_views as argument.

Then, it is important to note that since design documents have identifiers and revision, we should check if the design document already exists before trying to add a new view. We do it directly trying to get the document with identifier _design/my_views, if it does not exist we get an exception (but that’s ok since I catch it!). If already exists a document with the same identifier, we copy the revision (doc.setRevision(old.getRevision())) and copy already existing views (doc.setViews(old.getViews())).

Finally, we create a new View object, assign the map function that is defined as a String and then add this view to the current document (addView(name, view)).

Last sentence (createOrUpdateDocument(doc)) is the same shown in previous posts.

NOTE: You might store multiple views with the same identifier. They are stored in the design document inside views field with the name that you provide as argument in addView call. In the following capture we can see that we have two views stored under the same identifier _design/my_views (they are part of the same document): the first lists documents with a value even and less than 10 while the second view lists all that are less than 10 (even and odd).



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