Dear User Couch,

A project I work on is trying out couch and it's proving super so far so thanks a lot for that. I wonder whether you could provide some advice on one particular feature that we haven't figured out yet? It's such a basic requirement that I'm pretty sure there's something that we're just not getting - I know I'm a lot more used to thinking in SQL than map/reduce.

Suppose we buy an sell an awful lot of fruit, mostly apples and oranges but sometimes bananas, pears and anything else that shoppers want. We take a feed (from another system) of every trade and load them all into couch as we go along, then define a view to aggregate them up by various different aspects of the sale. We can control the grouping level to produce many different reports out the same view and it works very well for us. Some of the attributes on the trades documents are not on the original feed so we enrich the data before PUTting them in couch. This is also fine.

Unfortunately, sometimes the enrichment changes. For example each trade has a fruit field and we have a mapping from fruit to fruit type. Today apples, oranges and pears are classified as round fruit whereas bananas are long fruit so we can put a fruit type field on the document as we load it in but tomorrow that classification might change and pears might become lumpy fruit instead of round fruit. We could go back and update every pear trade in the database but we'd rather not have fruit type on the document at all and maintain a separate mapping "table".

We thought that perhaps the map function could reference another database that was keyed on fruit and had documents containing the fruit type but don't seem to be able to perform this lookup in the mapping. We could get the document itself on the result but not extract just one field to augment the original documents. We also considered generating the view's design dynamically out of a mapping table and replicating the mapping into explicit logic in the javascript but this seemed like an abuse.

In short, how would you implement a pre-aggregation lookup table?

Thanks,

Matt