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From "Paul Davis" <>
Subject Re: newbie question #1
Date Sun, 28 Dec 2008 14:00:53 GMT
On Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 8:47 AM, Geir Magnusson Jr. <> wrote:
> On Dec 28, 2008, at 8:26 AM, Paul Davis wrote:
>> On Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 8:12 AM, Geir Magnusson Jr. <>
>> wrote:
> [SNIP]
>> Also check out for related blog posts. I
>> also find a google alert for CouchDB to be pretty useful.
> Thanks
>>> First newbie question :
>>> Looking at, I understand
>>> that _id and _rev are reserved fields in the document**.  Now, looking at
>>> the _all_docs example, I see I get back a list of docs :
>>> {
>>> "total_rows": 3, "offset": 0, "rows": [
>>>  {"id": "doc1", "key": "doc1", "value": {"rev": "4324BB"}},
>>>  {"id": "doc2", "key": "doc2", "value": {"rev":"2441HF"}},
>>>  {"id": "doc3", "key": "doc3", "value": {"rev":"74EC24"}}
>>> ]
>>> }
>>> what is "id"?  is that supposed to be "_id"?  what is "key"?  I see that
>>> in
>>> futon as well - how does it relate to "_id" or "id" for that matter?
>>>  Also,
>>> I assume that "rev" is the "_rev" of the document.  Why not make it
>>> "_rev"?
>>> I'm guessing that "id" is "_id", as I can see similar things in the PUT
>>> example, but I guess then the question changes to why not just be
>>> consistent
>>> and use "_id" everywhere, especially since I'm allowed to use "id" in my
>>> document?
>>> I'm sorry if this is a stupid question - I just don't understand.  I'm
>>> happy
>>> to update the wiki when I understand :)
>> You're pretty much spot on here. "id" and "key" both refer to the
>> "_id" field in a document. And the "rev" does indeed refer to the
>> "_rev" attribute. Why "id" and "rev" are used instead of "_id" and
>> "_rev" I couldn't really tell you. I hate to say "historical reasons"
>> but I'm guessing that when Damien designed the view output he just
>> labeled then "id" and "rev" without the underscore because it's not
>> needed to distinguish from the rest of the doc.
> Ok, cool.  So... can key be something else?  Or should I assume that "key"
> is a synonym for "_id"?

Its a bit misleading because you chose _all_docs as the first view you
looked at. Really _all_docs is a special internal view that CouchDB
provides. When you get to defining your own views, you learn that
views are created by emit'ing key/value pairs that are arbitrary JSON
objects (no _id/_rev complaints even). So yes, key can be whatever you
want when defining a custom view.

> [SNIP]
>>> {
>>>   _id : whatever
>>>   _rev : whatever
>>>   doc : { ..... the full user document that can have _id, _rev and
>>> whatever....}
>>> }
>> Like Noah says, reserving underscore prefixed fields as private to
>> CouchDB doesn't make it not JSON. I'd argue that putting the document
>> stuff inside a doc member would probably be a annoyance in that every
>> operation on the doc would require instead of just
> I certainly understand that there are tradeoffs.  We do the same thing at
> 10gen - modify the user's document for storage.  Some random thoughts :
> 1) doing an insert requires that the user document be deserialized (maybe
> only partially?), the additional fields inserted, and then re-serialized for
> storage.  Have a metadata envelope means that the user document keyspace and
> the server's metadata keyspace are totally decoupled.

I fail to see how these two points are related, but at the moment
partial de/serialization is not done in CouchDB. Its been discussed
(extensively) and has been more or less put on hold until there is a
JSON community supported diff format. Though, come to think of it,
that'll still require a full de/serialization round trip.

> 2) It prevents, or at least makes harder, any document security - any hash
> function would have to account for the fact that there may be external keys
> injected into the document ("_*").  This is doable, but now makes your code
> - which was handling "generic JSON" - now have to know that it's working w/
> a couchdb store....

I don't follow.

> 3) the problem - Is that really a problem?  I haven't worked w/
> couch yet to understand the common access patterns, but it seems that the
> different calls to the rest API return things of different "shape" anyway...
>  if you are accessing by document id, you could just get the user doc back,
> and it seems that other queries return metadata anyway (e.g. _all_docs) so
> people must be used to pulling the user doc out of the framing data....  You
> could solve the issue in MR easily as well.

Its not a *problem* it'd just annoy me to have to type
instead of

> Anyway, I don't want this to distract :)  It's just a subject I'm interested
> in, as it's a personal pet peeve...
> geir
>> HTH,
>> Paul Davis

Apologies if I seem confused. I haven't been to sleep since a long time ago.

Paul Davis

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