Manual References vs DBRef

Greetings fine community,

I have been reading about references and recently read the documentation Database References but it is still not so clear to me the differences.

To avoid data duplication, I would like to reference a field from a document in a specific collection; a classic one-to-many relationship in the SQL world.

It appears that the best way to somewhat replicate “relationships” is to use DBRef. Am I right in my understanding? Also, a document in a collection needs to have more than one reference from documents in different collections. Based on the documentation, it seems that for this scenario DBRef is the way to go.

Is my understanding accurate?


Hi @An_Infinite_Loop ,

Personally, I would not recommend using DBRef unless your use case specifically needs it. While DBRef (Database References) is one way to establish relationships between documents, it’s important to understand how it works and its limitations. As written in this Database References

Unless you have a compelling reason to use DBRefs, use manual references instead.

To resolve DBRefs, your application must perform additional queries to return the referenced documents.

In summary, your understanding is accurate. DBRef is a way to create relationships between documents in different collections in MongoDB and is suitable for classic one-to-many relationships. However, you should also consider the potential performance implications and whether denormalization or embedding might be more suitable for your specific use case, depending on your read and write patterns.

Additionally, I would recommend you to go through below resources to understand more about Data Modeling, Design and Patterns. This will help you design your schema in a way which will provide better performance and flexibility as per your application requirements.

Let me know in case you have any more queries regarding this, would be happy to help you! :slight_smile:


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