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Relationships - C++ SDK

On this page

  • Relationship Types
  • To-One Relationship
  • To-Many Relationship
  • Inverse Relationship
  • Declare Relationship Properties
  • Define a To-One Relationship
  • Define a To-Many Relationship
  • Define an Inverse Relationship

Realm doesn't use bridge tables or explicit joins to define relationships as you would in a relational database. Realm handles relationships through embedded objects or reference properties to other Realm objects. You read from and write to these properties directly. This makes querying relationships as performant as querying against any other property.

Realm supports to-one, to-many, and inverse relationships. Realm also provides a special type of object, called an embedded object, that is conceptually similar to a relationship but provides additional constraints.

A to-one relationship means that an object relates to one other object. You define a to-one relationship for an object type in its object model. Specify a property where the type is the related Realm object type. For example, a dog might have a to-one relationship with a favorite toy.

A to-many relationship means that an object relates to more than one other object. In Realm, a to-many relationship is a list of references to other objects. For example, a person might have many dogs.

You can represent a to-many relationship between two Realm types as a list, map, or a set. Lists, maps, and sets are mutable: within a write transaction, you can add and remove elements to and from these collection types. Lists, maps, and sets are not associated with a query and are declared as a property of the object model.

Relationship definitions in Realm are unidirectional. An inverse relationship links an object back to an object that refers to it.

An inverse relationship property is an automatic backlink relationship. Realm automatically updates implicit relationships whenever an object is added or removed in a corresponding to-many list or to-one relationship property. You cannot manually set the value of an inverse relationship property.


See also:

Alternatively, you can define your relationships in your App Services app.

A to-one relationship maps one property to a single instance of another object type. For example, you can model a dog having at most one favorite toy as a to-one relationship.

Setting a relationship field to null removes the connection between objects. Realm does not delete the referenced object, though, unless it is an embedded object.


To-one relationships must be optional

When you declare a to-one relationship in your object model, it must be an optional property. If you try to make a to-one relationship required, Realm throws an exception at runtime.

struct FavoriteToy {
realm::primary_key<realm::uuid> _id;
std::string name;
REALM_SCHEMA(FavoriteToy, _id, name)
struct Dog {
realm::primary_key<realm::uuid> _id;
std::string name;
int64_t age;
// Define a relationship as a link to another SDK object
FavoriteToy* favoriteToy;
REALM_SCHEMA(Dog, _id, name, age, favoriteToy)

A to-many relationship maps one property to zero or more instances of another object type. For example, you can model a company having any number of employees as a to-many relationship.

struct Company {
int64_t _id;
std::string name;
// To-many relationships are a list, represented here as a
// vector container whose value type is the SDK object
// type that the list field links to.
std::vector<Employee*> employees;
REALM_SCHEMA(Company, _id, name, employees)

To define an inverse relationship, use linking_objects in your object model. The linking_objects definition specifies the object type and property name of the relationship that it inverts.

In this example, we define a Person having a to-one relationship with a Dog. The Dog has an inverse relationship to any Person objects through its owners property.

struct Dog;
struct Person {
realm::primary_key<int64_t> _id;
std::string name;
int64_t age = 0;
Dog* dog;
REALM_SCHEMA(Person, _id, name, age, dog)
struct Dog {
realm::primary_key<int64_t> _id;
std::string name;
int64_t age = 0;
linking_objects<&Person::dog> owners;
REALM_SCHEMA(Dog, _id, name, age, owners)
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