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Realm has several types to represent groups of objects, which we call collections. A collection is an object that contains zero or more instances of one Realm type.
You can filter and sort any collection using Realm Database's query engine. Collections are live, so they always reflect the current state of the realm instance on the current thread. You can also listen for changes in the collection by subscribing to collection notifications.
A Results collection represents the lazily-evaluated results of a query operation. Results are immutable: you cannot add or remove elements to or from the results collection. Results have an associated query that determines their contents.
A List represents a to-many relationship between two Realm types. Lists are mutable: within a write transaction, you can add and remove elements to and from a list. Lists are not associated with a query and are declared as a property of an object model.
Realm Database only runs a query when you request the results of that query. This lazy evaluation enables you to write elegant, highly-performant code for handling large data sets and complex queries.
Like live objects, Realm collections are usually live:
- Live results collections always reflect the current results of the associated query.
- Live lists always reflect the current state of the relationship on the realm instance.
A collection is not live when:
- it is a results collection that you are iterating through using a for..in or for..of statement. Both statements will continue to iterate through objects in the collection even if you have deleted or modified the collection's objects to exclude them from the filter that produced the results collection.
- the collection is a frozen Results.snapshot().
Combined with collection notifications, live collections enable reactive code. For example, suppose your view displays the results of a query. You can keep a reference to the results collection in your view class, then read the results collection as needed without having to refresh it or validate that it is up-to-date.
Since results update themselves automatically, do not store the positional index of an object in the collection or the count of objects in a collection. The stored index or count value could be outdated by the time you use it.
As a result of lazy evaluation, you do not need any special mechanism to limit query results with Realm Database. For example, if your query matches thousands of objects, but you only want to load the first ten, access only the first ten elements of the results collection.
Thanks to lazy evaluation, the common task of pagination becomes quite simple. For example, suppose you have a results collection associated with a query that matches thousands of objects in your realm. You display one hundred objects per page. To advance to any page, simply access the elements of the results collection starting at the index that corresponds to the target page.
- A Realm collection is a homogenous container of zero or more instances of one Realm type.
- There are two main kinds of collection: lists and results. Lists define the to-many relationships of your Realm types, while results represent the lazily-loaded output of a read operation.
- Lazy evaluation of results collections means there is no need to design a special query to get limited or paginated results. Perform the query and read from the results collection as needed.
- Data in Realm is live, which means that an object always reflects its most recent saved state.