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$first (aggregation)

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  • Definition
  • Syntax
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$first

Changed in version 5.0.

Returns the result of an expression for the first document in a group of documents. Only meaningful when documents are in a defined order.

$first is available in these stages:

$first syntax:

{ $first: <expression> }
  • To define the document order for $first in a $setWindowFields, set the sortBy field.

  • To define the document order for $first in other pipeline stages, add a preceding $sort stage.

If the expression resolves to an array:

  • For a group of documents, $first returns the entire array from the first document. It does not traverse array elements. This is the case with stages like $group and $setWindowFields.

  • For an individual document, $first returns the first element of the array. This is the case with stages like $addFields.

Documents in a group may be missing fields or may have fields with missing values.

  • If there are no documents from the prior pipeline stage, the $group stage returns nothing.

  • If the field that the $first accumulator is processing is missing, $first returns null.

  • When used with $setWindowFields, $first returns null for empty windows. For example, when you have a { documents:[ -1, -1] } documents window on the first document of a partition.

For more information, see the Missing Data example later in this topic.

Create the sales collection:

db.sales.insertMany( [
{ "_id" : 1, "item" : "abc", "price" : 10, "quantity" : 2, "date" : ISODate("2014-01-01T08:00:00Z") },
{ "_id" : 2, "item" : "jkl", "price" : 20, "quantity" : 1, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-03T09:00:00Z") },
{ "_id" : 3, "item" : "xyz", "price" : 5, "quantity" : 5, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-03T09:05:00Z") },
{ "_id" : 4, "item" : "abc", "price" : 10, "quantity" : 10, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-15T08:00:00Z") },
{ "_id" : 5, "item" : "xyz", "price" : 5, "quantity" : 10, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-15T09:05:00Z") },
{ "_id" : 6, "item" : "xyz", "price" : 5, "quantity" : 5, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-15T12:05:10Z") },
{ "_id" : 7, "item" : "xyz", "price" : 5, "quantity" : 10, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-15T14:12:12Z") }
] )

Grouping the documents by the item field, the following operation uses the $first accumulator to return the first sales date for each item:

db.sales.aggregate(
[
{ $sort: { item: 1, date: 1 } },
{
$group:
{
_id: "$item",
firstSale: { $first: "$date" }
}
}
]
)

The operation returns the following results:

[
{ _id: 'jkl', firstSale: ISODate("2014-02-03T09:00:00.000Z") },
{ _id: 'xyz', firstSale: ISODate("2014-02-03T09:05:00.000Z") },
{ _id: 'abc', firstSale: ISODate("2014-01-01T08:00:00.000Z") }
]

Some documents in the badData collection are missing fields, other documents are missing values.

Create the badData collection:

db.badData.insertMany( [
{ "_id": 1, "price": 6, "quantity": 6 },
{ "_id": 2, "item": "album", "price": 5 , "quantity": 5 },
{ "_id": 7, "item": "tape", "price": 6, "quantity": 6 },
{ "_id": 8, "price": 5, "quantity": 5 },
{ "_id": 9, "item": "album", "price": 3, "quantity": '' },
{ "_id": 10, "item": "tape", "price": 3, "quantity": 4 },
{ "_id": 12, "item": "cd", "price": 7 }
] )

Query the badData collection, grouping the output on the item field:

db.badData.aggregate( [
{ $sort: { item: 1, price: 1 } },
{ $group:
{
_id: "$item",
inStock: { $first: "$quantity" }
}
}
] )

The $sort stage orders the documents and passes them to the $group stage.

[
{ _id: null, inStock: 5 },
{ _id: 'album', inStock: '' },
{ _id: 'cd', inStock: null },
{ _id: 'tape', inStock: 4 }
]

$first selects the first document from each output group:

  • The _id: null group is included.

  • When the accumulator field, $quantity in this example, is missing, $first returns null.

New in version 5.0.

Create a cakeSales collection that contains cake sales in the states of California (CA) and Washington (WA):

db.cakeSales.insertMany( [
{ _id: 0, type: "chocolate", orderDate: new Date("2020-05-18T14:10:30Z"),
state: "CA", price: 13, quantity: 120 },
{ _id: 1, type: "chocolate", orderDate: new Date("2021-03-20T11:30:05Z"),
state: "WA", price: 14, quantity: 140 },
{ _id: 2, type: "vanilla", orderDate: new Date("2021-01-11T06:31:15Z"),
state: "CA", price: 12, quantity: 145 },
{ _id: 3, type: "vanilla", orderDate: new Date("2020-02-08T13:13:23Z"),
state: "WA", price: 13, quantity: 104 },
{ _id: 4, type: "strawberry", orderDate: new Date("2019-05-18T16:09:01Z"),
state: "CA", price: 41, quantity: 162 },
{ _id: 5, type: "strawberry", orderDate: new Date("2019-01-08T06:12:03Z"),
state: "WA", price: 43, quantity: 134 }
] )

This example uses $first in the $setWindowFields stage to output the first cake sales order type for each state:

db.cakeSales.aggregate( [
{
$setWindowFields: {
partitionBy: "$state",
sortBy: { orderDate: 1 },
output: {
firstOrderTypeForState: {
$first: "$type",
window: {
documents: [ "unbounded", "current" ]
}
}
}
}
}
] )

In the example:

  • partitionBy: "$state" partitions the documents in the collection by state. There are partitions for CA and WA.

  • sortBy: { orderDate: 1 } sorts the documents in each partition by orderDate in ascending order (1), so the earliest orderDate is first.

  • output sets the firstOrderTypeForState field to the first order type from the documents window.

    The window contains documents between an unbounded lower limit and the current document in the output. This means $first returns the first order type for the documents between the beginning of the partition and the current document.

In this output, the first order type value for CA and WA is shown in the firstOrderTypeForState field:

{ "_id" : 4, "type" : "strawberry", "orderDate" : ISODate("2019-05-18T16:09:01Z"),
"state" : "CA", "price" : 41, "quantity" : 162, "firstOrderTypeForState" : "strawberry" }
{ "_id" : 0, "type" : "chocolate", "orderDate" : ISODate("2020-05-18T14:10:30Z"),
"state" : "CA", "price" : 13, "quantity" : 120, "firstOrderTypeForState" : "strawberry" }
{ "_id" : 2, "type" : "vanilla", "orderDate" : ISODate("2021-01-11T06:31:15Z"),
"state" : "CA", "price" : 12, "quantity" : 145, "firstOrderTypeForState" : "strawberry" }
{ "_id" : 5, "type" : "strawberry", "orderDate" : ISODate("2019-01-08T06:12:03Z"),
"state" : "WA", "price" : 43, "quantity" : 134, "firstOrderTypeForState" : "strawberry" }
{ "_id" : 3, "type" : "vanilla", "orderDate" : ISODate("2020-02-08T13:13:23Z"),
"state" : "WA", "price" : 13, "quantity" : 104, "firstOrderTypeForState" : "strawberry" }
{ "_id" : 1, "type" : "chocolate", "orderDate" : ISODate("2021-03-20T11:30:05Z"),
"state" : "WA", "price" : 14, "quantity" : 140, "firstOrderTypeForState" : "strawberry" }

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