Views for people

To show you how work the views, we will assume that we want to query the document of type people. To do so, we will first need a design document that will hold our views.

Note: for the purpose of the example, we will use many views inside of 1 design document. Therefore, in a production environment, you may prefer to have 1 view per design document. The reason is that every time you update the design document, all the views are rerun (at least for Cloudant).

So at this point, I assume you know what is a design document and how it works. Our design document will look like this :


Then, inside of this document, you will have a property of views. This property holds an object containing the views. Each view has its own object that contains a map function and optionally, a reduce function. Here is how it looks if we have a view that fetches all the people from the database :

            "map":"function(doc){if(doc.type ===\"people\")emit(doc._id);}"

Such a view would return something like this :

    "total_rows": 2,
    "offset": 0,
    "rows": [
        { "id": "people_23929319009123", "key": "people_23929319009123", "value": null },
        { "id": "people_11482871000723", "key": "people_11482871000723", "value": null }

What we have made so far is the view that gives us all the people. The equivalent in SQL would be : SELECT * FROM table WHERE type="people". I will explain in detail how work the map function.

Map function : all

function(doc) {
    if (doc.type === "people") emit(doc._id);

First, you need to know that the map function will be executed for each document. Now for the map function, you need to know that it takes one parameter : doc. Inside your map function, your logic will determine if the doc needs to be mapped or not. If yes, you will use the emit() function to index it. The emit function takes 2 parameters.

  1. The key to index
  2. The value to emit

At the end, it will create an array with 3 columns : id,key,value.

Note: NEVER BUT NEVER emit the doc as the value. This is totally useless since using the include_docs parameter will fetch the documents associated to the id.

Complex keys

Now let’s say that we want to fetch the people according to different parameters. Let’s say that I want to query the users on their name, their gender and their children count.

In this case, we would have a view like this :

function(doc) {
    if (doc.type === "people") {

For the example, I didn’t validate that the objects had the required parameter since I won’t cause me any problem. Therefore, it may vary from your context. You might want to check if they have the parameter birthDate for example.

So now, as you can see, we still have one key but it’s a complex one. The trick here is that our key is an array so we can have multiple keys.

Now, you might be asking yourself, but hey, how do I use this? It’s weird! Stay calm, I will show you how!

When you query multiple keys, it’s a good idea to know how works the comparison in CouchDB. For more info, take a look at this. The most important thing to know is that, if you are using ranges and you want to query all the elements on one key, you need to use the starkey=[null]&endkey=[\ufff0]. Since null is the lowest value and \ufff0 is the highest character, it will get everything between this.

So, If I want to get all the women named Julia, I would do the following:


Basically, we take all the rows with the key [Julia,Female] and for the third part, we take anything between the lowest value(null) and the highest(\ufff0) wich means everything.

Next, if I want to fetch all the male with 3 children? Easy as this : http://localhost:5984/db/_design/people/_view/byNameGenderchildren?startkey[null,"Male",3]&endkey=[\ufff0,"Male",3]