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The Patch API provides some out of the box recipes for common document transforms and the Select() projections in the Linq support gives you the ability to do some basic transformations of the persisted JSON data in the database as part of querying. If your needs fall outside of these simple built in mechanism, you're still in luck because you can resort to using custom Javascript functions that will run inside of Postgresql itself to do more advanced document transformations.

At this point, Marten supports these use cases:

  1. Transforming the data in one or more documents to apply some kind of structural migration to persisted documents, like you would need to do if the application code no longer matches the JSON previously stored
  2. Creating a "readside" view of a persisted document as part of a Linq query.
  3. Transform the raw document data to a completely different .Net type as part of a Linq query

Creating and Loading a Javascript Function

Javascript transformations work in Marten by first allowing you to write your Javascript function into a single file like this one:


module.exports = function (doc) {
    return {fullname: doc.FirstName + ' ' + doc.LastName};
}

You'll notice a couple things:

  • Marten requires you to export the transformation function with the module.exports = syntax familiar from CommonJS or Node.js development. ES6 modules are not supported at this time.
  • Marten expects the transformation function to take in a single argument for the current JSON data and return the new JSON data
There is some thought and even infrastructure for doing Javascript transformations with multiple, related documents, but that feature will not likely make it into Marten 1.0.

To load a Javascript function into your Marten-ized Postgresql database, use this syntax as part of bootstrapping your Marten IDocumentStore:


var store = DocumentStore.For(_ =>
{
    _.Connection(ConnectionSource.ConnectionString);

    // Let Marten derive the transform name from the filename
    _.Transforms.LoadFile("get_fullname.js");

    // Explicitly define the transform name yourself
    _.Transforms.LoadFile("default_username.js", "set_default_username");
});

Behind the scenes, Marten creates a TransformFunction object in the document store that knows how governs the construction and update of a PLV8 function that will wrap your raw Javascript function to expose it to Postgresql:

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION public.mt_transform_get_fullname(doc jsonb)
  RETURNS jsonb AS
$BODY$

  var module = {export: {}};

module.exports = function (doc) {
    return {fullname: doc.FirstName + ' ' + doc.LastName};
}

  var func = module.exports;

  return func(doc);

$BODY$
  LANGUAGE plv8 IMMUTABLE STRICT
  COST 100;

The Javascript functions are managed roughly the same way as all other schema objects. If you are running your IDocumentStore with the StoreOptions.AutoCreateSchemaObjects option set to anything but None, Marten will attempt to automatically update your database schema with the current version of the Javascript wrapper function. It does this on only the first usage of the named transform, and works by just doing a string.Contains() check against the existing function in the database schema.

In the case of StoreOptions.AutoCreateSchemaObjects = None, the Javascript transform functions are evaluated and output through the Schema Migrations and Patches.

Using a Javascript Transform in Linq Queries

Once you have a Javascript transform loaded into the IDocumentStore, you can do live transformations inside of Linq queries. If you only care about the transformed JSON, you use this syntax:




    [Fact]
    public void can_select_a_string_field_in_compiled_query()
    {
        var user = new User { FirstName = "Eric", LastName = "Berry" };

        using (var session = theStore.OpenSession())
        {
            session.Store(user);
            session.SaveChanges();

            var name = session.Query<User>().Select(x => x.FirstName)
                .Single();

            name.ShouldBe("Eric");
        }
    }


    [Fact]
public void can_transform_to_json()
{
    var user = new User {FirstName = "Eric", LastName = "Berry"};

    using (var session = theStore.OpenSession())
    {
        session.Store(user);
        session.SaveChanges();

        var json = session.Query<User>()
            .Where(x => x.Id == user.Id)
            .TransformToJson("get_fullname").Single();

        json.ShouldBe("{\"fullname\": \"Eric Berry\"}");
    }
}

If you want to retrieve the results deserialized to another type, you can use the TransformTo<T>(transformName) method shown below:


public class FullNameView
{
    public string fullname { get; set; }
}

[Fact]
public void can_transform_to_another_doc()
{
    var user = new User { FirstName = "Eric", LastName = "Berry" };

    using (var session = theStore.OpenSession())
    {
        session.Store(user);
        session.SaveChanges();

        var view = session.Query<User>()
            .Where(x => x.Id == user.Id)
            .TransformTo<FullNameView>("get_fullname").Single();

        view.fullname.ShouldBe("Eric Berry");
    }
}

You can also use TransformToJson() inside of a compiled query:


public class JsonQuery : ICompiledQuery<User, string>
{
    public Expression<Func<IQueryable<User>, string>> QueryIs()
    {
        return _ => _.Where(x => x.FirstName == FirstName)
        .TransformToJson("get_fullname").Single();
    }

    public string FirstName { get; set; }
}

Document Transformations

The persisted JSON documents in Marten are a reflection of your .Net classes. Great, that makes it absurdly easy to keep the database schema in synch with your application code at development time -- especially compared to the typical development process against a relational database. However, what happens when you really do need to make breaking changes or additions to a document type but you already have loads of persisted documents in your Marten database with the old structure?

To that end, Marten allows you to use Javascript functions to alter the existing documents in the database. As an example, let's go back to the User document type and assume for some crazy reason that we didn't immediately issue a user name to some subset of users. As a default, we might just assign their user names by combining their first and last names like so:


module.exports = function (doc) {
    doc.UserName = (doc.FirstName + '.' + doc.LastName).toLowerCase();

    return doc;
}

To apply this transformation to existing rows in the database, Marten exposes this syntax:


private static void transform_example(IDocumentStore store)
{
    // Transform User documents with a filter
    store.Transform.Where<User>("default_username", x => x.UserName == null);

    // Transform a single User document by Id
    store.Transform.Document<User>("default_username", Guid.NewGuid());

    // Transform all User documents
    store.Transform.All<User>("default_username");

    // Only transform documents from the "tenant1" tenant
    store.Transform.Tenant<User>("default_username", "tenant1");

    // Only transform documents from the named tenants
    store.Transform.Tenants<User>("default_username", "tenant1", "tenant2");
}