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Avoiding recursion pitfalls: MongoDB nested query clause addition and removal

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A case-study on where recursion can be useful for enterprise Node.js applications and how to avoid its common pitfalls like RangeError: Maximum call stack size exceeded.

The full repository for this post is on GitHub: github.com/HugoDF/mongo-query-clause-modification

We’ll be implementing a solution to 2 real-world problems:

Table of Contents

Add an $or query clause to a MongoDB query

See the final code at ./src/add-or-clause.js.

The parameters are query and orClause.

query is a MongoDB query which might or might not already contain an $or and/or $and clause.

orClause is an object containing and $or clause (it’s a fully-fledged MongoDB query in its own right) eg.

const orClause = {
  $or: [
    {createdAt: {$exists: false}},
    {createdAt: someDate}
  ]
};

There is initially just 1 thing to look out for: 1. the query does not contain an $or clause 2. the query contains an $or clause

When there’s no $or clause in the query

If there is no $or clause, we can simply spread our orClause query and the query parameter, ie.

const newQuery = {
  ...query,
  ...orClause
};

That is unless there’s and $and in there somewhere, in which case we want to add our orClause to the $and:

const newQuery = {
  ...query,
  $and: [...query.$and, orClause]
};

When there’s an $or clause in the query

If there is an $or clause, we can’t just overwrite it, we need to $and the two $or queries.

We should also keep existing $and clause contents which yields:

const newQuery = {
  ...queryWithoutOrRemoved,
  $and: [
    ...(query.$and || []),
    { $or: query.$or },
    orClause
  ]
};

Full solution

This is also available at ./src/add-or-clause.js.

function addOrClause(query, orClause) {
  const {$or, ...queryRest} = query;
  if ($or) {
    return {
      ...queryRest,
      $and: [...(queryRest.$and || []), {$or}, orClause]
    };
  }

  if (queryRest.$and) {
    return {
      ...queryRest,
      $and: [...queryRest.$and, orClause]
    };
  }

  return {
    ...query,
    ...orClause
  };
}

module.exports = addOrClause;

Corresponding Test Suite

We can observe how the different cases map pretty directly to test cases.

const addOrClause = require('./add-or-clause');

test('should add the passed or clause if no $or on the current query', () => {
  const orClause = {$or: [{myField: 'value'}, {myField: null}]};
  const query = {foo: 'bar'};
  expect(addOrClause(query, orClause)).toEqual({
    $or: [{myField: 'value'}, {myField: null}],
    foo: 'bar'
  });
});
describe('when the query already has an $or', () => {
  test('should add the passed or clause to and $and that also contains the current query', () => {
    const orClause = {$or: [{myField: 'value'}, {myField: null}]};
    const query = {$or: [{foo: 'bar'}, {foo: {$exists: false}}]};
    expect(addOrClause(query, orClause)).toEqual({
      $and: [
        {$or: [{foo: 'bar'}, {foo: {$exists: false}}]},
        {
          $or: [{myField: 'value'}, {myField: null}]
        }
      ]
    });
  });
  describe('when the query has an $and', () => {
    test('should keep the $and, add the $or and the current query', () => {
      const orClause = {$or: [{myField: 'value'}, {myField: null}]};
      const query = {
        $or: [{hello: 'world'}],
        $and: [{foo: 'bar'}, {bar: 'baz'}]
      };
      expect(addOrClause(query, orClause)).toEqual({
        $and: [
          {foo: 'bar'},
          {bar: 'baz'},
          {$or: [{hello: 'world'}]},
          {$or: [{myField: 'value'}, {myField: null}]}
        ]
      });
    });
  });
});
describe('when the query has an $and query', () => {
  test('should add the new or clause to the $and', () => {
    const orClause = {$or: [{myField: 'value'}, {myField: null}]};
    const query = {$and: [{foo: 'bar'}, {bar: 'baz'}]};
    expect(addOrClause(query, orClause)).toEqual({
      $and: [
        {foo: 'bar'},
        {bar: 'baz'},
        {$or: [{myField: 'value'}, {myField: null}]}
      ]
    });
  });
});

Remove references to a field in an MongoDB query (potentially) using $or and $and

See the full solution at ./src/remove-field-references.js.

In this case we’re creating a function that takes 2 parameters: query (MongoDB query as above) and fieldName (name of the field we want to remove references to).

Remove top-level fields

The simplest thing to do is remove references to the field at the top-level of the object.

We can create a simple omit function using destructuring and recursion

const omit = (obj, [field, ...nextFields]) => {
  const {[field]: ignore, ...rest} = obj;
  return nextFields.length > 0 ? omit(rest, nextFields) : rest;
};

And use it:

const newQuery = omit(query, [fieldName]);

Remove fields in any $or clause

To remove fields in an $or clause (which is a fully-fledged query) is as simple as taking the $or value (which is an array) and running a recursion of the function onto it.

This will remove fields at the top-level of the $or sub-queries and in nest $or fields’ sub-queries.

We want to make sure to remove empty $or sub-queries, since { $or: [ { }, {} ]} is an invalid query.

We default the query’s $or to an empty array and check length before spreading it back into the newQuery. This is because { $or: [] } is an invalid query.

We’re also careful to remove the top-level $or when spreading filteredTopLevel so that if the new $or is an empty array, the old $or is ommitted.

function removeFieldReferences (query, fieldName) {
  const filteredTopLevel = omit(query, [fieldName]);

  const newOr = (filteredTopLevel.$or || [])
    .map(q => removeFieldReferences(q, fieldName))
    .filter(q => Object.keys(q).length > 0);

  return {
    ...omit(filteredTopLevel, ['$or']),
    ...(newOr.length > 0 ? {$or: newOr} : {})
  };
}

Remove fields in any $and clause

The rationale for the $and solution is the same as for the $or solution.

We recurse and check that we’re not generating an invalid query by omitting empty arrays and objects:

function removeFieldReferences (query, fieldName) {
  const filteredTopLevel = omit(query, [fieldName]);

  const newAnd = (filteredTopLevel.$and || [])
    .map(q => removeFieldReferences(q, fieldName))
    .filter(q => Object.keys(q).length > 0);

  return {
    ...omit(filteredTopLevel, ['$and']),
    ...(newAnd.length > 0 ? {$and: newAnd} : {})
  };
}

Check that we’re not likely to bust the stack

The actual implementation has a maxDepth 3rd parameter defaulted to 5.

When maxDepth is equal to 0, we return the query without any treatment (arguably we should run the top-level filter).

On recursive calls to removeFieldReferences we pass (q, fieldName, maxDepth - 1) so that we’re not going any deeper than we need to by accident.

This avoids RangeError: Maximum call stack size exceeded.

Final Implementation

This is also available at ./src/remove-field-references.js.

const omit = (obj, [field, ...nextFields]) => {
  const {[field]: ignore, ...rest} = obj;
  return nextFields.length > 0 ? omit(rest, nextFields) : rest;
};

function removeFieldReferences(query, fieldName, maxDepth = 5) {
  if (maxDepth <= 0) {
    return query;
  }

  const filteredTopLevel = omit(query, [fieldName]);

  const newOr = (filteredTopLevel.$or || [])
    .map(q => removeFieldReferences(q, fieldName, maxDepth - 1))
    .filter(q => Object.keys(q).length > 0);

  const newAnd = (filteredTopLevel.$and || [])
    .map(q => removeFieldReferences(q, fieldName, maxDepth - 1))
    .filter(q => Object.keys(q).length > 0);

  return {
    ...omit(filteredTopLevel, ['$or', '$and']),
    ...(newOr.length > 0 ? {$or: newOr} : {}),
    ...(newAnd.length > 0 ? {$and: newAnd} : {})
  };
}

module.exports = removeFieldReferences;

Corresponding Test Suite

We can observe how the different cases map pretty directly to test cases.

const removeFieldReferences = require('./remove-field-references');

test('should remove top-level fields', () => {
  const query = {
    hello: 'value'
  };
  const fieldName = 'hello';
  expect(removeFieldReferences(query, fieldName).hello).toBeUndefined();
});
test('should return passed query when maxDepth is hit (avoids busting the stack by default)', () => {
  const query = {
    hello: 'value'
  };
  const fieldName = 'hello';
  expect(removeFieldReferences(query, fieldName, 0)).toEqual(query);
});
test('should remove references to the field in top-level $or queries', () => {
  const query = {
    $or: [
      {hello: 'value', otherField: 'not-related'},
      {hello: 'othervalue', otherField: 'even-less-related'}
    ]
  };
  const fieldName = 'hello';
  expect(removeFieldReferences(query, fieldName)).toEqual({
    $or: [{otherField: 'not-related'}, {otherField: 'even-less-related'}]
  });
});
test('should remove $or clauses where the query becomes empty on omission of a field', () => {
  const query = {
    $or: [{hello: 'value'}, {otherField: 'not-related'}]
  };
  const fieldName = 'hello';
  expect(removeFieldReferences(query, fieldName)).toEqual({
    $or: [{otherField: 'not-related'}]
  });
});
test('should remove references to field in top-level queries inside of $and', () => {
  const query = {
    $and: [
      {hello: 'value', otherField: 'value'},
      {hello: 'other-value', otherField: 'value'}
    ]
  };
  const fieldName = 'hello';
  expect(removeFieldReferences(query, fieldName)).toEqual({
    $and: [{otherField: 'value'}, {otherField: 'value'}]
  });
});
test('should remove $and clause if all queries end up filtered out', () => {
  const query = {
    foo: 'bar',
    $and: [{hello: 'value'}, {hello: 'other-value'}]
  };
  const fieldName = 'hello';
  expect(removeFieldReferences(query, fieldName)).toEqual({foo: 'bar'});
});
test('should remove references to field in nested $or inside of $and', () => {
  const query = {
    $and: [
      {
        $or: [{hello: 'value'}, {hello: null}]
      },
      {otherField: 'not-related'}
    ]
  };
  const fieldName = 'hello';
  expect(removeFieldReferences(query, fieldName)).toEqual({
    $and: [{otherField: 'not-related'}]
  });
});

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Author

Hugo Di Francesco

Co-author of "Professional JavaScript" with Packt. He runs the Code with Hugo website helping over 100,000 developers every month and holds an MEng in Mathematical Computation from University College London (UCL). He has used JavaScript extensively to create scalable and performant platforms at companies such as Canon and Elsevier.

Curious about Advanced Jest Testing Features?

Want to level up your JavaScript testing fundamentals and leverage Jest's best features? The Jest Handbook is for you.