Quick Start: BSON Data Types - ObjectId

Quick Start: BSON Data Types - ObjectId

In the database world, it is frequently important to have unique identifiers associated with a record. In a legacy, tabular database, these unique identifiers are often used as primary keys.

In the database world, it is frequently important to have unique identifiers associated with a record. In a legacy, tabular database, these unique identifiers are often used as primary keys. In a modern database, such as MongoDB, we need a unique identifier in an _id field as a primary key as well. MongoDB provides an automatic unique identifier for the _id field in the form of an ObjectId data type.

For those that are familiar with MongoDB Documents you've likely come across the ObjectId data type in the _id field. For those unfamiliar with MongoDB Documents, the ObjectId datatype is automatically generated as a unique document identifier if no other identifier is provided. But what is an ObjectId field? What makes them unique? This post will unveil some of the magic behind the BSON ObjectId data type. First, though, what is BSON?

Binary JSON (BSON)

Many programming languages have JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) support or similar data structures. MongoDB uses JSON documents to store records. However, behind the scenes, MongoDB represents these documents in a binary-encoded format called BSON. BSON provides additional data types and ordered fields to allow for efficient support across a variety of languages. One of these additional data types is ObjectId.

Makeup of an ObjectId

Let's start with an examination of what goes into an ObjectId. If we take a look at the construction of the ObjectId value, in its current implementation, it is a 12-byte hexadecimal value.

data analysis

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