Escape the ‘RM’ in ORM using MongoDB

Last week we hit the customary ORM wall when we had to model a Many-To-Many relationship in our domain model. Even with Castle ActiveRecord we were still being forced to create either association table on the database schema, or an equivalent class to leverage ActiveRecord’s automatic schema creation. Added on top the need to manage SQL Server instances, we decided to take a fresh look at storage options that will allow us to continue coding with minimal friction on persistance.

Getting a cue from a former colleague at ThoughtWork, I started looking into the NoSQL movement. MongoDB seems to be getting a fair amount of press recently so I decided to try it out. Using NoRM as the .Net driver for MongoDB, I was able to covert our (still very small) codebase from using ActiveRecord to MongoDB in about 2 hours.

The process was made easier by our use of Repository pattern so most of the changes are concentrated in all the repositories methods (CRUD and queries). One potential side benefit is that because MongoDB is so fast, it is now possible to test data queries along side regular unit tests with minimal cost in time. This is generally not possible with RDBMS data storage.

* One of the useful tip I’ve come across is how to run MongoDB as Windows service.

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