Tag Archive for MongoDB Mobile

MongoDB Stitch Mobile Sync – The AWS re:Invent Stitch Rover Demo

At AWS re:Invent, we demonstrated how MongoDB Mobile, MongoDB Stitch, and AWS services could be used to build a cloud-controlled Mars rover – read the overview post for the setup. This post focuses on how the mission control app records the user commands in MongoDB Atlas.

Mission Control is a simple web application that we ran on an iPad. The web app takes commands from the user through its UI which displays directions for the rover to travel in. Each command sets the rover off in that direction for a short fixed amount of time.

MongoDB Stitch QueryAnywhere rover Mission Control web app

Rather than sending the command directly to the rover, and as Mars is a long way away and network connections are not always reliable, the app stores the commands in an array within the rover’s document in Atlas – in that way, commands can be queued up and sent to the rover as soon as it’s back online.

MongoDB Stitch QueryAnywhere

This is what the document looks like after a few commands have been submitted (but not yet acted on by the rover):

    "_id" : "5bee1053fdc728f2623e20eb",
    "moves" : [
            "_id" : "5c0e4db5119f6e36c7d06f55",
            "angle" : 90,
            "speed" : 2
            "_id" : "5c0e4dbc119f6e36c7d06f56",
            "angle" : 118,
            "speed" : 3
            "_id" : "5c0e4dc3119f6e36c7d06f57",
            "angle" : 45,
            "speed" : -1
    "__stitch_sync_version" : {
        "spv" : 1,
        "id" : "2f704b04-2338-4c75-a7cf-d555c94cb556",
        "v" : NumberLong(10313)

A traditional way of access the database from the frontend app would be to stand up an app server, implement a custom REST API and data access control layer, and then send the commands to it from the frontend app. MongoDB Stitch massively simplifies that workflow by letting a web (or mobile) app execute MongoDB Query Language operations directly – removing the need for thousands of lines of boilerplate code.

When we explained this access model to demo visitors, some were nervous about this approach as we’ve been taught that the schema and database access should be hidden from the frontend (remember SQL injection attacks?). Fortunately, Stitch QueryAnywhere is made up of two components – the first is the Stitch SDK that enables direct access to the database, the second is the sophisticated, fine-grained user access controls provided by the Stitch service. If that doesn’t allay your fears then you have the option to obfuscate the schema by accessing the database through Stitch Functions.

Updating the document from the web app is a cinch with Stitch. The first step is to import the Stitch SDK:

  <script src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/stitch-sdks/js/bundles/4.0.15-0/stitch.js"></script>
  <script src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/stitch-sdks/bson/bson.bundle.js"></script>

The second step is to create the object/document for the command and push it onto the moves array within this rover’s document in the rover.rovers collection:

function pushMoveToRover(roverId) {
    const client = stitch.Stitch.defaultAppClient;
    const coll = client.getServiceClient(stitch.RemoteMongoClient.factory,
    const angle = parseInt($("#angle").val());
    const speed = parseInt($("#speed").val());
    if (isNaN(angle) || isNaN(speed)) {
    const move = {"_id": new BSON.ObjectID().toHexString(), angle, speed};
    coll.updateOne({"_id": roverId}, {"$push": { "moves": move }, 
        "$inc": {"__stitch_sync_version.v": 1}});

If you are used to working with the MongoDB Query Language from an app server, that should seem very familiar. The only thing that might catch your eye is that __stitch_sync_version.v. That’s part of how this update will get to the MongoDB Mobile database embedded in the rover. We’ll explain that in the next part.

If you can’t wait then you can find all of the code in the Stitch Rover GitHub repo.

Stitch & Mobile Webinar Questions & Replay

How do you test MongoDB Stitch functions, how do you store Stitch triggers, and what services can you integrate Stitch with? These were some of the great questions that were asked and answered in my recent webinar. You can watch the replay of “MongoDB Mobile and MongoDB Stitch – Introduction and Latest Developments” here, or read on as I share the answers to those questions here.

For those new to MongoDB Stitch, it’s the serverless platform from MongoDB that isolates complexity and ‘plumbing’ so you can build applications faster. Stitch went GA in June 2018, and we recently added a set of new capabilities, including global Stitch apps, more AWS services, a React Native SDK, and the beta for Stitch Mobile Sync. MongoDB Mobile is an embedded version of the MongoDB database that you can embed in your mobile or IoT apps.

Building mobile apps with MongoDB Mobile, MongoDB Stitch, and MongoDB Atlas

These are some of the questions I thought might be of interest:

How do you test Stitch functions?

The Stitch UI includes a console which can be used to test your Stitch functions; you can include console.log statements to add extra debug output to the console (they also get added to the log files for every function invoked from an incoming webhook, trigger, or the Stitch SDK).

You can also invoke your Stitch functions through the mongo shell. To do that, you’ll need to enable the MongoDB wire protocol so that the shell can talk to your Stitch app, then use the Stitch connection string provided. Once connected, you can call Stitch functions explicitly like this:

mongo> db.runCommand({callFunction: "morning", arguments: ["Billy"]})

{"ok" : 1,
 "response" : {"message" : "Good Morning Billy from andrew.morgan@mongodb.com"}

You can read more about this in this post which takes you through the process.

How do you store stitch triggers in your Git repo?

You can export your Stitch application from the Stitch UI or the Stitch CLI; the exported app is represented by a directory structure containing JSON and JavaScript files:

├── stitch.json
├── secrets.json
├── variables.json
├── auth_providers/
│   └── <provider name>.json
├── functions/
│   └── <function name>/
│       ├── config.json
│       └── source.js
├── services/
│   └── <service name>/
│       ├── config.json
│       ├── incoming_webhooks/
│       │   ├── config.json
│       │   └── source.js
│       └── rules/
│           └── <rule name>.json
├── triggers/
│   └── <trigger name>/
│       ├── config.json
│       └── source.js
└── values/
    └── <value name>.json

You can then work on the trigger configuration and the associated function locally, source control the app using Git, or import it into a new App.

We saw a few integration provider logos in the presentation. Is there a page on the MongoDB site with the comprehensive list?

You can find the list of Stitch’s built-in service integrations in the Stitch documentation.

Note that if we don’t have a built-in integration for a particular service, then you can easily integrate it yourself, using the Stitch HTTP service and incoming webhooks. You can even export your new service integration to share with others.

Is MongoDB Mobile + Stitch Mobile Sync the same as a cache in a progressive app?

It certainly removes the need to have a separate cache, but it does much more. With MongoDB Mobile, the data is persistently stored on your device. You also have the full power of the MongoDB Query Language to perform sophisticated queries and aggregations on that local data. Changes made to the local database are pushed back to MongoDB Atlas, and from there to any other mobile devices configured to sync the same documents (e.g., for the same user running the app on another device).

How do I download & embed MongoDB Mobile?

You simply need to add 1 line to your Android or Xcode project to have access to the entire Stitch SDK, including the Stitch Local Database service (i.e.,the MongoDB Mobile database). The Stitch SDK includes the entire mobile and makes it very easy to use and consume, even if you’re just using the local MongoDB Mobile database and not Stitch.

Creating your first Stitch app? Start with one of the Stitch tutorials.

Want to learn more about MongoDB Stitch? Read the white paper.