Review: 4 free, open source management GUIs For MongoDB

Genghis, phpMoAdmin, RockMongo, and UMongo free MongoDB database management from the command line

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Launch your browser and point it to RockMongo's Web page; you'll see it's arranged in the familiar navigation-area-on-left, workspace-on-right fashion. Navigation is via a database explorer tree. Click a database's node in the tree, and RockMongo opens a subtree bedecked with subnodes representing that database's collections. Click a collection, and the work area opens a set of menus whose commands provide the MongoDB equivalent of CRUD operations. You can issue a query, insert a document, clear the entire collection, and so on.

RockMongo's interface is, for the most part, uncomplicated. To create a database, click the Databases menu item, select Create a New Database, enter a name, click OK, and there you go. This is in keeping with MongoDB's (sometimes dangerously) simple mechanism for creating databases or collections. There are few parameters to adjust. You just create a database, put a collection in it, and start filling that collection with documents.

As you navigate through the components of a MongoDB instance, the upper portion of the work area provides either a context-aware menu or an interactive breadcrumb trail tracing your route. With a database selected, the context-aware menu presents the following options:

  • Statistics. This entry displays information such as the number of collections, the number of documents, the number of indexes defined, and the amount of space used for storage.
  • Create a new collection. RockMongo lets you specify that a collection be capped, which sets a limit on the number of documents that can be added to the collection as well as the storage space that can be consumed. When the storage limit is reached, the introduction of a new document causes old documents to be discarded in an "oldest first" fashion.
  • Command. Choose Command, and RockMongo takes you out of the Databases breadcrumb trail and presents you with a different set of menus (a shift of context that can be initially confusing). A text box allows you to enter the BSON expression for a database command. In case you don't remember what those commands are (there are lots), RockMongo thoughtfully provides a link to the proper spot in the MongoDB documentation where you can peruse the entire list of MongoDB commands.
  • Execute. The Execute menu item opens a text box into which you can type JavaScript functions that call into MongoDB's JavaScript API. This is how, for example, you might enter a mapreduce operation on the database. Click another button, and RockMongo will even open a separate text box into which you can enter the BSON for arguments to be passed into the JavaScript function you define.
  • Transfer. The Transfer menu selection copies a database from one system to another. Specify the IP address of the target database's host, username, and password for authentication, select the collections to copy, and RockMongo will transfer from the source to the destination.
  • Import and Export. Choose Import or Export to copy documents into or out of a database collection. RockMongo performs import or export using JavaScript source that can be executed in the shell. For example, if you perform an export, you'll get a JavaScript source file that contains a series of db.getCollection.insert() functions whose arguments are the BSON of the exported documents. You can hand this source file to a MongoDB shell and quickly import the documents into a different database.
Review: 4 free, open source management GUIs for MongoDB
RockMongo allows queries to be entered and executed in either BSON or PHP associative array syntax. Here RockMongo is shown displaying the documents of a collection.

Other commands in the database menu let you perform user authentication, issue repairs on the database, or drop the database.

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