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4.4 Indexing Collections

To make large collections of documents more efficient to navigate you can create an index based on one or more fields found in the documents in the collection. This section describes how to index a collection.

Creating an Index

Collection indexes are ordinary MySQL indexes on virtual columns that extract data from the documents in the collection. Because MySQL cannot index JSON values directly, to enable indexing of a collection, you provide a JSON document that specifies the document's fields to be used by the index. You pass the JSON document defining the index as the IndexDefinition parameter to the Collection.createIndex(name, IndexDefinition) method. This generic example (actual syntax might vary for different programming languages) shows how to create a mandatory integer type index based on the field count:

myCollection.createIndex("count", {fields:[{"field": "$.count", "type":"INT", required:true}]});

This example shows how to create an index based on a text field: a zip code in this case. For a text field, you must specify a prefix length for the index, as required by MySQL Server:

myCollection.createIndex("zip", {fields: [{field: "$.zip", type: "TEXT(10)"}]})

See Defining an Index for information on the format of IndexDefinition and on the supported field types for indexing.

The Collection.createIndex() method fails with an error if an index with the same name already exists or if the index definition is not correctly formed. The name parameter is required and must be a valid index name as accepted by the SQL statement CREATE INDEX.

To remove an existing index use the collection.dropIndex(string name) method. This would delete the index with the passed name, and the operation silently succeeds if the named index does not exist.

The indexes of a collection are stored as virtual columns. To verify a created index use the SHOW INDEX statement. For example to use this SQL from MySQL Shell:

session.runSql('SHOW INDEX FROM mySchema.myCollection');

Defining an Index

To create an index based on the documents in a collection you need to create an IndexDefinition JSON document. This section explains the valid fields you can use in such a JSON document to define an index.

To define a document field to index a collection on, the type of that field must be uniform across the whole collection. In other words, the type must be consistent. The JSON document used for defining an index, such as {fields: [{field: '$.username', type: 'TEXT'}]}, can contain the following:

  • fields: an array of at least one IndexField object, each of which describes a JSON document field to be included in the index.

    A single IndexField description consists of the following fields:

    • field: a string with the full document path to the document member or field to be indexed

    • type: a string for one of the supported column types to map the field to (see Field Data Types ). For numeric types, the optional UNSIGNED keyword can follow. For the TEXT type you must define the length to consider for indexing (the prefix length).

    • required: an optional boolean that should be set to true if the field is required to exist in the document. Defaults to false for all types except GEOJSON, which defaults to true.

    • options: an optional integer that is used as a special option flag when decoding GEOJSON data (see the description for ST_GeomFromGeoJSON() for details).

    • srid: an optional integer to be used as the srid value when decoding GEOJSON data (see the description for ST_GeomFromGeoJSON() for details).

    • array: An optional boolean that is set to true if the field contains arrays. The default value is false. See Indexing Array Fields for details.


      For MySQL 8.0.16 and earlier, fields that are JSON arrays are not supported in the index; specifying a field that contains array data does not generate an error from the server, but the index does not function correctly.

  • type: an optional string that defines the type of index. Value is one of INDEX or SPATIAL. The default is INDEX and can be omitted.

Including any other fields in an IndexDefinition or IndexField JSON document which is not described above causes collection.createIndex() to fail with an error.

If index type is not specified or is set to INDEX then the resulting index is created in the same way as it would be created by issuing CREATE INDEX. If index type is set to SPATIAL then the created index is the same as it would be created by issuing CREATE INDEX with the SPATIAL keyword, see SPATIAL Index Optimization and Creating Spatial Indexes. For example:

myCollection.createIndex('myIndex', //
{fields: [{field: '$.myGeoJsonField', type: 'GEOJSON', required: true}], type:'SPATIAL'})

When using the SPATIAL type of index the required field cannot be set to false in IndexField entries.

This is an example to create an index based on multiple fields:

myCollection.createIndex('myIndex', {fields: [{field: '$.myField', type: 'TEXT'}, //
{field: '$.myField2', type: 'TEXT(10)'}, {field: '$.myField3', type: 'INT'}]})

The values of indexed fields are converted from JSON to the type specified in the IndexField description using standard MySQL type conversions (see Type Conversion in Expression Evaluation), except for the GEOJSON type, which uses the ST_GeomFromGeoJSON() function for conversion. That means when using a numeric type in an IndexField description, an actual field value that is non-numeric is converted to 0.

The options and srid fields in IndexField can only be present if type is set to GEOJSON. If present, they are used as parameters for ST_GeomFromGeoJSON() when converting GEOJSON data into MySQL native GEOMETRY values.

Field Data Types

The following data types are supported for document fields. Type names are case-insensitive when used in the type field.

Indexing Array Fields

X DevAPI supports creating indexes based on array fields by setting the boolean array field in the IndexField description to true. For example, to create an index on the emails array field:

collection.createIndex("emails_idx", //
    {fields: [{"field": "$.emails", "type":"CHAR(128)", "array": true}]});

The following restrictions apply to creating indexes based on arrays:

  • For each index, only one indexed field can be an array

  • Data types for which index on arrays can be created: