About this guide

This guide covers:

  • Monger's philosophy of "having batteries included"
  • Integration with Cheshire and clojure.data.json
  • Integration with clj-time and Joda Time
  • Integration with clojure.core.cache: MongoDB-based Clojure cache protocol implementation
  • Using MongoDB-backed Ring session stores
  • Basic Noir integration example

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (including images & stylesheets). The source is available on Github.

What version of Monger does this guide cover?

This guide covers Monger 3.1 (including preview releases).


Monger heavily relies on relatively recent Clojure features like protocols to integrate with libraries like Cheshire or clj-time (Joda Time). As the result you can focus on your application instead of figuring out how to glue two libraries together.

Cheshire (or clojure.data.json)

Many applications that use MongoDB and Monger have to serialize documents stored in the database to JSON and pass them to other applications using HTTP or messaging protocols such as AMQP 0.9.1 or ZeroMQ.

This means that MongoDB data types (object ids, documents) need to be serialized. While BSON, data format used by MongoDB, is semantically very similar to JSON, MongoDB drivers do not typically provide serialization to JSON and JSON serialization libraries typically do not support MongoDB data types.

Monger provides a convenient feature for Cheshire, a pretty popular modern JSON serialization library for Clojure. The way it works is Monger will add custom serializes for MongoDB Java driver data types: org.bson.types.ObjectId and com.mongodb.DBObject if you opt-in for it. To use it, you need to add Chshire dependency to your project, for example (with Leiningen)

[cheshire "5.3.1"]

and then require monger.json namespace like so:

(ns mycompany.myservice
  (:require monger.json))

when loaded, code in that namespace will extend necessary protocols and that's it. Then you can pass documents that contain object ids in them to JSON serialization functions from cheshire.custom and everything will just work.

This feature is optional: Monger does not depend on Cheshire or clojure.data.json and won't add unused dependencies to your project.

clojure.data.json Version Compatibility

Monger only works clojure.data.json 0.2.x and 0.1.x. Support for versions earlier than 0.2.x will be dropped in one of the future releases.

clj-time, Joda Time

Because of various shortcomings of Java date/time classes provided by the JDK, many projects choose to use Joda Time to work with dates.

To be able to insert documents with Joda Time date values in them, you need to require monger.joda-time namespace:

(ns mycompany.myservice
  (:require monger.joda-time))

Just like with clojure.data.json integration, there is nothing else you have to do. This feature is optional: Monger does not depend on clj-time or Joda Time and won't add unused dependencies to your project.

Setting Default Time Zone Used By Joda Time

When Joda Time integration is loaded, Monger extends its own Clojure-to-DBObject conversion protocol to support Joda Time date/time/instant types and convert loaded dates to Joda Time dates. When a new Joda Time org.joda.time.DateTime instance is created, it will use an environment-specific time zone by default (configured via the user.timezone JVM property). Because altering user.timezone may also affect other libraries, it is recommended to set default time zone using Joda Time API like so:

(import org.joda.time.DateTimeZone)

;; set default time zone that a org.joda.time.DateTime instances
;; will use
(DateTimeZone/setDefault DateTimeZone/UTC)

This will only have effect on Joda Time (and, in turn, Monger date/time/instant deserialization).

Use require, Not use

monger.joda-time and monger.json only extend existing protocols and do not define public functions. Due to a subtle bug in Clojure 1.5, using the ns macro's :use option on such namespace will fail. But worry not: there is no need to use :use. Just use :require, it will cause protocol extensions to be compiled and that's all you need to use Monger's integration points.


Monger provides a MongoDB-backed cache implementation that conforms to the clojure.core.cache protocol. It uses the cache_entries for caches by default. You can use any number of cache data structure instances as your application may need.

To use Monger's cache implementation, use functions in both clojure.core.cache and monger.cache namespaces, then create a cache store using monger.cache/basic-monger-cache-factory that can be passed a collection name you want the cache to use:

(ns monger.docs.examples
  (:require [monger.core :as mg]
            [clojure.core.cache :refer :all]
            [monger.cache :refer :all]))

(defn generate-uuid
  (str (java.util.UUID/randomUUID)))

(let [conn  (mg/connect)
      db    (mg/get-db conn "monger-test")
      store (basic-monger-cache-factory db "cached_items")]
  ;; now use the store
  (has? store (genenrate-uuid)) ;= false
  (lookup store "another-key")
  (evict store "third-key")
  ;; puts a new value in the cache
  (miss store "fourth-key" {:name "Joe" :score 10288}))

Then use the store like you would any other core.cache store, database backed or not.

It is common to use capped or TTL collections for caches. Pass monger.cache/basic-monger-cache-factory a database and collection name, and the cache instance will use it:

(ns monger.docs.examples
  (:require [monger.core :as mg]
            [clojure.core.cache :refer :all]
            [monger.cache :refer :all]))

(defn generate-uuid
  (str (java.util.UUID/randomUUID)))

(let [conn  (mg/connect)
      db    (mg/get-db conn "monger-test")
      store (basic-monger-cache-factory db "myapp.caches")]
  (comment "The store will now use the myapp.caches collection"))

To learn more about the clojure.core.cache protocol and functions it provides, see clojure.core.cache documentation.

Using MongoDB-backed Ring session store with Monger 1.0

Monger provides a MongoDB-backed session store for Ring, Clojure's ubiquitous HTTP middleware library. It can be found in the monger.ring.session-store namespace. To create a new store, use the monger.ring.session-store/monger-store that takes a database and name of the collection sessions will be stored in:

(ns monger.docs.examples
  (:require [monger.core :as mg]
            [monger.ring.session-store :refer [monger-store]]))

;; create a new store, typically passed to server handlers
;; with libraries like Compojure
(let [conn  (mg/connect)
      db    (mg/get-db conn "monger-test")]
  (monger-store db "sessions"))

Using MongoDB-backed Ring Session Store With Monger

Monger provides an alternative MongoDB-backed Ring session store that uses Clojure reader serialization. This means this store stores data in a way that non-Clojure applications won't be able to read easily but also supports edge cases in Clojure data type serialization that Monger itself does not, for example, namespaced keywords (like ::identity).

This is the Ring session store you should use if you want to use Monger with Friend, a popular authentication and authorization library for Clojure.

It works exactly the same way but the name of the function that creates a store is different:

(ns monger.docs.examples
  (:require [monger.core :as mg]
            [monger.ring.session-store :refer [session-store]]))

(let [conn  (mg/connect)
      db    (mg/get-db conn "monger-test")]
  (session-store db "sessions"))

The documentation is organized as a number of guides, covering all kinds of topics.

We recommend that you read the following guides first, if possible, in this order:

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