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$first (aggregation)

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Definition

$first

Returns the value that results from applying an expression to the first document in a group of documents that share the same group by key. Only meaningful when documents are in a defined order.

$first is an accumulator operator available only in the $group stage.

$first has the following syntax:

{ $first: <expression> }

For more information on expressions, see Expressions.

Behavior

When using $first in a $group stage, the $group stage should follow a $sort stage to have the input documents in a defined order.

Example

Consider a sales collection with the following documents:

{ "_id" : 1, "item" : "abc", "price" : 10, "quantity" : 2, "date" : ISODate("2014-01-01T08:00:00Z") }
{ "_id" : 2, "item" : "jkl", "price" : 20, "quantity" : 1, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-03T09:00:00Z") }
{ "_id" : 3, "item" : "xyz", "price" : 5, "quantity" : 5, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-03T09:05:00Z") }
{ "_id" : 4, "item" : "abc", "price" : 10, "quantity" : 10, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-15T08:00:00Z") }
{ "_id" : 5, "item" : "xyz", "price" : 5, "quantity" : 10, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-15T09:05:00Z") }
{ "_id" : 6, "item" : "xyz", "price" : 5, "quantity" : 5, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-15T12:05:10Z") }
{ "_id" : 7, "item" : "xyz", "price" : 5, "quantity" : 10, "date" : ISODate("2014-02-15T14:12:12Z") }

Grouping the documents by the item field, the following operation uses the $first accumulator to compute the first sales date for each item:

db.sales.aggregate(
   [
     { $sort: { item: 1, date: 1 } },
     {
       $group:
         {
           _id: "$item",
           firstSalesDate: { $first: "$date" }
         }
     }
   ]
)

The operation returns the following results:

{ "_id" : "xyz", "firstSalesDate" : ISODate("2014-02-03T09:05:00Z") }
{ "_id" : "jkl", "firstSalesDate" : ISODate("2014-02-03T09:00:00Z") }
{ "_id" : "abc", "firstSalesDate" : ISODate("2014-01-01T08:00:00Z") }