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Document context

This article is about Cardstack internals, and is meant for developers who want to contribute directly to the framework code.

If you are using the @cardstack/pgsearch searcher in your Cardstack application and taken a look at the objects generated in your local postgres database you may have noticed the three columns pristine_doc, search_doc and upstream_doc. These three columns represent the three main Document Contexts that are used internally. It is unlikely that you will work with them directly as an end-user (unless you are developing a Cardstack plugin) but it is important to understand the difference between them so that you can get a feel for how your Card Documents are used internally by the system and you will know which fields are searchable.

Pristine Document

The Pristine Document (often referred to as pristineDoc in the code) is supposed to represent the whole document and all relationships that are configured in the datatype's defaultIncludes definition. This representation of the document will be a deeply-nested data structure that should hold most relationships (all of the relationships that are listed in defaultIncludes) and most of those related documents' relationships and so on. This is quite a useful representation of the full tree of related documents because it allows very fast access to documents and their related documents.

Search Document

The Search Document (often referred to as searchDoc) is very similar to the Pristine Document, in that it can include a deep chain of relationships to other documents but with one important difference: the Search Document does not include fields or relationships that have been marked as not-searchable.

When defining fields you can explicitly mark that field as not searchable as follows:

let factory = new Factory();

factory.addResource('content-types', 'event')
  .withRelated('fields', [
    factory.addResource('fields', 'name').withAttributes({
      fieldType: '@cardstack/core-types::string',
    factory.addResource('fields', 'description').withAttributes({
      fieldType: '@cardstack/core-types::string'
      searchable: false

When dealing with the Document Context of an event document from this example, the Pristine Document will include both of the fields name and description but the Search Document will only contain the name field. In this example use case the intention is that you should be able to use the Cardstack searcher functionality to find events based on their names, but any search for an event by their description would be impossible.

Note this code sample above is using the @cardstack/test-support jsonapi-factory to build the JSON:API definition of the content-type

Upstream Document

Your Cardstack application can be configured with multiple data sources. While this documentation may sometimes refer to these as "External Data Sources" it is important to know that in most cases all data sources are considered external to the Cardstack Hub. For example, if you have configured @cardstack/git to point at a git repository on the same machine that is running your Cardstack application, from the Cardstack Hub's perspective that is no different from configuring the @cardstack/git data source to point at a remote git repository.

The Upstream Document is intended to be a representation of the state of a document in the External Data Source. Because of this it will not contain any nested relationships that have been constructed by the Cardstack Hub.