A NoSQL database

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MongoDB is one of several implementations of what has come to be known as NoSQL databases.

NoSQL databases in general

These are database systems that:

Since NoSQL databases are defined in terms of what they are not, what they are tends to vary a bit, but they are typically some kind of key/value store: think of them as a dictionary in the cloud.

What you lose, as compared to SQL databases, is the power of the SQL query language. What you gain is simplicity. That’s a gross oversimplification, but for purposes of this article it will do—if you want to know more, do a web search on SQL vs NOSQL.

MongoDB vs. MLab

On this site, we’ll describe a provider of MongoDB called MLab.

We focus on MLab mainly because it has a free tier that does not require a credit card. The goal of this website is to support students (broadly defined—whether formally enrolled at a school or not). So we want to focus on techniques for learning that have a few barriers in place as possible.

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