The documents tend to look just like records in 1NF at this stage.
For an array of primitive values the output of
$unwind looks similar to First normal form (1NF), but pedantically the
$unwind output should be expected to be UNF (Unnormalised form) since:
- documents output by
$unwind do not have a unique key constraint (although arguably the
includeArrayIndex option can be used to provide an explicit row identifier)
- arrays support complex data types (nested arrays and documents)
I have searched and searched and not found that phrase uttered in any Mongo topics, certainly it was not said in courses I took in MongoDB University.
Database normalisation is a strongly RDBMS concept, where you design a model to reduce data redundancy ("How to efficiently store data"). Standard normal forms are expressions of more rigid data relationships and constraints for tabular data.
MongoDB data model design is application-centric ("How to efficiently use data"). Since the decision on whether to normalise or denormalise data is influenced by the usage context, data model discussion generally focuses on data growth and use case patterns rather than highly normalised forms.
Is 1NF essentially the same thing as the data form necessary for an aggregation step?
1NF (or an
$unwind operation) certainly isn't a necessary step for aggregating or transforming arrays. MongoDB has other array expression operators such as
$map which implement different data transformations.
Is there any data manipulation term for it?
I'm not sure if there are any generally accepted terms, but I think an
$unwind operation would typically be described as either "flattening" or "unnesting" arrays.