Howto: Resolving parse pointer in aggregations

I use an aggregation to resolve parse pointer referencing the user class. Just wanted to share the solution, since I could not find a solution to this in the docs.

Setup: Product class referencing a Parse.User

// Product uses a pointer to User
// user must be a Parse.User
await new Product().set("description", "foo 9000").set("createdBy", user).save();

Resolve pointer in aggregation
Goal is to create list of all products with the Users referenced by field “createdBy” resolved.

// pipeline to list all products with their users
const pipeline = [
    // A parse pointer looks like this in MongoDB:
    // _p_createdBy:"_User$iGy2IHfsRf3"
    // extract the user objectId from the pointer, store it as a new field
    // I rely on the fact, that the prefix "_User$" is constant
    addFields: {
      userId: { $substrBytes: ["$_p_createdBy", 6, 100] },
    lookup: {
      from: "_User", // name of the Parse.User class within MongoDB
      localField: "userId", // the user id we just extracted from the pointer
      foreignField: "_id", // the user id in the _User collection
      as: "UserLookup", // the array to store the lookup
    addFields: {
      user: { $arrayElemAt: ["$UserLookup", 0] }, // pick the first element from the lookup

const query = new Parse.Query("Product");
return await query.aggregate(pipeline);


  • do not use aggregations for basic listing, just load the Product class use a standard Parse.Query and use “.include” to load the User at the same time.
1 Like

That would be great to be documented. Would you be willed to open a PR to the docs repository? GitHub - parse-community/docs: Parse Platform docs