User-defined Functions

User-defined functions (UDFs) are extension points to call frequently used logic or custom logic that cannot be expressed otherwise in queries.

User-defined functions can be implemented in a JVM language (such as Java or Scala) or Python. An implementer can use arbitrary third party libraries within a UDF. This page will focus on JVM-based languages.

Overview

Currently, Flink distinguishes between the following kinds of functions:

  • Scalar functions map scalar values to a new scalar value.
  • Table functions map scalar values to new rows.
  • Aggregate functions map scalar values of multiple rows to a new scalar value.
  • Table aggregate functions map scalar values of multiple rows to new rows.
  • Async table functions are special functions for table sources that perform a lookup.

The following example shows how to create a simple scalar function and how to call the function in both Table API and SQL.

For SQL queries, a function must always be registered under a name. For Table API, a function can be registered or directly used inline.

import org.apache.flink.table.api.*;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction;
import static org.apache.flink.table.api.Expressions.*;

// define function logic
public static class SubstringFunction extends ScalarFunction {
  public String eval(String s, Integer begin, Integer end) {
    return s.substring(begin, end);
  }
}

TableEnvironment env = TableEnvironment.create(...);

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call(SubstringFunction.class, $("myField"), 5, 12));

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("SubstringFunction", SubstringFunction.class);

// call registered function in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call("SubstringFunction", $("myField"), 5, 12));

// call registered function in SQL
env.sqlQuery("SELECT SubstringFunction(myField, 5, 12) FROM MyTable");
import org.apache.flink.table.api._
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction

// define function logic
class SubstringFunction extends ScalarFunction {
  def eval(s: String, begin: Integer, end: Integer): String = {
    s.substring(begin, end)
  }
}

val env = TableEnvironment.create(...)

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call(classOf[SubstringFunction], $"myField", 5, 12))

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("SubstringFunction", classOf[SubstringFunction])

// call registered function in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call("SubstringFunction", $"myField", 5, 12))

// call registered function in SQL
env.sqlQuery("SELECT SubstringFunction(myField, 5, 12) FROM MyTable")

For interactive sessions, it is also possible to parameterize functions before using or registering them. In this case, function instances instead of function classes can be used as temporary functions.

It requires that the parameters are serializable for shipping function instances to the cluster.

import org.apache.flink.table.api.*;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction;
import static org.apache.flink.table.api.Expressions.*;

// define parameterizable function logic
public static class SubstringFunction extends ScalarFunction {

  private boolean endInclusive;

  public SubstringFunction(boolean endInclusive) {
    this.endInclusive = endInclusive;
  }

  public String eval(String s, Integer begin, Integer end) {
    return s.substring(a, endInclusive ? end + 1 : end);
  }
}

TableEnvironment env = TableEnvironment.create(...);

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call(new SubstringFunction(true), $("myField"), 5, 12));

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("SubstringFunction", new SubstringFunction(true));
import org.apache.flink.table.api._
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction

// define parameterizable function logic
class SubstringFunction(val endInclusive) extends ScalarFunction {
  def eval(s: String, begin: Integer, end: Integer): String = {
    s.substring(endInclusive ? end + 1 : end)
  }
}

val env = TableEnvironment.create(...)

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call(new SubstringFunction(true), $"myField", 5, 12))

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("SubstringFunction", new SubstringFunction(true))

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Implementation Guide

Independent of the kind of function, all user-defined functions follow some basic implementation principles.

Function Class

An implementation class must extend from one of the available base classes (e.g. org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction).

The class must be declared public, not abstract, and should be globally accessible. Thus, non-static inner or anonymous classes are not allowed.

For storing a user-defined function in a persistent catalog, the class must have a default constructor and must be instantiable during runtime.

Evaluation Methods

The base class provides a set of methods that can be overridden such as open(), close(), or isDeterministic().

However, in addition to those declared methods, the main runtime logic that is applied to every incoming record must be implemented through specialized evaluation methods.

Depending on the function kind, evaluation methods such as eval(), accumulate(), or retract() are called by code-generated operators during runtime.

The methods must be declared public and take a well-defined set of arguments.

Regular JVM method calling semantics apply. Therefore, it is possible to:

  • implement overloaded methods such as eval(Integer) and eval(LocalDateTime),
  • use var-args such as eval(Integer...),
  • use object inheritance such as eval(Object) that takes both LocalDateTime and Integer,
  • and combinations of the above such as eval(Object...) that takes all kinds of arguments.

If you intend to implement functions in Scala, please add the scala.annotation.varargs annotation in case of variable arguments. Furthermore, it is recommended to use boxed primitives (e.g. java.lang.Integer instead of Int) to support NULL.

The following snippets shows an example of an overloaded function:

import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction;

// function with overloaded evaluation methods
public static class SumFunction extends ScalarFunction {

  public Integer eval(Integer a, Integer b) {
    return a + b;
  }

  public Integer eval(String a, String b) {
    return Integer.valueOf(a) + Integer.valueOf();
  }

  public Integer eval(Double... d) {
    double result = 0;
    for (double value : d)
      result += value;
    return (int) result;
  }
}
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction
import java.lang.Integer
import java.lang.Double
import scala.annotation.varargs

// function with overloaded evaluation methods
class SumFunction extends ScalarFunction {

  def eval(a: Integer, b: Integer): Integer = {
    a + b
  }

  def eval(a: String, b: String): Integer = {
    Integer.valueOf(a) + Integer.valueOf(b)
  }

  @varargs // generate var-args like Java
  def eval(d: Double*): Integer = {
    d.sum.toInt
  }
}

Type Inference

The table ecosystem (similar to the SQL standard) is a strongly typed API. Therefore, both function parameters and return types must be mapped to a data type.

From a logical perspective, the planner needs information about expected types, precision, and scale. From a JVM perspective, the planner needs information about how internal data structures are represented as JVM objects when calling a user-defined function.

The logic for validating input arguments and deriving data types for both the parameters and the result of a function is summarized under the term type inference.

Flink’s user-defined functions implement an automatic type inference extraction that derives data types from the function’s class and its evaluation methods via reflection. If this implicit reflective extraction approach is not successful, the extraction process can be supported by annotating affected parameters, classes, or methods with @DataTypeHint and @FunctionHint. More examples on how to annotate functions are shown below.

If more advanced type inference logic is required, an implementer can explicitly override the getTypeInference() method in every user-defined function. However, the annotation approach is recommended because it keeps custom type inference logic close to the affected locations and falls back to the default behavior for the remaining implementation.

Automatic Type Inference

The automatic type inference inspects the function’s class and evaluation methods to derive data types for the arguments and result of a function. @DataTypeHint and @FunctionHint annotations support the automatic extraction.

For a full list of classes that can be implicitly mapped to a data type, see the data type extraction section.

@DataTypeHint

In many scenarios, it is required to support the automatic extraction inline for paramaters and return types of a function

The following example shows how to use data type hints. More information can be found in the documentation of the annotation class.

import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.DataTypeHint;
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.InputGroup;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction;
import org.apache.flink.types.Row;

// function with overloaded evaluation methods
public static class OverloadedFunction extends ScalarFunction {

  // no hint required
  public Long eval(long a, long b) {
    return a + b;
  }

  // define the precision and scale of a decimal
  public @DataTypeHint("DECIMAL(12, 3)") BigDecimal eval(double a, double b) {
    return BigDecimal.valueOf(a + b);
  }

  // define a nested data type
  @DataTypeHint("ROW<s STRING, t TIMESTAMP(3) WITH LOCAL TIME ZONE>")
  public Row eval(int i) {
    return Row.of(String.valueOf(i), Instant.ofEpochSecond(i));
  }

  // allow wildcard input and customly serialized output
  @DataTypeHint(value = "RAW", bridgedTo = ByteBuffer.class)
  public ByteBuffer eval(@DataTypeHint(inputGroup = InputGroup.ANY) Object o) {
    return MyUtils.serializeToByteBuffer(o);
  }
}
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.DataTypeHint
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.InputGroup
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction
import org.apache.flink.types.Row
import scala.annotation.varargs

// function with overloaded evaluation methods
class OverloadedFunction extends ScalarFunction {

  // no hint required
  def eval(a: Long, b: Long): Long = {
    a + b
  }

  // define the precision and scale of a decimal
  @DataTypeHint("DECIMAL(12, 3)")
  def eval(double a, double b): BigDecimal = {
    java.lang.BigDecimal.valueOf(a + b)
  }

  // define a nested data type
  @DataTypeHint("ROW<s STRING, t TIMESTAMP(3) WITH LOCAL TIME ZONE>")
  def eval(Int i): Row = {
    Row.of(java.lang.String.valueOf(i), java.time.Instant.ofEpochSecond(i))
  }

  // allow wildcard input and customly serialized output
  @DataTypeHint(value = "RAW", bridgedTo = classOf[java.nio.ByteBuffer])
  def eval(@DataTypeHint(inputGroup = InputGroup.ANY) Object o): java.nio.ByteBuffer = {
    MyUtils.serializeToByteBuffer(o)
  }
}

@FunctionHint

In some scenarios, it is desirable that one evaluation method handles multiple different data types at the same time. Furthermore, in some scenarios, overloaded evaluation methods have a common result type that should be declared only once.

The @FunctionHint annotation can provide a mapping from argument data types to a result data type. It enables annotating entire function classes or evaluation methods for input, accumulator, and result data types. One or more annotations can be declared on top of a class or individually for each evaluation method for overloading function signatures. All hint parameters are optional. If a parameter is not defined, the default reflection-based extraction is used. Hint parameters defined on top of a function class are inherited by all evaluation methods.

The following example shows how to use function hints. More information can be found in the documentation of the annotation class.

import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.DataTypeHint;
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.FunctionHint;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableFunction;
import org.apache.flink.types.Row;

// function with overloaded evaluation methods
// but globally defined output type
@FunctionHint(output = @DataTypeHint("ROW<s STRING, i INT>"))
public static class OverloadedFunction extends TableFunction<Row> {

  public void eval(int a, int b) {
    collect(Row.of("Sum", a + b));
  }

  // overloading of arguments is still possible
  public void eval() {
    collect(Row.of("Empty args", -1));
  }
}

// decouples the type inference from evaluation methods,
// the type inference is entirely determined by the function hints
@FunctionHint(
  input = [@DataTypeHint("INT"), @DataTypeHint("INT")],
  output = @DataTypeHint("INT")
)
@FunctionHint(
  input = [@DataTypeHint("BIGINT"), @DataTypeHint("BIGINT")],
  output = @DataTypeHint("BIGINT")
)
@FunctionHint(
  input = [],
  output = @DataTypeHint("BOOLEAN")
)
public static class OverloadedFunction extends TableFunction<Object> {

  // an implementer just needs to make sure that a method exists
  // that can be called by the JVM
  public void eval(Object... o) {
    if (o.length == 0) {
      collect(false);
    }
    collect(o[0]);
  }
}
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.DataTypeHint
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.FunctionHint
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableFunction
import org.apache.flink.types.Row

// function with overloaded evaluation methods
// but globally defined output type
@FunctionHint(output = new DataTypeHint("ROW<s STRING, i INT>"))
class OverloadedFunction extends TableFunction[Row] {

  def eval(a: Int, b: Int): Unit = {
    collect(Row.of("Sum", Int.box(a + b)))
  }

  // overloading of arguments is still possible
  def eval(): Unit = {
    collect(Row.of("Empty args", Int.box(-1)))
  }
}

// decouples the type inference from evaluation methods,
// the type inference is entirely determined by the function hints
@FunctionHint(
  input = Array(new DataTypeHint("INT"), new DataTypeHint("INT")),
  output = new DataTypeHint("INT")
)
@FunctionHint(
  input = Array(new DataTypeHint("BIGINT"), new DataTypeHint("BIGINT")),
  output = new DataTypeHint("BIGINT")
)
@FunctionHint(
  input = Array(),
  output = new DataTypeHint("BOOLEAN")
)
class OverloadedFunction extends TableFunction[AnyRef] {

  // an implementer just needs to make sure that a method exists
  // that can be called by the JVM
  @varargs
  def eval(o: AnyRef*) = {
    if (o.length == 0) {
      collect(Boolean.box(false))
    }
    collect(o(0))
  }
}

Custom Type Inference

For most scenarios, @DataTypeHint and @FunctionHint should be sufficient to model user-defined functions. However, by overriding the automatic type inference defined in getTypeInference(), implementers can create arbitrary functions that behave like built-in system functions.

The following example implemented in Java illustrates the potential of a custom type inference logic. It uses a string literal argument to determine the result type of a function. The function takes two string arguments: the first argument represents the string to be parsed, the second argument represents the target type.

import org.apache.flink.table.api.DataTypes;
import org.apache.flink.table.catalog.DataTypeFactory;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction;
import org.apache.flink.table.types.inference.TypeInference;
import org.apache.flink.types.Row;

public static class LiteralFunction extends ScalarFunction {
  public Object eval(String s, String type) {
    switch (type) {
      case "INT":
        return Integer.valueOf(s);
      case "DOUBLE":
        return Double.valueOf(s);
      case "STRING":
      default:
        return s;
    }
  }

  // the automatic, reflection-based type inference is disabled and
  // replaced by the following logic
  @Override
  public TypeInference getTypeInference(DataTypeFactory typeFactory) {
    return TypeInference.newBuilder()
      // specify typed arguments
      // parameters will be casted implicitly to those types if necessary
      .typedArguments(DataTypes.STRING(), DataTypes.STRING())
      // specify a strategy for the result data type of the function
      .outputTypeStrategy(callContext -> {
        if (!callContext.isArgumentLiteral(1) || callContext.isArgumentNull(1)) {
          throw callContext.newValidationError("Literal expected for second argument.");
        }
        // return a data type based on a literal
        final String literal = callContext.getArgumentValue(1, String.class).orElse("STRING");
        switch (literal) {
          case "INT":
            return Optional.of(DataTypes.INT().notNull());
          case "DOUBLE":
            return Optional.of(DataTypes.DOUBLE().notNull());
          case "STRING":
          default:
            return Optional.of(DataTypes.STRING());
        }
      })
      .build();
  }
}

Determinism

Every user-defined function class can declare whether it produces deterministic results or not by overriding the isDeterministic() method. If the function is not purely functional (like random(), date(), or now()), the method must return false. By default, isDeterministic() returns true.

Furthermore, the isDeterministic() method might also influence the runtime behavior. A runtime implementation might be called at two different stages:

During planning (i.e. pre-flight phase): If a function is called with constant expressions or constant expressions can be derived from the given statement, a function is pre-evaluated for constant expression reduction and might not be executed on the cluster anymore. Unless isDeterministic() is used to disable constant expression reduction in this case. For example, the following calls to ABS are executed during planning: SELECT ABS(-1) FROM t and SELECT ABS(field) FROM t WHERE field = -1; whereas SELECT ABS(field) FROM t is not.

During runtime (i.e. cluster execution): If a function is called with non-constant expressions or isDeterministic() returns false.

Runtime Integration

Sometimes it might be necessary for a user-defined function to get global runtime information or do some setup/clean-up work before the actual work. User-defined functions provide open() and close() methods that can be overridden and provide similar functionality as the methods in RichFunction of DataStream API.

The open() method is called once before the evaluation method. The close() method after the last call to the evaluation method.

The open() method provides a FunctionContext that contains information about the context in which user-defined functions are executed, such as the metric group, the distributed cache files, or the global job parameters.

The following information can be obtained by calling the corresponding methods of FunctionContext:

Method Description
getMetricGroup() Metric group for this parallel subtask.
getCachedFile(name) Local temporary file copy of a distributed cache file.
getJobParameter(name, defaultValue) Global job parameter value associated with given key.
getExternalResourceInfos(resourceName) Returns a set of external resource infos associated with the given key.

Note: Depending on the context in which the function is executed, not all methods from above might be available. For example, during constant expression reduction adding a metric is a no-op operation.

The following example snippet shows how to use FunctionContext in a scalar function for accessing a global job parameter:

import org.apache.flink.table.api.*;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.FunctionContext;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction;

public static class HashCodeFunction extends ScalarFunction {

    private int factor = 0;

    @Override
    public void open(FunctionContext context) throws Exception {
        // access the global "hashcode_factor" parameter
        // "12" would be the default value if the parameter does not exist
        factor = Integer.parseInt(context.getJobParameter("hashcode_factor", "12"));
    }

    public int eval(String s) {
        return s.hashCode() * factor;
    }
}

TableEnvironment env = TableEnvironment.create(...);

// add job parameter
env.getConfig().addJobParameter("hashcode_factor", "31");

// register the function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("hashCode", HashCodeFunction.class);

// use the function
env.sqlQuery("SELECT myField, hashCode(myField) FROM MyTable");
import org.apache.flink.table.api._
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.FunctionContext
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction

class HashCodeFunction extends ScalarFunction {

  private var factor: Int = 0

  override def open(context: FunctionContext): Unit = {
    // access the global "hashcode_factor" parameter
    // "12" would be the default value if the parameter does not exist
    factor = context.getJobParameter("hashcode_factor", "12").toInt
  }

  def eval(s: String): Int = {
    s.hashCode * factor
  }
}

val env = TableEnvironment.create(...)

// add job parameter
env.getConfig.addJobParameter("hashcode_factor", "31")

// register the function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("hashCode", classOf[HashCodeFunction])

// use the function
env.sqlQuery("SELECT myField, hashCode(myField) FROM MyTable")

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Scalar Functions

A user-defined scalar function maps zero, one, or multiple scalar values to a new scalar value. Any data type listed in the data types section can be used as a parameter or return type of an evaluation method.

In order to define a scalar function, one has to extend the base class ScalarFunction in org.apache.flink.table.functions and implement one or more evaluation methods named eval(...).

The following example shows how to define your own hash code function and call it in a query. See the Implementation Guide for more details.

import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.InputGroup;
import org.apache.flink.table.api.*;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction;
import static org.apache.flink.table.api.Expressions.*;

public static class HashFunction extends ScalarFunction {

  // take any data type and return INT
  public int eval(@DataTypeHint(inputGroup = InputGroup.ANY) Object o) {
    return o.hashCode();
  }
}

TableEnvironment env = TableEnvironment.create(...);

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call(HashFunction.class, $("myField")));

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("HashFunction", HashFunction.class);

// call registered function in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call("HashFunction", $("myField")));

// call registered function in SQL
env.sqlQuery("SELECT HashFunction(myField) FROM MyTable");
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.InputGroup
import org.apache.flink.table.api._
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.ScalarFunction

class HashFunction extends ScalarFunction {

  // take any data type and return INT
  def eval(@DataTypeHint(inputGroup = InputGroup.ANY) o: AnyRef): Int = {
    o.hashCode()
  }
}

val env = TableEnvironment.create(...)

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call(classOf[HashFunction], $"myField"))

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("HashFunction", classOf[HashFunction])

// call registered function in Table API
env.from("MyTable").select(call("HashFunction", $"myField"))

// call registered function in SQL
env.sqlQuery("SELECT HashFunction(myField) FROM MyTable")

If you intend to implement or call functions in Python, please refer to the Python Scalar Functions documentation for more details.

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Table Functions

Similar to a user-defined scalar function, a user-defined table function (UDTF) takes zero, one, or multiple scalar values as input arguments. However, it can return an arbitrary number of rows (or structured types) as output instead of a single value. The returned record may consist of one or more fields. If an output record consists of only a single field, the structured record can be omitted, and a scalar value can be emitted that will be implicitly wrapped into a row by the runtime.

In order to define a table function, one has to extend the base class TableFunction in org.apache.flink.table.functions and implement one or more evaluation methods named eval(...). Similar to other functions, input and output data types are automatically extracted using reflection. This includes the generic argument T of the class for determining an output data type. In contrast to scalar functions, the evaluation method itself must not have a return type, instead, table functions provide a collect(T) method that can be called within every evaluation method for emitting zero, one, or more records.

In the Table API, a table function is used with .joinLateral(...) or .leftOuterJoinLateral(...). The joinLateral operator (cross) joins each row from the outer table (table on the left of the operator) with all rows produced by the table-valued function (which is on the right side of the operator). The leftOuterJoinLateral operator joins each row from the outer table (table on the left of the operator) with all rows produced by the table-valued function (which is on the right side of the operator) and preserves outer rows for which the table function returns an empty table.

In SQL, use LATERAL TABLE(<TableFunction>) with JOIN or LEFT JOIN with an ON TRUE join condition.

The following example shows how to define your own split function and call it in a query. See the Implementation Guide for more details.

import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.DataTypeHint;
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.FunctionHint;
import org.apache.flink.table.api.*;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableFunction;
import org.apache.flink.types.Row;
import static org.apache.flink.table.api.Expressions.*;

@FunctionHint(output = @DataTypeHint("ROW<word STRING, length INT>"))
public static class SplitFunction extends TableFunction<Row> {

  public void eval(String str) {
    for (String s : str.split(" ")) {
      // use collect(...) to emit a row
      collect(Row.of(s, s.length()));
    }
  }
}

TableEnvironment env = TableEnvironment.create(...);

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .joinLateral(call(SplitFunction.class, $("myField")))
  .select($("myField"), $("word"), $("length"));
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .leftOuterJoinLateral(call(SplitFunction.class, $("myField")))
  .select($("myField"), $("word"), $("length"));

// rename fields of the function in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .leftOuterJoinLateral(call(SplitFunction.class, $("myField")).as("newWord", "newLength"))
  .select($("myField"), $("newWord"), $("newLength"));

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("SplitFunction", SplitFunction.class);

// call registered function in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .joinLateral(call("SplitFunction", $("myField")))
  .select($("myField"), $("word"), $("length"));
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .leftOuterJoinLateral(call("SplitFunction", $("myField")))
  .select($("myField"), $("word"), $("length"));

// call registered function in SQL
env.sqlQuery(
  "SELECT myField, word, length " +
  "FROM MyTable, LATERAL TABLE(SplitFunction(myField))");
env.sqlQuery(
  "SELECT myField, word, length " +
  "FROM MyTable " +
  "LEFT JOIN LATERAL TABLE(SplitFunction(myField)) ON TRUE");

// rename fields of the function in SQL
env.sqlQuery(
  "SELECT myField, newWord, newLength " +
  "FROM MyTable " +
  "LEFT JOIN LATERAL TABLE(SplitFunction(myField)) AS T(newWord, newLength) ON TRUE");
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.DataTypeHint
import org.apache.flink.table.annotation.FunctionHint
import org.apache.flink.table.api._
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableFunction
import org.apache.flink.types.Row

@FunctionHint(output = new DataTypeHint("ROW<word STRING, length INT>"))
class SplitFunction extends TableFunction[Row] {

  def eval(str: String): Unit = {
    // use collect(...) to emit a row
    str.split(" ").foreach(s => collect(Row.of(s, Int.box(s.length))))
  }
}

val env = TableEnvironment.create(...)

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .joinLateral(call(classOf[SplitFunction], $"myField")
  .select($"myField", $"word", $"length")
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .leftOuterJoinLateral(call(classOf[SplitFunction], $"myField"))
  .select($"myField", $"word", $"length")

// rename fields of the function in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .leftOuterJoinLateral(call(classOf[SplitFunction], $"myField").as("newWord", "newLength"))
  .select($"myField", $"newWord", $"newLength")

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("SplitFunction", classOf[SplitFunction])

// call registered function in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .joinLateral(call("SplitFunction", $"myField"))
  .select($"myField", $"word", $"length")
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .leftOuterJoinLateral(call("SplitFunction", $"myField"))
  .select($"myField", $"word", $"length")

// call registered function in SQL
env.sqlQuery(
  "SELECT myField, word, length " +
  "FROM MyTable, LATERAL TABLE(SplitFunction(myField))")
env.sqlQuery(
  "SELECT myField, word, length " +
  "FROM MyTable " +
  "LEFT JOIN LATERAL TABLE(SplitFunction(myField)) ON TRUE")

// rename fields of the function in SQL
env.sqlQuery(
  "SELECT myField, newWord, newLength " +
  "FROM MyTable " +
  "LEFT JOIN LATERAL TABLE(SplitFunction(myField)) AS T(newWord, newLength) ON TRUE")

If you intend to implement functions in Scala, do not implement a table function as a Scala object. Scala objects are singletons and will cause concurrency issues.

If you intend to implement or call functions in Python, please refer to the Python Table Functions documentation for more details.

Back to top

Aggregate Functions

A user-defined aggregate function (UDAGG) maps scalar values of multiple rows to a new scalar value.

The behavior of an aggregate function is centered around the concept of an accumulator. The accumulator is an intermediate data structure that stores the aggregated values until a final aggregation result is computed.

For each set of rows that needs to be aggregated, the runtime will create an empty accumulator by calling createAccumulator(). Subsequently, the accumulate(...) method of the function is called for each input row to update the accumulator. Once all rows have been processed, the getValue(...) method of the function is called to compute and return the final result.

The following example illustrates the aggregation process:

UDAGG mechanism

In the example, we assume a table that contains data about beverages. The table consists of three columns (id, name, and price) and 5 rows. We would like to find the highest price of all beverages in the table, i.e., perform a max() aggregation. We need to consider each of the 5 rows. The result is a single numeric value.

In order to define an aggregate function, one has to extend the base class AggregateFunction in org.apache.flink.table.functions and implement one or more evaluation methods named accumulate(...). An accumulate method must be declared publicly and not static. Accumulate methods can also be overloaded by implementing multiple methods named accumulate.

By default, input, accumulator, and output data types are automatically extracted using reflection. This includes the generic argument ACC of the class for determining an accumulator data type and the generic argument T for determining an accumulator data type. Input arguments are derived from one or more accumulate(...) methods. See the Implementation Guide for more details.

If you intend to implement or call functions in Python, please refer to the Python Functions documentation for more details.

The following example shows how to define your own aggregate function and call it in a query.

import org.apache.flink.table.api.*;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.AggregateFunction;
import static org.apache.flink.table.api.Expressions.*;

// mutable accumulator of structured type for the aggregate function
public static class WeightedAvgAccumulator {
  public long sum = 0;
  public int count = 0;
}

// function that takes (value BIGINT, weight INT), stores intermediate results in a structured
// type of WeightedAvgAccumulator, and returns the weighted average as BIGINT
public static class WeightedAvg extends AggregateFunction<Long, WeightedAvgAccumulator> {

  @Override
  public WeightedAvgAccumulator createAccumulator() {
    return new WeightedAvgAccumulator();
  }

  @Override
  public Long getValue(WeightedAvgAccumulator acc) {
    if (acc.count == 0) {
      return null;
    } else {
      return acc.sum / acc.count;
    }
  }

  public void accumulate(WeightedAvgAccumulator acc, Long iValue, Integer iWeight) {
    acc.sum += iValue * iWeight;
    acc.count += iWeight;
  }

  public void retract(WeightedAvgAccumulator acc, Long iValue, Integer iWeight) {
    acc.sum -= iValue * iWeight;
    acc.count -= iWeight;
  }

  public void merge(WeightedAvgAccumulator acc, Iterable<WeightedAvgAccumulator> it) {
    for (WeightedAvgAccumulator a : it) {
      acc.count += a.count;
      acc.sum += a.sum;
    }
  }

  public void resetAccumulator(WeightedAvgAccumulator acc) {
    acc.count = 0;
    acc.sum = 0L;
  }
}

TableEnvironment env = TableEnvironment.create(...);

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($("myField"))
  .select($("myField"), call(WeightedAvg.class, $("value"), $("weight")));

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("WeightedAvg", WeightedAvg.class);

// call registered function in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($("myField"))
  .select($("myField"), call("WeightedAvg", $("value"), $("weight")));

// call registered function in SQL
env.sqlQuery(
  "SELECT myField, WeightedAvg(value, weight) FROM MyTable GROUP BY myField"
);
import org.apache.flink.table.api._
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.AggregateFunction

// mutable accumulator of structured type for the aggregate function
case class WeightedAvgAccumulator(
  var sum: Long = 0,
  var count: Int = 0
)

// function that takes (value BIGINT, weight INT), stores intermediate results in a structured
// type of WeightedAvgAccumulator, and returns the weighted average as BIGINT
class WeightedAvg extends AggregateFunction[java.lang.Long, WeightedAvgAccumulator] {

  override def createAccumulator(): WeightedAvgAccumulator = {
    WeightedAvgAccumulator()
  }

  override def getValue(acc: WeightedAvgAccumulator): java.lang.Long = {
    if (acc.count == 0) {
      null
    } else {
      acc.sum / acc.count
    }
  }

  def accumulate(acc: WeightedAvgAccumulator, iValue: java.lang.Long, iWeight: java.lang.Integer): Unit = {
    acc.sum += iValue * iWeight
    acc.count += iWeight
  }

  def retract(acc: WeightedAvgAccumulator, iValue: java.lang.Long, iWeight: java.lang.Integer): Unit = {
    acc.sum -= iValue * iWeight
    acc.count -= iWeight
  }

  def merge(acc: WeightedAvgAccumulator, it: java.lang.Iterable[WeightedAvgAccumulator]): Unit = {
    val iter = it.iterator()
    while (iter.hasNext) {
      val a = iter.next()
      acc.count += a.count
      acc.sum += a.sum
    }
  }

  def resetAccumulator(acc: WeightedAvgAccumulator): Unit = {
    acc.count = 0
    acc.sum = 0L
  }
}

val env = TableEnvironment.create(...)

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($"myField")
  .select($"myField", call(classOf[WeightedAvg], $"value", $"weight"))

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("WeightedAvg", classOf[WeightedAvg])

// call registered function in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($"myField")
  .select($"myField", call("WeightedAvg", $"value", $"weight"))

// call registered function in SQL
env.sqlQuery(
  "SELECT myField, WeightedAvg(value, weight) FROM MyTable GROUP BY myField"
)

The accumulate(...) method of our WeightedAvg class takes three inputs. The first one is the accumulator and the other two are user-defined inputs. In order to calculate a weighted average value, the accumulator needs to store the weighted sum and count of all the data that has been accumulated. In our example, we define a class WeightedAvgAccumulator to be the accumulator. Accumulators are automatically managed by Flink’s checkpointing mechanism and are restored in case of a failure to ensure exactly-once semantics.

Mandatory and Optional Methods

The following methods are mandatory for each AggregateFunction:

  • createAccumulator()
  • accumulate(...)
  • getValue(...)

Additionally, there are a few methods that can be optionally implemented. While some of these methods allow the system more efficient query execution, others are mandatory for certain use cases. For instance, the merge(...) method is mandatory if the aggregation function should be applied in the context of a session group window (the accumulators of two session windows need to be joined when a row is observed that “connects” them).

The following methods of AggregateFunction are required depending on the use case:

  • retract(...) is required for aggregations on OVER windows.
  • merge(...) is required for many bounded aggregations and session window aggregations.

If the aggregate function can only be applied in an OVER window, this can be declared by returning the requirement FunctionRequirement.OVER_WINDOW_ONLY in getRequirements().

If an accumulator needs to store large amounts of data, org.apache.flink.table.api.dataview.ListView and org.apache.flink.table.api.dataview.MapView provide advanced features for leveraging Flink’s state backends in unbounded data scenarios. Please see the docs of the corresponding classes for more information about this advanced feature.

Since some of the methods are optional, or can be overloaded, the runtime invokes aggregate function methods via generated code. This means the base class does not always provide a signature to be overridden by the concrete implementation. Nevertheless, all mentioned methods must be declared publicly, not static, and named exactly as the names mentioned above to be called.

Detailed documentation for all methods that are not declared in AggregateFunction and called by generated code is given below.

accumulate(...)

/*
 * Processes the input values and updates the provided accumulator instance. The method
 * accumulate can be overloaded with different custom types and arguments. An aggregate function
 * requires at least one accumulate() method.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: [user defined inputs] the input value (usually obtained from new arrived data).
 */
public void accumulate(ACC accumulator, [user defined inputs])
/*
 * Processes the input values and updates the provided accumulator instance. The method
 * accumulate can be overloaded with different custom types and arguments. An aggregate function
 * requires at least one accumulate() method.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: [user defined inputs] the input value (usually obtained from new arrived data).
 */
def accumulate(accumulator: ACC, [user defined inputs]): Unit

retract(...)

/*
 * Retracts the input values from the accumulator instance. The current design assumes the
 * inputs are the values that have been previously accumulated. The method retract can be
 * overloaded with different custom types and arguments. This method must be implemented for
 * bounded OVER aggregates over unbounded tables.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: [user defined inputs] the input value (usually obtained from new arrived data).
 */
public void retract(ACC accumulator, [user defined inputs])
/*
 * Retracts the input values from the accumulator instance. The current design assumes the
 * inputs are the values that have been previously accumulated. The method retract can be
 * overloaded with different custom types and arguments. This method must be implemented for
 * bounded OVER aggregates over unbounded tables.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: [user defined inputs] the input value (usually obtained from new arrived data).
 */
def retract(accumulator: ACC, [user defined inputs]): Unit

merge(...)

/*
 * Merges a group of accumulator instances into one accumulator instance. This method must be
 * implemented for unbounded session window grouping aggregates and bounded grouping aggregates.
 *
 * param: accumulator the accumulator which will keep the merged aggregate results. It should
 *                    be noted that the accumulator may contain the previous aggregated
 *                    results. Therefore user should not replace or clean this instance in the
 *                    custom merge method.
 * param: iterable    an java.lang.Iterable pointed to a group of accumulators that will be
 *                    merged.
 */
public void merge(ACC accumulator, java.lang.Iterable<ACC> iterable)
/*
 * Merges a group of accumulator instances into one accumulator instance. This method must be
 * implemented for unbounded session window grouping aggregates and bounded grouping aggregates.
 *
 * param: accumulator the accumulator which will keep the merged aggregate results. It should
 *                    be noted that the accumulator may contain the previous aggregated
 *                    results. Therefore user should not replace or clean this instance in the
 *                    custom merge method.
 * param: iterable    an java.lang.Iterable pointed to a group of accumulators that will be
 *                    merged.
 */
def merge(accumulator: ACC, iterable: java.lang.Iterable[ACC]): Unit

Back to top

Table Aggregate Functions

A user-defined table aggregate function (UDTAGG) maps scalar values of multiple rows to zero, one, or multiple rows (or structured types). The returned record may consist of one or more fields. If an output record consists of only a single field, the structured record can be omitted, and a scalar value can be emitted that will be implicitly wrapped into a row by the runtime.

Similar to an aggregate function, the behavior of a table aggregate is centered around the concept of an accumulator. The accumulator is an intermediate data structure that stores the aggregated values until a final aggregation result is computed.

For each set of rows that needs to be aggregated, the runtime will create an empty accumulator by calling createAccumulator(). Subsequently, the accumulate(...) method of the function is called for each input row to update the accumulator. Once all rows have been processed, the emitValue(...) or emitUpdateWithRetract(...) method of the function is called to compute and return the final result.

The following example illustrates the aggregation process:

UDTAGG mechanism

In the example, we assume a table that contains data about beverages. The table consists of three columns (id, name, and price) and 5 rows. We would like to find the 2 highest prices of all beverages in the table, i.e., perform a TOP2() table aggregation. We need to consider each of the 5 rows. The result is a table with the top 2 values.

In order to define a table aggregate function, one has to extend the base class TableAggregateFunction in org.apache.flink.table.functions and implement one or more evaluation methods named accumulate(...). An accumulate method must be declared publicly and not static. Accumulate methods can also be overloaded by implementing multiple methods named accumulate.

By default, input, accumulator, and output data types are automatically extracted using reflection. This includes the generic argument ACC of the class for determining an accumulator data type and the generic argument T for determining an accumulator data type. Input arguments are derived from one or more accumulate(...) methods. See the Implementation Guide for more details.

If you intend to implement or call functions in Python, please refer to the Python Functions documentation for more details.

The following example shows how to define your own table aggregate function and call it in a query.

import org.apache.flink.api.java.tuple.Tuple2;
import org.apache.flink.table.api.*;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableAggregateFunction;
import org.apache.flink.util.Collector;
import static org.apache.flink.table.api.Expressions.*;

// mutable accumulator of structured type for the aggregate function
public static class Top2Accumulator {
  public Integer first;
  public Integer second;
}

// function that takes (value INT), stores intermediate results in a structured
// type of Top2Accumulator, and returns the result as a structured type of Tuple2<Integer, Integer>
// for value and rank
public static class Top2 extends TableAggregateFunction<Tuple2<Integer, Integer>, Top2Accumulator> {

  @Override
  public Top2Accumulator createAccumulator() {
    Top2Accumulator acc = new Top2Accumulator();
    acc.first = Integer.MIN_VALUE;
    acc.second = Integer.MIN_VALUE;
    return acc;
  }

  public void accumulate(Top2Accumulator acc, Integer value) {
    if (value > acc.first) {
      acc.second = acc.first;
      acc.first = value;
    } else if (value > acc.second) {
      acc.second = value;
    }
  }

  public void merge(Top2Accumulator acc, Iterable<Top2Accumulator> it) {
    for (Top2Accumulator otherAcc : it) {
      accumulate(acc, otherAcc.first);
      accumulate(acc, otherAcc.second);
    }
  }

  public void emitValue(Top2Accumulator acc, Collector<Tuple2<Integer, Integer>> out) {
    // emit the value and rank
    if (acc.first != Integer.MIN_VALUE) {
      out.collect(Tuple2.of(acc.first, 1));
    }
    if (acc.second != Integer.MIN_VALUE) {
      out.collect(Tuple2.of(acc.second, 2));
    }
  }
}

TableEnvironment env = TableEnvironment.create(...);

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($("myField"))
  .flatAggregate(call(Top2.class, $("value")))
  .select($("myField"), $("f0"), $("f1"));

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
// but use an alias for a better naming of Tuple2's fields
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($("myField"))
  .flatAggregate(call(Top2.class, $("value")).as("value", "rank"))
  .select($("myField"), $("value"), $("rank"));

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("Top2", Top2.class);

// call registered function in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($("myField"))
  .flatAggregate(call("Top2", $("value")).as("value", "rank"))
  .select($("myField"), $("value"), $("rank"));
import java.lang.Integer
import org.apache.flink.api.java.tuple.Tuple2
import org.apache.flink.table.api._
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableAggregateFunction
import org.apache.flink.util.Collector

// mutable accumulator of structured type for the aggregate function
case class Top2Accumulator(
  var first: Integer,
  var second: Integer
)

// function that takes (value INT), stores intermediate results in a structured
// type of Top2Accumulator, and returns the result as a structured type of Tuple2[Integer, Integer]
// for value and rank
class Top2 extends TableAggregateFunction[Tuple2[Integer, Integer], Top2Accumulator] {

  override def createAccumulator(): Top2Accumulator = {
    Top2Accumulator(
      Integer.MIN_VALUE,
      Integer.MIN_VALUE
    )
  }

  def accumulate(acc: Top2Accumulator, value: Integer): Unit = {
    if (value > acc.first) {
      acc.second = acc.first
      acc.first = value
    } else if (value > acc.second) {
      acc.second = value
    }
  }

  def merge(acc: Top2Accumulator, it: java.lang.Iterable[Top2Accumulator]) {
    val iter = it.iterator()
    while (iter.hasNext) {
      val otherAcc = iter.next()
      accumulate(acc, otherAcc.first)
      accumulate(acc, otherAcc.second)
    }
  }

  def emitValue(acc: Top2Accumulator, out: Collector[Tuple2[Integer, Integer]]): Unit = {
    // emit the value and rank
    if (acc.first != Integer.MIN_VALUE) {
      out.collect(Tuple2.of(acc.first, 1))
    }
    if (acc.second != Integer.MIN_VALUE) {
      out.collect(Tuple2.of(acc.second, 2))
    }
  }
}

val env = TableEnvironment.create(...)

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($"myField")
  .flatAggregate(call(classOf[Top2], $"value"))
  .select($"myField", $"f0", $"f1")

// call function "inline" without registration in Table API
// but use an alias for a better naming of Tuple2's fields
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($"myField")
  .flatAggregate(call(classOf[Top2], $"value").as("value", "rank"))
  .select($"myField", $"value", $"rank")

// register function
env.createTemporarySystemFunction("Top2", classOf[Top2])

// call registered function in Table API
env
  .from("MyTable")
  .groupBy($"myField")
  .flatAggregate(call("Top2", $"value").as("value", "rank"))
  .select($"myField", $"value", $"rank")

The accumulate(...) method of our Top2 class takes two inputs. The first one is the accumulator and the second one is the user-defined input. In order to calculate a result, the accumulator needs to store the 2 highest values of all the data that has been accumulated. Accumulators are automatically managed by Flink’s checkpointing mechanism and are restored in case of a failure to ensure exactly-once semantics. The result values are emitted together with a ranking index.

Mandatory and Optional Methods

The following methods are mandatory for each TableAggregateFunction:

  • createAccumulator()
  • accumulate(...)
  • emitValue(...) or emitUpdateWithRetract(...)

Additionally, there are a few methods that can be optionally implemented. While some of these methods allow the system more efficient query execution, others are mandatory for certain use cases. For instance, the merge(...) method is mandatory if the aggregation function should be applied in the context of a session group window (the accumulators of two session windows need to be joined when a row is observed that “connects” them).

The following methods of TableAggregateFunction are required depending on the use case:

  • retract(...) is required for aggregations on OVER windows.
  • merge(...) is required for many bounded aggregations and session window aggregations.
  • emitValue(...) is required for bounded and window aggregations.

The following methods of TableAggregateFunction are used to improve the performance of streaming jobs:

  • emitUpdateWithRetract(...) is used to emit values that have been updated under retract mode.

The emitValue(...) method always emits the full data according to the accumulator. In unbounded scenarios, this may bring performance problems. Take a Top N function as an example. The emitValue(...) would emit all N values each time. In order to improve the performance, one can implement emitUpdateWithRetract(...) which outputs data incrementally in retract mode. In other words, once there is an update, the method can retract old records before sending new, updated ones. The method will be used in preference to the emitValue(...) method.

If the table aggregate function can only be applied in an OVER window, this can be declared by returning the requirement FunctionRequirement.OVER_WINDOW_ONLY in getRequirements().

If an accumulator needs to store large amounts of data, org.apache.flink.table.api.dataview.ListView and org.apache.flink.table.api.dataview.MapView provide advanced features for leveraging Flink’s state backends in unbounded data scenarios. Please see the docs of the corresponding classes for more information about this advanced feature.

Since some of methods are optional or can be overloaded, the methods are called by generated code. The base class does not always provide a signature to be overridden by the concrete implementation class. Nevertheless, all mentioned methods must be declared publicly, not static, and named exactly as the names mentioned above to be called.

Detailed documentation for all methods that are not declared in TableAggregateFunction and called by generated code is given below.

accumulate(...)

/*
 * Processes the input values and updates the provided accumulator instance. The method
 * accumulate can be overloaded with different custom types and arguments. An aggregate function
 * requires at least one accumulate() method.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: [user defined inputs] the input value (usually obtained from new arrived data).
 */
public void accumulate(ACC accumulator, [user defined inputs])
/*
 * Processes the input values and updates the provided accumulator instance. The method
 * accumulate can be overloaded with different custom types and arguments. An aggregate function
 * requires at least one accumulate() method.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: [user defined inputs] the input value (usually obtained from new arrived data).
 */
def accumulate(accumulator: ACC, [user defined inputs]): Unit

retract(...)

/*
 * Retracts the input values from the accumulator instance. The current design assumes the
 * inputs are the values that have been previously accumulated. The method retract can be
 * overloaded with different custom types and arguments. This method must be implemented for
 * bounded OVER aggregates over unbounded tables.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: [user defined inputs] the input value (usually obtained from new arrived data).
 */
public void retract(ACC accumulator, [user defined inputs])
/*
 * Retracts the input values from the accumulator instance. The current design assumes the
 * inputs are the values that have been previously accumulated. The method retract can be
 * overloaded with different custom types and arguments. This method must be implemented for
 * bounded OVER aggregates over unbounded tables.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: [user defined inputs] the input value (usually obtained from new arrived data).
 */
def retract(accumulator: ACC, [user defined inputs]): Unit

merge(...)

/*
 * Merges a group of accumulator instances into one accumulator instance. This method must be
 * implemented for unbounded session window grouping aggregates and bounded grouping aggregates.
 *
 * param: accumulator the accumulator which will keep the merged aggregate results. It should
 *                    be noted that the accumulator may contain the previous aggregated
 *                    results. Therefore user should not replace or clean this instance in the
 *                    custom merge method.
 * param: iterable    an java.lang.Iterable pointed to a group of accumulators that will be
 *                    merged.
 */
public void merge(ACC accumulator, java.lang.Iterable<ACC> iterable)
/*
 * Merges a group of accumulator instances into one accumulator instance. This method must be
 * implemented for unbounded session window grouping aggregates and bounded grouping aggregates.
 *
 * param: accumulator the accumulator which will keep the merged aggregate results. It should
 *                    be noted that the accumulator may contain the previous aggregated
 *                    results. Therefore user should not replace or clean this instance in the
 *                    custom merge method.
 * param: iterable    an java.lang.Iterable pointed to a group of accumulators that will be
 *                    merged.
 */
def merge(accumulator: ACC, iterable: java.lang.Iterable[ACC]): Unit

emitValue(...)

/*
 * Called every time when an aggregation result should be materialized. The returned value could
 * be either an early and incomplete result (periodically emitted as data arrives) or the final
 * result of the aggregation.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: out                   the collector used to output data.
 */
public void emitValue(ACC accumulator, org.apache.flink.util.Collector<T> out)
/*
 * Called every time when an aggregation result should be materialized. The returned value could
 * be either an early and incomplete result (periodically emitted as data arrives) or the final
 * result of the aggregation.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: out                   the collector used to output data.
 */
def emitValue(accumulator: ACC, out: org.apache.flink.util.Collector[T]): Unit

emitUpdateWithRetract(...)

/*
 * Called every time when an aggregation result should be materialized. The returned value could
 * be either an early and incomplete result (periodically emitted as data arrives) or the final
 * result of the aggregation.
 *
 * Compared to emitValue(), emitUpdateWithRetract() is used to emit values that have been updated. This method
 * outputs data incrementally in retraction mode (also known as "update before" and "update after"). Once
 * there is an update, we have to retract old records before sending new updated ones. The emitUpdateWithRetract()
 * method will be used in preference to the emitValue() method if both methods are defined in the table aggregate
 * function, because the method is treated to be more efficient than emitValue as it can output
 * values incrementally.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: out                   the retractable collector used to output data. Use the collect() method
 *                              to output(add) records and use retract method to retract(delete)
 *                              records.
 */
public void emitUpdateWithRetract(ACC accumulator, RetractableCollector<T> out)
/*
 * Called every time when an aggregation result should be materialized. The returned value could
 * be either an early and incomplete result (periodically emitted as data arrives) or the final
 * result of the aggregation.
 *
 * Compared to emitValue(), emitUpdateWithRetract() is used to emit values that have been updated. This method
 * outputs data incrementally in retraction mode (also known as "update before" and "update after"). Once
 * there is an update, we have to retract old records before sending new updated ones. The emitUpdateWithRetract()
 * method will be used in preference to the emitValue() method if both methods are defined in the table aggregate
 * function, because the method is treated to be more efficient than emitValue as it can output
 * values incrementally.
 *
 * param: accumulator           the accumulator which contains the current aggregated results
 * param: out                   the retractable collector used to output data. Use the collect() method
 *                              to output(add) records and use retract method to retract(delete)
 *                              records.
 */
def emitUpdateWithRetract(accumulator: ACC, out: RetractableCollector[T]): Unit

Retraction Example

The following example shows how to use the emitUpdateWithRetract(...) method to emit only incremental updates. In order to do so, the accumulator keeps both the old and new top 2 values.

If the N of Top N is big, it might be inefficient to keep both the old and new values. One way to solve this case is to store only the input record in the accumulator in accumulate method and then perform a calculation in emitUpdateWithRetract.

import org.apache.flink.api.java.tuple.Tuple2;
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableAggregateFunction;

public static class Top2WithRetractAccumulator {
  public Integer first;
  public Integer second;
  public Integer oldFirst;
  public Integer oldSecond;
}

public static class Top2WithRetract
    extends TableAggregateFunction<Tuple2<Integer, Integer>, Top2WithRetractAccumulator> {

  @Override
  public Top2WithRetractAccumulator createAccumulator() {
    Top2WithRetractAccumulator acc = new Top2WithRetractAccumulator();
    acc.first = Integer.MIN_VALUE;
    acc.second = Integer.MIN_VALUE;
    acc.oldFirst = Integer.MIN_VALUE;
    acc.oldSecond = Integer.MIN_VALUE;
    return acc;
  }

  public void accumulate(Top2WithRetractAccumulator acc, Integer v) {
    if (v > acc.first) {
      acc.second = acc.first;
      acc.first = v;
    } else if (v > acc.second) {
      acc.second = v;
    }
  }

  public void emitUpdateWithRetract(
      Top2WithRetractAccumulator acc,
      RetractableCollector<Tuple2<Integer, Integer>> out) {
    if (!acc.first.equals(acc.oldFirst)) {
      // if there is an update, retract the old value then emit a new value
      if (acc.oldFirst != Integer.MIN_VALUE) {
          out.retract(Tuple2.of(acc.oldFirst, 1));
      }
      out.collect(Tuple2.of(acc.first, 1));
      acc.oldFirst = acc.first;
    }
    if (!acc.second.equals(acc.oldSecond)) {
      // if there is an update, retract the old value then emit a new value
      if (acc.oldSecond != Integer.MIN_VALUE) {
          out.retract(Tuple2.of(acc.oldSecond, 2));
      }
      out.collect(Tuple2.of(acc.second, 2));
      acc.oldSecond = acc.second;
    }
  }
}
import org.apache.flink.api.java.tuple.Tuple2
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableAggregateFunction
import org.apache.flink.table.functions.TableAggregateFunction.RetractableCollector

case class Top2WithRetractAccumulator(
  var first: Integer,
  var second: Integer,
  var oldFirst: Integer,
  var oldSecond: Integer
)

class Top2WithRetract
    extends TableAggregateFunction[Tuple2[Integer, Integer], Top2WithRetractAccumulator] {

  override def createAccumulator(): Top2WithRetractAccumulator = {
    Top2WithRetractAccumulator(
      Integer.MIN_VALUE,
      Integer.MIN_VALUE,
      Integer.MIN_VALUE,
      Integer.MIN_VALUE
    )
  }

  def accumulate(acc: Top2WithRetractAccumulator, value: Integer): Unit = {
    if (value > acc.first) {
      acc.second = acc.first
      acc.first = value
    } else if (value > acc.second) {
      acc.second = value
    }
  }

  def emitUpdateWithRetract(
      acc: Top2WithRetractAccumulator,
      out: RetractableCollector[Tuple2[Integer, Integer]])
    : Unit = {
    if (!acc.first.equals(acc.oldFirst)) {
      // if there is an update, retract the old value then emit a new value
      if (acc.oldFirst != Integer.MIN_VALUE) {
          out.retract(Tuple2.of(acc.oldFirst, 1))
      }
      out.collect(Tuple2.of(acc.first, 1))
      acc.oldFirst = acc.first
    }
    if (!acc.second.equals(acc.oldSecond)) {
      // if there is an update, retract the old value then emit a new value
      if (acc.oldSecond != Integer.MIN_VALUE) {
          out.retract(Tuple2.of(acc.oldSecond, 2))
      }
      out.collect(Tuple2.of(acc.second, 2))
      acc.oldSecond = acc.second
    }
  }
}

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