RangeTracker (Google Cloud Dataflow SDK 1.9.1 API)

Google Cloud Dataflow SDK for Java, version 1.9.1


Interface RangeTracker<PositionT>

  • Type Parameters:
    PositionT - Type of positions used by the source to define ranges and identify records.
    All Known Implementing Classes:
    ByteKeyRangeTracker, OffsetRangeTracker

    public interface RangeTracker<PositionT>
    A RangeTracker is a thread-safe helper object for implementing dynamic work rebalancing in position-based BoundedSource.BoundedReader subclasses.

    Usage of the RangeTracker class hierarchy

    The abstract RangeTracker interface should not be used per se - all users should use its subclasses directly. We declare it here because all subclasses have roughly the same interface and the same properties, to centralize the documentation. Currently we provide one implementation - OffsetRangeTracker.

    Position-based sources

    A position-based source is one where the source can be described by a range of positions of an ordered type and the records returned by the reader can be described by positions of the same type.

    In case a record occupies a range of positions in the source, the most important thing about the record is the position where it starts.

    Defining the semantics of positions for a source is entirely up to the source class, however the chosen definitions have to obey certain properties in order to make it possible to correctly split the source into parts, including dynamic splitting. Two main aspects need to be defined:

    • How to assign starting positions to records.
    • Which records should be read by a source with a range [A, B).
    Moreover, reading a range must be efficient, i.e., the performance of reading a range should not significantly depend on the location of the range. For example, reading the range [A, B) should not require reading all data before A.

    The sections below explain exactly what properties these definitions must satisfy, and how to use a RangeTracker with a properly defined source.

    Properties of position-based sources

    The main requirement for position-based sources is associativity: reading records from [A, B) and records from [B, C) should give the same records as reading from [A, C), where A <= B <= C. This property ensures that no matter how a range of positions is split into arbitrarily many sub-ranges, the total set of records described by them stays the same.

    The other important property is how the source's range relates to positions of records in the source. In many sources each record can be identified by a unique starting position. In this case:

    • All records returned by a source [A, B) must have starting positions in this range.
    • All but the last record should end within this range. The last record may or may not extend past the end of the range.
    • Records should not overlap.
    Such sources should define "read [A, B)" as "read from the first record starting at or after A, up to but not including the first record starting at or after B".

    Some examples of such sources include reading lines or CSV from a text file, reading keys and values from a BigTable, etc.

    The concept of split points allows to extend the definitions for dealing with sources where some records cannot be identified by a unique starting position.

    In all cases, all records returned by a source [A, B) must start at or after A.

    Split points

    Some sources may have records that are not directly addressable. For example, imagine a file format consisting of a sequence of compressed blocks. Each block can be assigned an offset, but records within the block cannot be directly addressed without decompressing the block. Let us refer to this hypothetical format as CBF (Compressed Blocks Format).

    Many such formats can still satisfy the associativity property. For example, in CBF, reading [A, B) can mean "read all the records in all blocks whose starting offset is in [A, B)".

    To support such complex formats, we introduce the notion of split points. We say that a record is a split point if there exists a position A such that the record is the first one to be returned when reading the range [A, infinity). In CBF, the only split points would be the first records in each block.

    Split points allow us to define the meaning of a record's position and a source's range in all cases:

    • For a record that is at a split point, its position is defined to be the largest A such that reading a source with the range [A, infinity) returns this record;
    • Positions of other records are only required to be non-decreasing;
    • Reading the source [A, B) must return records starting from the first split point at or after A, up to but not including the first split point at or after B. In particular, this means that the first record returned by a source MUST always be a split point.
    • Positions of split points must be unique.
    As a result, for any decomposition of the full range of the source into position ranges, the total set of records will be the full set of records in the source, and each record will be read exactly once.

    Consumed positions

    As the source is being read, and records read from it are being passed to the downstream transforms in the pipeline, we say that positions in the source are being consumed. When a reader has read a record (or promised to a caller that a record will be returned), positions up to and including the record's start position are considered consumed.

    Dynamic splitting can happen only at unconsumed positions. If the reader just returned a record at offset 42 in a file, dynamic splitting can happen only at offset 43 or beyond, as otherwise that record could be read twice (by the current reader and by a reader of the task starting at 43).


    The following example uses an OffsetRangeTracker to support dynamically splitting a source with integer positions (offsets).
       class MyReader implements BoundedReader<Foo> {
         private MySource currentSource;
         private final OffsetRangeTracker tracker = new OffsetRangeTracker();
         MyReader(MySource source) {
           this.currentSource = source;
           this.tracker = new MyRangeTracker<>(source.getStartOffset(), source.getEndOffset())
         boolean start() {
           ... (general logic for locating the first record) ...
           if (!tracker.tryReturnRecordAt(true, recordStartOffset)) return false;
           ... (any logic that depends on the record being returned, e.g. counting returned records)
           return true;
         boolean advance() {
           ... (general logic for locating the next record) ...
           if (!tracker.tryReturnRecordAt(isAtSplitPoint, recordStartOffset)) return false;
           ... (any logic that depends on the record being returned, e.g. counting returned records)
           return true;
         double getFractionConsumed() {
           return tracker.getFractionConsumed();

    Usage with different models of iteration

    When using this class to protect a BoundedSource.BoundedReader, follow the pattern described above.

    When using this class to protect iteration in the hasNext()/next() model, consider the record consumed when hasNext() is about to return true, rather than when next() is called, because hasNext() returning true is promising the caller that next() will have an element to return - so trySplitAtPosition(PositionT) must not split the range in a way that would make the record promised by hasNext() belong to a different range.

    Also note that implementations of hasNext() need to ensure that they call tryReturnRecordAt(boolean, PositionT) only once even if hasNext() is called repeatedly, due to the requirement on uniqueness of split point positions.

    • Method Detail

      • getStartPosition

        PositionT getStartPosition()
        Returns the starting position of the current range, inclusive.
      • getStopPosition

        PositionT getStopPosition()
        Returns the ending position of the current range, exclusive.
      • tryReturnRecordAt

        boolean tryReturnRecordAt(boolean isAtSplitPoint,
                                  PositionT recordStart)
        Atomically determines whether a record at the given position can be returned and updates internal state. In particular:
        • If isAtSplitPoint is true, and recordStart is outside the current range, returns false;
        • Otherwise, updates the last-consumed position to recordStart and returns true.

        This method MUST be called on all split point records. It may be called on every record.

      • trySplitAtPosition

        boolean trySplitAtPosition(PositionT splitPosition)
        Atomically splits the current range [getStartPosition(), getStopPosition()) into a "primary" part [getStartPosition(), splitPosition) and a "residual" part [splitPosition, getStopPosition()), assuming the current last-consumed position is within [getStartPosition(), splitPosition) (i.e., splitPosition has not been consumed yet).

        Updates the current range to be the primary and returns true. This means that all further calls on the current object will interpret their arguments relative to the primary range.

        If the split position has already been consumed, or if no tryReturnRecordAt(boolean, PositionT) call was made yet, returns false. The second condition is to prevent dynamic splitting during reader start-up.

      • getFractionConsumed

        double getFractionConsumed()
        Returns the approximate fraction of positions in the source that have been consumed by successful tryReturnRecordAt(boolean, PositionT) calls, or 0.0 if no such calls have happened.

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