MacLochlainns Weblog

Michael McLaughlin's Technical Blog

Site Admin

Cassandra Query Language

without comments

After installing Cassandra and reading Cassandra The Definitive Guide, it struck me that I should learn a bit more about the Cassandra Query Language (CQL). So, after I setup a single-node environment and created a .bashcassandra environment file to connect as a student user to the Cassandra instance:

# Add the Java and JRE paths to the $PATH environments.
export set PATH=$PATH:/usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk-1.8.0.45.x86_64:/usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk-1.8.0.45.x86_64/jre
 
# Add the $JAVA_HOME and $JRE_HOME environment variables.
export set JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk-1.8.0.45.x86_64/
export set JRE_HOME=/usr

Having started Cassandra as the cassandra user, I connected to the Cassandra Query Language Shell (cqlsh) to learn how to write CQL. You can find the basic structure of the Cassandra Query Language (CQL) on the Apache Cassandra website. I also discovered that CQL by itself can’t let you join tables without using Apache SparkSQL. Apache SparkSQL adds the ability to perform CQL joins in Cassandra, and became available in 2015.

I also learned you can’t use a CREATE OR REPLACE command when you change certain aspects of User-Defined Functions (UDFs). You actually need to drop any UDF before you change RETURNS NULL ON NULL INPUT clause to a CALLED ON NULL INPUT clause or vice versa. You can’t embed Java that connects to database without using the cassandra-java-driver-2.0.2 driver.

You connect to the cqlsh like this:

cqlsh

Here’s my script that creates Cassandra keyspace, which is more or less a database. You use the USE command to connect to the keyspace or database, like you would in MySQL. You do not have sequences in Cassandra because they’re not a good fit for a distributed architecture. Cassandra does not support a native procedural extension like relational databases. You must create User-defined functions (UDFs) by embedding the logic in Java.

This script does the following:

  • Creates a keyspace
  • Uses the keyspace
  • Conditionally drops tables and functions
  • Creates two tables
  • Inserts data into the two tables
  • Queries data from the tables

I also included a call to a UDF inside a query in two of the examples. One of the queries demonstrates how to return a JSON structure from a query. To simplify things and provide clarification of the scripts behaviors, the details are outlined below.

  • The first segment of the script creates the keyspace, changes the scope to use the keyspace, conditionally drop tables, create tables, and insert values into the tables:

    /* Create a keyspace in Cassandra, which is like a database
       in MySQL or a schema in Oracle. */
    CREATE KEYSPACE IF NOT EXISTS student
      WITH REPLICATION = {
         'class':'SimpleStrategy'
        ,'replication_factor': 1 }
      AND DURABLE_WRITES = true;
     
    /* Use the keyspace or connect to the database. */
    USE student;
     
    /* Drop the member table from the student keyspace. */
    DROP TABLE IF EXISTS member;
     
    /* Create a member table in the student keyspace. */
    CREATE TABLE member
    ( member_number       VARCHAR
    , member_type         VARCHAR
    , credit_card_number  VARCHAR
    , credit_card_type    VARCHAR
    , PRIMARY KEY ( member_number ));
     
    /* Conditionally drop the contact table from the student keyspace. */
    DROP TABLE IF EXISTS contact;
     
    /* Create a contact table in the student keyspace. */
    CREATE TABLE contact
    ( contact_number      VARCHAR
    , contact_type        VARCHAR
    , first_name          VARCHAR
    , middle_name         VARCHAR
    , last_name           VARCHAR
    , member_number       VARCHAR
    , PRIMARY KEY ( contact_number ));
     
    /* Insert a row into the member table. */
    INSERT INTO member
    ( member_number, member_type, credit_card_number, credit_card_type )
    VALUES
    ('SFO-12345','GROUP','2222-4444-5555-6666','VISA');
     
    /* Insert a row into the contact table. */
    INSERT INTO contact
    ( contact_number, contact_type, first_name, middle_name, last_name, member_number )
    VALUES
    ('CUS_00001','FAMILY','Barry', NULL,'Allen','SFO-12345');
     
    /* Insert a row into the contact table. */
    INSERT INTO contact
    ( contact_number, contact_type, first_name, middle_name, last_name, member_number )
    VALUES
    ('CUS_00002','FAMILY','Iris', NULL,'West-Allen','SFO-12345');
     
    /* Insert a row into the member table. */
    INSERT INTO member
    ( member_number, member_type, credit_card_number, credit_card_type )
    VALUES
    ('SFO-12346','GROUP','3333-8888-9999-2222','VISA');
     
    /* Insert a row into the contact table. */
    INSERT INTO contact
    ( contact_number, contact_type, first_name, middle_name, last_name, member_number )
    VALUES
    ('CUS_00003','FAMILY','Caitlin','Marie','Snow','SFO-12346');
  • The following queries the member table:

    /* Select all columns from the member table. */
    SELECT * FROM member;

    It returns the following:

     member_number | credit_card_number  | credit_card_type | member_type
    ---------------+---------------------+------------------+-------------
         SFO-12345 | 2222-4444-5555-6666 |             VISA |       GROUP
         SFO-12346 | 3333-8888-9999-2222 |             VISA |       GROUP
  • Create a concatenate User-defined function (UDF) for Cassandra. The first step requires you to edit the cassandra.yaml file, which you find in the /etc/cassandra/default.conf directory. There is a single parameter that you need to edit, and it is the enable_user_defined_functions parameter. By default the parameter is set to false, and you need to enable it to create UDFs.

    After you make the edit, the cassandra.yaml file should look like this:

    1089
    1090
    1091
    1092
    1093
    
    # If unset, all GC Pauses greater than gc_log_threshold_in_ms will log at
    # INFO level
    # UDFs (user defined functions) are disabled by default.
    # As of Cassandra 3.0 there is a sandbox in place that should prevent execution of evil code.
    enable_user_defined_functions: true

    After you make the change, you can create your own UDF. The following UDF formats the first, middle, and last name so there’s only one whitespace between the first and last name when there middle name value is null.

    This type of function must use a CALLED ON NULL INPUT clause in lieu of a RETURNS NULL ON NULL INPUT clause. The latter would force the function to return a null value if any one of the parameters were null.

    /* Drop the concatenate function because a replace disallows changing a
       RETURNS NULL ON NULL INPUT with a CALLED ON NULL INPUT without raising
       an "89: InvalidRequest" exception. */
    DROP FUNCTION concatenate;
     
    /* Create a user-defined function to concatenate names. */
    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION concatenate (first_name VARCHAR, middle_name VARCHAR, last_name VARCHAR)
    CALLED ON NULL INPUT
    RETURNS VARCHAR
    LANGUAGE java
    AS $$
      /* Concatenate first and last names when middle name is null, and
         first, middle, and last names when middle name is not null. */
      String name;
     
      /* Check for null middle name. */
      if (middle_name == null) {
        name = first_name + " " + last_name; }
      else {
        name = first_name + " " + middle_name + " " + last_name; }
     
      return name;
    $$;
  • Query the values from the contact table with the UDF function in the SELECT-list:

    /* Query the contact information. */
    SELECT member_number
    ,      contact_number
    ,      contact_type
    ,      concatenate(first_name, middle_name, last_name) AS full_name
    FROM   contact;

    It returns the following:

     member_number | contact_number | contact_type | full_name
    ---------------+----------------+--------------+--------------------
         SFO-12345 |      CUS_00001 |       FAMILY |        Barry Allen
         SFO-12345 |      CUS_00002 |       FAMILY |    Iris West-Allen
         SFO-12346 |      CUS_00003 |       FAMILY | Caitlin Marie Snow
  • Query the values from the contact table with a JSON format:

    /* Query the contact information and return in a JSON format. */
    SELECT JSON
           contact_number
    ,      contact_type
    ,      concatenate(first_name, middle_name, last_name) AS full_name
    FROM   contact;

    It returns the following:

     [json]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    {"contact_number": "CUS_00001", "contact_type": "FAMILY", "full_name": "Barry Allen"}
    {"contact_number": "CUS_00002", "contact_type": "FAMILY", "full_name": "Iris West-Allen"}
    {"contact_number": "CUS_00003", "contact_type": "FAMILY", "full_name": "Caitlin Marie Snow"}

You can call the script from a relative directory inside cqlsh, like this:

SOURCE 'cstudent.cql'

At the end of the day, the concept of adding and removing nodes is attractive. Though, the lack of normal relational mechanics and narrowly supported set of CQL semantics leaves me with open questions. For example, is clustering without a coordinator really valuable enough to settle for eventual, or tunable, consistency with such a narrowly scoped query language?

As always, I hope this helps those looking for a quick how-to on Cassandra.

Written by maclochlainn

July 30th, 2017 at 12:33 am

Leave a Reply