Apache Jena Elephas - Common API

The Common API provides the basic data model for representing RDF data within Apache Hadoop applications. This primarily takes the form of Writable implementations and the necessary machinery to efficiently serialise and deserialise these.

Currently we represent the three main RDF primitives - Nodes, Triples and Quads - though in future a wider range of primitives may be supported if we receive contributions to implement them.

RDF Primitives

Nodes

The Writable type for nodes is predictably enough called NodeWritable and it implements the WritableComparable interface which means it can be used as both a key and/or value in Map/Reduce. In standard Hadoop style a get() method returns the actual value as a Jena Node instance while a corresponding set() method allows the value to be set. Coveying null values is acceptable and fully supported.

Note that nodes are lazily converted to and from the underlying binary representation so there is minimal overhead if you create a NodeWritable instance that does not actually ever get read/written.

NodeWritable supports and automatically registers itself for Hadoop's WritableComparator mechanism which allows it to provide high efficiency binary comparisons on nodes which helps reduce phases run faster by avoiding unnecessary deserialisation into POJOs.

However the downside of this is that the sort order for nodes may not be as natural as the sort order using POJOs or when sorting with SPARQL. Ultimately this is a performance trade off and in our experiments the benefits far outweigh the lack of a more natural sort order.

You simply use it as follows

NodeWritable nw = new NodeWritable();

// Set the value
nw.set(NodeFactory.createURI("http://example.org"));

// Get the value (remember this may be null)
Node value = nw.get();

Triples

Again the Writable type for nodes is simply called TripleWritable and it also implements the WritableComparable interface meaning it may be used as both a key and/or value. Again the standard Hadoop conventions of a get() and set() method to get/set the value as a Jena Triple are followed. Unlike the NodeWritable this class does not support conveying null values.

Like the other primitives it is lazily converted to and from the underlying binary representations and it also supports & registers itself for Hadoop's WritableComparator mechanism.

Quads

Similarly the Writable type for quads is again simply called QuadWritable and it implements the WritableComparable interface making it usable as both a key and/or value. As per the other primitives standard Hadoop conventions of a get() and set() method are provided to get/set the value as a Jena Quad. Unlike the NodeWritable this class does not support conveying null values.

Like the other primitives it is lazily converted to and from the underlying binary representations and it also supports & registers itself for Hadoop's WritableComparator mechanism.

Arbitrary sized tuples

In some cases you may have data that is RDF like but not itself RDF or that is a mix of triples and quads in which case you may wish to use the NodeTupleWritable. This is used to represent an arbitrarily sized tuple consisting of zero or more Node instances, there is no restriction on the number of nodes per tuple and no requirement that tuple data be uniform in size.

Like the other primitives it implements WritableComparable so can be used as a key and/or value. However this primitive does not support binary comparisons meaning it may not perform as well as using the other primitives.

In this case the get() and set() methods get/set a Tuple<Node> instance which is a convenience container class provided by ARQ. Currently the implementation does not support lazy conversion so the full Tuple<Node> is reconstructed as soon as an NodeTupleWritable instance is deserialised.