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From Dave Hardcastle <>
Subject Re: Iterators that alter key-values
Date Fri, 15 May 2015 18:16:25 GMT

That explains a lot - I knew that the iterator stack could be resumed in
the middle of a range, but didn't realise that it used the last emitted key
to decide where to resume.

Just so I'm clear, when iterators get stopped and later resumed, is it the
same instance of the iterator object that's restarted (so that I could
store state in there and use that to help the reseek) or is it a new
instance of the iterator that has to be able to resume purely on the basis
of the last emitted key?

As you say though, it's probably best to stick to modifying values only.

Thanks very much,


On 15 May 2015 at 18:55, James Hughes <> wrote:

> Hi Dave,
> The big thing to note is that your iterator stack may get stopped and torn
> down for various reasons.  As Accumulo recreates the stack, it will call
> 'seek' with the last emitted key in order to resume.
> If you are returning keys out of order in an iterator, the 'seek' method
> needs to be able to undo the transformation and call 'seek' appropriately.
> That's not impossible, but it isn't trivial.
> In GeoMesa, we did something like that at one point (without having a
> smart 'seek').  I enjoyed two days of debugging trying to figure out why
> medium sized requests would hang.  (There was an infinite loop....)  From
> that experience, I'd suggest only modifying values.
> Cheers,
> Jim
> On Fri, May 15, 2015 at 1:26 PM, Dave Hardcastle <
>> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I've always assumed that the last iterator in the stack can make
>> arbitrary changes to keys and values, including not returning the keys in
>> sorted order. I know that SortedKeyValueIterator says that "anything
>> implementing this interface should return keys in sorted order" - but I
>> don't see a good reason that has to be true for the final iterator. This
>> assumption seems to be backed up by the manual which says that "the only
>> safe way to generate additional data in an iterator is to alter the current
>> key-value pair" - it doesn't say that making arbitrary modifications to the
>> rowkey or key is forbidden.
>> I have a situation where I am making a transformation of the rowkey that
>> may not preserve the ordering of the keys. When I scan for individual
>> ranges I get the correct results. When I scan for two ranges using a
>> BatchScanner, I get lots of data back which is not in the ranges I queried
>> for. I am not explicitly checking that I have not gone beyond the range,
>> but that should not be necessary as I am not doing any seeking, only
>> consuming the key-values I receive.
>> So, my main question is whether the last iterator is allowed to not
>> return keys in sorted order?
>> Thanks,
>> Dave.

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