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From "Irving, Dave" <dave.irv...@baml.com>
Subject Specific/GenericDatumReader performance and resolving decoders
Date Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:09:58 GMT

Recently I've been looking at the performance of avros SpecificDatumReaders/Writers. In our
use cases, when deserializing, we find it quite usual for reader / writer schemas to be identical.
Interestingly, GenericDatumReader bakes in the use of ResolvingDecoders right in to its core.
So even if constructed with a single (reader/writer) schema, a ResolvingDecoder is still used.
I experimented a little, and wrote a SpecificDatumReader which instead of being hard wired
with a ResolvingDecoder, uses a DecodeStrategy - leaving the reader only dealing with Decoders
Details follow - but for 'same schema' decodes - the performance difference is impressive.
For the types of records I deal with, a decode with reader schema == writer schema using this
approach is about 1.6x faster than a standard SpecificDatumReader decode.

interface DecodeStrategy
  Decoder configureForRead(Decoder in) throws IOException;

  void readComplete() throws IOException;

  void decodeRecordFields(Object old, SpecificRecord record, Schema expected, Decoder in,
SpecificDatumReader2 reader) throws IOException;

The idea is that when we hit a record, instead of getting field order from a ResolvingDecoder
directly, we just let the decode strategy do it for us (calling back for each field to the
reader - allowing recursion).
For e.g. when we know reader / writer schemas are identical, and we don't want validation
- an IdentitySchemaDecodeStrategy#decodeRecordFields can just pull the fields direct from
the provided record schema (calling back on the reader for each one):


void decodeRecordFields(......)
  List<Field> fields = expected.getFields();
  For (int i=0, len = fields.size(); i<len; ++i)
    reader.readField(old, in, field, record);


The resolving decoder impl of this strategy just does a 'readFieldOrder' like GenericDatumReader
does today.

For each read (given a Decoder), the datum reader lets the decode strategy return back the
actual decoder to be used (via #configureForRead). This means that a resolving implementation
can use this hook to configure the ResolvingDecoder and return this.
The result is that the datum reader can work with same schema / validated schema / resolved
schemas seamlessly without caring about the difference.

I thought I'd share the approach before working on a full patch: Is this an approach you'd
be interested in taking back to core avro? Or is it a little niche? :)



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