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From "Nate McCall (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (CASSANDRA-6588) Add a 'NO EMPTY RESULTS' filter to SELECT
Date Mon, 20 Jan 2014 20:19:26 GMT


Nate McCall commented on CASSANDRA-6588:

I know of a specific ad-tech system in prod right now whose buy decisions was partially based
on per-column TTL. Expiring targeting attributes at different times under a profile is a particularly
common pattern in that vertical. 

Other places i've personally seen per-col TTL in use:
- hotel reservation 
- gaming (similar to attribute/profile expiration as in ad-tech)
- auth provider as a 'time to change your password' flag
- ledgering and lightweight conflict resolution (folks at Bazaarvoice did a preso on this
back in Austin in September:
Usergrid does something similar to this.  

There are other ways to do any of the above, but the take away is that good, bad or ugly,
it's a breaking change for a non-trivial number of use cases currently in the wild.  

> Add a 'NO EMPTY RESULTS' filter to SELECT
> -----------------------------------------
>                 Key: CASSANDRA-6588
>                 URL:
>             Project: Cassandra
>          Issue Type: Improvement
>            Reporter: Sylvain Lebresne
>            Priority: Minor
>             Fix For: 2.1
> It is the semantic of CQL that a (CQL) row exists as long as it has one non-null column
(including the PK columns, which, given that no PK columns can be null, means that it's enough
to have the PK set for a row to exist). This does means that the result to
> {noformat}
> CREATE TABLE test (k int PRIMARY KEY, v1 int, v2 int);
> INSERT INTO test(k, v1) VALUES (0, 4);
> SELECT v2 FROM test;
> {noformat}
> must be (and is)
> {noformat}
>  v2
> ------
>  null
> {noformat}
> That fact does mean however that when we only select a few columns of a row, we still
need to find out rows that exist but have no values for the selected columns. Long story short,
given how the storage engine works, this means we need to query full (CQL) rows even when
only some of the columns are selected because that's the only way to distinguish between "the
row exists but have no value for the selected columns" and "the row doesn't exist". I'll note
in particular that, due to CASSANDRA-5762, we can't unfortunately rely on the row marker to
optimize that out.
> Now, when you selects only a subsets of the columns of a row, there is many cases where
you don't care about rows that exists but have no value for the columns you requested and
are happy to filter those out. So, for those cases, we could provided a new SELECT filter.
Outside the potential convenience (not having to filter empty results client side), one interesting
part is that when this filter is provided, we could optimize a bit by only querying the columns
selected, since we wouldn't need to return rows that exists but have no values for the selected
> For the exact syntax, there is probably a bunch of options. For instance:
> * {{SELECT NON EMPTY(v2, v3) FROM test}}: the vague rational for putting it in the SELECT
part is that such filter is kind of in the spirit to DISTINCT.  Possibly a bit ugly outside
of that.
> * {{SELECT v2, v3 FROM test NO EMPTY RESULTS}} or {{SELECT v2, v3 FROM test NO EMPTY
ROWS}} or {{SELECT v2, v3 FROM test NO EMPTY}}: the last one is shorter but maybe a bit less
explicit. As for {{RESULTS}} versus {{ROWS}}, the only small object to {{NO EMPTY ROWS}} could
be that it might suggest it is filtering non existing rows (I mean, the fact we never ever
return non existing rows should hint that it's not what it does but well...) while we're just
filtering empty "resultSet rows".
> Of course, if there is a pre-existing SQL syntax for that, it's even better, though a
very quick search didn't turn anything. Other suggestions welcome too.

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