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From "Sylvain Lebresne (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Created] (CASSANDRA-7209) Consider changing UDT serialization format before 2.1 release.
Date Mon, 12 May 2014 16:13:15 GMT
Sylvain Lebresne created CASSANDRA-7209:

             Summary: Consider changing UDT serialization format before 2.1 release.
                 Key: CASSANDRA-7209
             Project: Cassandra
          Issue Type: Bug
            Reporter: Sylvain Lebresne
            Assignee: Sylvain Lebresne
             Fix For: 2.1 rc1

The current serialization format of UDT is the one of CompositeType. This was initially done
on purpose, so that users that were using CompositeType for values in their thrift schema
could migrate smoothly to UDT (it was also convenient code wise but that's a weak point).

I'm having serious doubt about this being wise however for 2 reasons:
* for each component, CompositeType stores an addition byte (the end-of-component) for reasons
that only pertain to querying. This byte is basically wasted for UDT and makes no sense. I'll
note that outside the inefficiency, there is also the fact that it will likely be pretty surprising/error-prone
for driver authors.
* it uses an unsigned short for the length of each component. While it's certainly not advisable
in the current implementation to use values too big inside an UDT, having this limitation
hard-coded in the serialization format is wrong and we've been bitten by this with collection
already which we've had to fix in the protocol v3. It's probably worth no doing that mistake
again. Furthermore, if we use an int for the size, we can use a negative size to represent
a null value (the main point being that it's consistent with how we serialize values in the
native protocol), which can be useful (CASSANDRA-7206).

Of course, if we change that serialization format, we'd better do it before the 2.1 release.
But I think the advantages outweigh the cons especially in the long run so I think we should
do it. I'll try to work out a patch quickly so if you have a problem with the principle of
this issue, it would be nice to voice it quickly.

I'll note that doing that change will mean existing CompositeType values won't be able to
be migrated transparently to UDT. I think this was anecdotal in the first place at best, I
don't think using CompositeType for values is that popular in thrift tbh. Besides, if we really
really want to, it might not be too hard to re-introduce that compatibility later by having
some protocol level trick. We can't change the serialization format without breaking people

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