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From "Roger Binns (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] Commented: (COUCHDB-623) File format for views is space and time inefficient - use a better one
Date Wed, 13 Jan 2010 19:12:54 GMT


Roger Binns commented on COUCHDB-623:

What are the consistency guarantees that views make?  I can't find any documentation about
it anywhere!  (There is plenty about the main db, but nothing about views.)

I can't see any that you can make as the view data is derived from the documents and the documents
can be changed at any point.  For example while the first row of a view is being returned
the same corresponding document could have been deleted.  The "slow client" example can also
lead to inconsistent data - for example it may update a document on one connection and then
access the view on a second connection and due to timing end up with the view not including
that document.

The only consistency "guarantee" I can see is that if you do not add/change/delete the documents
for the period shortly before and then during view retrieval until the view is completely
retrieved then the view will reflect the documents correctly at that time.  If there is any
form of concurrency between the documents and the views then there cannot be guarantees unless
CouchDB introduced a transactioning system.

I do see how the append only btree/mvcc format makes the view retrieval code easier to write,
but users of CouchDB do not care how hard the code is to write :-)

> File format for views is space and time inefficient - use a better one
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: COUCHDB-623
>                 URL:
>             Project: CouchDB
>          Issue Type: Improvement
>          Components: Database Core
>    Affects Versions: 0.10
>            Reporter: Roger Binns
> This was discussed on the dev mailing list over the last few days and noted here so it
isn't forgotten.
> The main database file format is optimised for data integrity - not losing or mangling
documents - and rightly so.
> That same append-only format is also used for views where it is a poor fit.  The more
random the ordering of data supplied, the larger the btree.  The larger the keys (in bytes)
the larger the btree.  As an example my 2GB of raw JSON data turns into a 3.9GB CouchDB database
but a 27GB view file (before compacting to 900MB).  Since views are not replicated, this requires
a disproportionate amount of disk space on each receiving server (not to mention I/O load).
 The format also affects view generation performance.  By loading my documents into CouchDB
in an order by the most emitted value in views I was able to reduce load time from 75 minutes
to 40 minutes with the view file size being 15GB instead of 27GB, but still very distant from
the 900MB post compaction.
> Views are a performance enhancement.  They save you from having to visit every document
when doing some queries.  The data within in a view is generated and hence the only consequence
of losing view data is a performance one and the view can be regenerated anyway.  Consequently
the file format should be one that is optimised for performance and size.  The only integrity
feature needed is the ability to tell that the view is potentially corrupt (eg the power failed
while it was being generated/updated).

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