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From "Nicholas Retallack" <>
Subject Re: Reduce is Really Slow!
Date Thu, 21 Aug 2008 00:14:17 GMT
The reason I had multiple documents with the same name, sorted by
date, is that I'm trying to do something like revisions here.  I get a
brand new data set each day and import it into the database, and I
want to be able to draw a sparkline indicating how each integer field
has changed over time.

It takes a lot of imports, and it seems much faster to post than to
update.  Also, it's nice to know when each data set arrived, and to be
able to say with some certainty that a particular number is associated
with a particular date.  I guess there are different ways to track
this though.

On Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 4:49 PM, Paul Davis <> wrote:
> Hermm. Yeah, nothing comes to mind other that's better than the
> emit(, null) and in your reduce return 1; and then query with
> group=true.
> The way you remember what's 100 documents ahead is by getting 101 and
> storing the id somewhere so you know where to start. Jumping into the
> middle of a result set requires you to know which key you want to
> start from. There's also a trick for going backwards in that the count
> number of results can be negative in which case it grabs the count
> preceding rows (that one suprised me alot, but it makes sense when you
> understand the implementation).
> Also, I'm not sure what you mean by cache. I haven't implemented
> pagination yet, but in your case it'd be something like:
> key_range = fetch from doc_name_view with group=true from
> startkey=blah, count=101
> docs fetch from doc_values_view with startkey=key_range[0] and
> endkey=key_range[-2]
> display docs
> display pagination controls using doc_range[0] and doc_range[-1]
> (I think)
> Not sure about tag clouds. Academically that sounds like a reduce
> function, but it'd depend on how you do things. Something like for(tag
> in doc.tags) {emit(tag, 1);}, and your reduce is a simple
> function(keys, values) { return sum(values);}
> Sorry about the some_value_that_sorts_after_last_possible_date. I was
> too lazy to lookup what JSON value would sort after an integer or
> string.
> Also, you may reconsider your document design. Obviously I have no
> idea what your data looks like, but perhaps instead of adding multiple
> docs with the same, you just update the orignal doc to have
> array keys. Not always possible, but its a thought.
> HTH,
> Paul
> On Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 5:45 PM, Nicholas Retallack
> <> wrote:
>> Oh clever.  I was considering a solution like this, but I was worried
>> I wouldn't know where to stop, and might end up chopping it between
>> some documents that should be grouped together.
>> "some_value_that_sorts_after_last_possible_date" solves that problem.
>> There's another problem though, for when I want to do pagination.  Say
>> I want to display exactly 100 of these on a page.  How do I know I've
>> fetched 100 of them, if any number of documents could be in a group?
>> Also, how would I know what document name appears 100 documents ahead
>> of this one?  This gets messy...
>> Essentially I figured this should be a task the database is capable of
>> doing on its own.  I don't want every action in my web application to
>> have to solve the caching problem on its own, after doing serious
>> data-munging on all this ugly stuff I got back from the database.  How
>> do I know when the cache should be invalidated anyway, without insider
>> knowledge from the database?
>> Hm, cleverness.  I guess I could figure out what every hundredth name
>> is by making a view for just the names and querying that.  Any
>> efficient way to reduce that list for uniqueness?  Perhaps group=true
>> and reduce = function(){return true}.  There should be a wiki page
>> devoted to these silly tricks, like this hackish way to put together
>> pagination.  And tag clouds.
>> On Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 1:56 PM, Paul Davis <> wrote:
>>> If I'm not mistaken, you have a number of documents that all have a
>>> given 'name'. And you want the list of elements for each value of
>>> 'name'. To accomplish this in db, land, you could use a design
>>> document like [1].
>>> Then to get the data for any given doc name, you'd query your map like
>>> [2]. This gets you everything emitted with a given doc name. The
>>> underlying idea to remember in getting data out of couch is that your
>>> maps should emit things that sort together. Then you can use 'slice'
>>> operations to pull at the documents you need.
>>> You're values aren't magically in one array, but merging the arrays in
>>> app-land is easy enough.
>>> If I've completely screwed up what you were going after, let me know.
>>> [1]
>>> [2] http://localhost:5984/dbname/_view/design_docid/index?startkey=["docname"]&endkey=["docname",
>>> some_value_that_sorts_after_last_possible_date]
>>> Paul
>>> On Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 4:32 PM, Nicholas Retallack
>>> <> wrote:
>>>> Replacing 'return values' with 'return values.length' shows you're
>>>> right.  4 minutes for the first query, miliseconds afterward, as
>>>> opposed to forever.
>>>> I guess I was expecting reduce to do things it wasn't designed to do.
>>>> I notice ?group=true&group_level=1 is ignored unless a reduce function
>>>> of some sort exists though.  Is there any way to get this grouping
>>>> behavior without such extreme reductions in result size / performance?
>>>> The view I was using here ( was
>>>> designed to simply take each document with the same name and merge
>>>> them into one document, turning same-named fields into lists (here's a
>>>> more general version  This
>>>> reduces the document size, but only by whatever overhead the repeated
>>>> field names would add.  The fields I was reducing only contained
>>>> integers, so reduction did shrink documents by quite a bit.  It was
>>>> pretty handy, but the query took 25 seconds to return one result even
>>>> when called repeatedly.
>>>> Is there some technical reason for this limitation?
>>>> I had assumed reduce was just an ordinary post-processing step that I
>>>> could run once and have something akin to a brand new generated table
>>>> to query on, so I wrote my views to transform my data to fit the
>>>> various ways I wanted to view it.  It worked fine for small amounts of
>>>> data in little experiments, but as soon as I used it on my real
>>>> database, I hit this wall.
>>>> Are there plans to make reduce work for these more general
>>>> data-mangling tasks?  Or should I be approaching the problem a
>>>> different way?  Perhaps write my map calls differently so they produce
>>>> more rows for reduce to compact?  Or do something special if the third
>>>> parameter to reduce is true?
>>>> On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 5:41 PM, Damien Katz <> wrote:
>>>>> You can return arrays and objects, whatever json allows. But if the object
>>>>> keeps getting bigger the more rows it reduces, then it simply won't work.
>>>>> The exception is that the size of the reduce value can be logarithmic
>>>>> respect to the rows. The simplest example of logarithmic growth is the
>>>>> summing of a row value. With Erlangs bignums, the size on disk is
>>>>> Log2(Sum(Rows)), which is perfectly acceptable growth.
>>>>> -Damien
>>>>> On Aug 19, 2008, at 8:14 PM, Nicholas Retallack wrote:
>>>>>> Oh!  I didn't realize that was a rule.  I had used 'return values'
>>>>>> attempt to run the simplest test possible on my data.  But hey, values
>>>>>> an
>>>>>> array.  Does that mean you're not allowed to return objects like
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> reduce at all?  Because I was kind of hoping I could.  I was able
to do it
>>>>>> with smaller amounts of data, after all.  Perhaps this is due to
>>>>>> kicking in?
>>>>>> For the record, couchdb is still working on this query I started
>>>>>> ago,
>>>>>> and chewing up all my cpu.  I am going to have to kill it so I can
>>>>>> some
>>>>>> work done.
>>>>>> On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 4:21 PM, Damien Katz <>
>>>>>>> I think the problem with your reduce is that it looks like its
>>>>>>> actually
>>>>>>> reducing to a single value, but instead using reduce for grouping
>>>>>>> That
>>>>>>> will cause severe performance problems.
>>>>>>> For reduce to work properly, you should end up with a fixed size
>>>>>>> structure regardless of the number of values being reduced (not
>>>>>>> true, but that's the general rule).
>>>>>>> -Damien
>>>>>>> On Aug 19, 2008, at 6:55 PM, Nicholas Retallack wrote:
>>>>>>> Okay, I got it built on gentoo instead, but I'm still having
>>>>>>>> issues with reduce.
>>>>>>>> Erlang (BEAM) emulator version 5.6.3 [source] [64-bit] [async-threads:0]
>>>>>>>> couchdb - Apache CouchDB 0.8.1-incubating
>>>>>>>> Here's a query I tried to do:
>>>>>>>> I freshly imported about 191MB of data in 155399 documents.
 29090 are
>>>>>>>> not
>>>>>>>> discarded by map.  Map produces one row with 5 fields for
each of these
>>>>>>>> documents.  After grouping, each group should have four rows.
 Reduce is
>>>>>>>> a
>>>>>>>> simple function(keys,values){return values}.
>>>>>>>> Here's the query call:
>>>>>>>> time curl -X GET '
>>>>>>>> http://localhost:5984/clickfund/_view/offers/index?count=1&group=true&group_level=1
>>>>>>>> '
>>>>>>>> This is running on a 512MB slicehost account.
>>>>>>>> I'd love to give you this command's execution time, since
I ran it last
>>>>>>>> night before I went to bed, but it must have taken over an
hour because
>>>>>>>> my
>>>>>>>> laptop went to sleep and severed the connection.  Trying
it again.
>>>>>>>> Considering it's blazing fast without the reduce function,
I can only
>>>>>>>> assume
>>>>>>>> what's taking all this time is overhead setting up and tearing
down the
>>>>>>>> simple function(keys,values){return values}.
>>>>>>>> I can give you guys the python source to set up this database
so you can
>>>>>>>> try
>>>>>>>> it yourself if you like.

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