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Utils for working with Spark

Project description

Spark - Dataframe with complex schema

Changelog

Version 1.0.0:

  • [Breaking changes] flatten() now stops the unpacking of nested data at ArrayType (i.e: any field with DataType = ArrayType will have its nested elements as-is). To have the same result as in the previous version - flatten all array fields, add the param arrays_to_unpack = ["*"].
  • Added snake_case()
  • Added json_schema_to_spark_schema()
  • Added support for providing the param nested_struct_separator to flatten(). Example: When provided with the value "___", the raw schema {"parent": {"child": "some_value"}} will be unpacked to {"parrent___child": "some_value"}

Problem description

A Spark DataFrame can have a simple schema, where every single column is of a simple datatype like IntegerType, BooleanType, StringType,... However, a column can be of one of the complex types: ArrayType, MapType, or StructType. The schema itself is, actually, an instance of the type StructType. So, when a schema has column(s) with DataType is StructType, we have a nested schema.

Working with nested schema is not always easy. Some notable problems are:

The page https://docs.databricks.com/delta/data-transformation/complex-types.html provides a lot of useful tips on dealing with dataframes having a complex schema.

This page will provide some further tips/utils to work on dataframes with more complex schema:

  • Renaming or casting/parsing nested columns
  • Flattening

Please note the term Flattening in this post only means getting rid of StructType column(s) in our DataFrame. This does not include the act of eliminating ArrayType and MapType in the schema, which is usually called Exploding in Spark documents. Also, Spark 2.4 introduced the function flatten [https://spark.apache.org/docs/2.4.0/api/java/org/apache/spark/sql/functions.html#flatten-org.apache.spark.sql.Column], which is used on a nested array (an array with 2 layers, an array of arrays of DataType) to make it flat (an array with 1 layer).

Solutions

Renaming nested columns

Renaming a column at root level is simple: use the function withColumnRenamed. However, with a nested column, that function does not give any error, but also does not make any effect:

df_struct = spark.createDataFrame([Row(structA=Row(field1=10, field2=1.5), structB=Row(field3="one",field4=False))])
df_struct.printSchema()

root
 |-- structA: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field1: long (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field2: double (nullable = true)
 |-- structB: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field3: string (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field4: boolean (nullable = true)

df_struct.withColumnRenamed("structA.field1", "structA.newField1") \
    .withColumnRenamed("structB", "newStructB") \
    .printSchema()

root
 |-- structA: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field1: long (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field2: double (nullable = true)
 |-- newStructB: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field3: string (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field4: boolean (nullable = true)

To change the names of nested columns, there are some options:

  1. By building a new struct column on the flight with the struct() function:

     from pyspark.sql.functions import struct, col
     df_renamed = df_struct.withColumn("structA", struct(col("structA.field1").alias("newField1"),
                                                         col("structA.field2")))
    
  2. By creating a new schema (a StructType() object) and use type casting on the original struct column:

     from pyspark.sql.types import *		
     newStructASchema = StructType([
                             StructField("newField1", LongType()),
                             StructField("field2", DoubleType())
                         ])
     df_renamed = df_struct.withColumn("structA", col("structA").cast(newStructASchema)).printSchema()
    

Both options yield the same schema

    root
     |-- structA: struct (nullable = true)
     |    |-- newField1: long (nullable = true)
     |    |-- field2: double (nullable = true)
     |-- structB: struct (nullable = true)
     |    |-- field3: string (nullable = true)
     |    |-- field4: boolean (nullable = true)

The 2nd option is more convenient when building a recursive function to recreate the multi-layer nested schema with new columns names.


Flattening

StructType

Sample DataFrame:

from pyspark.sql import Row
from pyspark.sql.functions import col

df_struct = spark.createDataFrame([Row(structA=Row(field1=10, field2=1.5),
                                       structB=Row(field3="one",field4=False))])
df_struct.printSchema()

root
 |-- structA: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field1: long (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field2: double (nullable = true)
 |-- structB: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field3: string (nullable = true)
 |    |-- field4: boolean (nullable = true)

Spark allows selecting nested columns by using the dot . notation:

df_struct.select("structA.*", "structB.field3").printSchema()

root
 |-- field1: long (nullable = true)
 |-- field2: double (nullable = true)
 |-- field3: string (nullable = true)

Please note here that the current Spark implementation (2.4.3 or below) doesn't keep the outer layer fieldname (e.g: structA) in the output dataframe

ArrayType

To select only some elements from an ArrayType column, either getItem() or using brackets (as selecting elements from a legacy array: [] in Python () in Scala) would do the trick:

df_array = spark.createDataFrame([Row(arrayA=[1,2,3,4,5],fieldB="foo")])
df_array.select(col("arrayA").getItem(0).alias("element0"), col("arrayA")[4].alias("element5"), col("fieldB")).show()

+--------+--------+------+
|element0|element5|fieldB|
+--------+--------+------+
|       1|       5|   foo|
+--------+--------+------+

MapType

Elements from a MapType column can be selected the same way as in the case of ArrayType, but using the key instead of index number. The dot notation (.) could also be used instead of getItem() or brackets:

df_map = spark.createDataFrame([Row(mapA={2: "TWO", 3: "THREE", 0: "ZERO"}, fieldB="foo")])
df_map.select(col("mapA")[3].alias("element3"), col("mapA").getItem(2).alias("element2"), col("mapA.0").alias("element0"), col("mapA").getItem(1).alias("element1")).show()

+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|element3|element2|element0|element1|
+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|   THREE|     TWO|    ZERO|    null|
+--------+--------+--------+--------+

StructType nested in StructType

As Spark DataFrame.select() supports passing an array of columns to be selected, to fully unflatten a multi-layer nested dataframe, a recursive call would do the trick.

Here is a detailed discussion on StackOverFlow on how to do this: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/37471346/automatically-and-elegantly-flatten-dataframe-in-spark-sql

StructType nested in ArrayType

df_nested = spark.createDataFrame([
    Row(
        arrayA=[
            Row(childStructB=Row(field1=1, field2="foo")),
            Row(childStructB=Row(field1=2, field2="bar"))
        ]
    )])
df_nested.printSchema()

root
 |-- arrayA: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: struct (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- childStructB: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |    |    |-- field1: long (nullable = true)
 |    |    |    |-- field2: string (nullable = true)
 
df_nested.show(1, False)

+------------------------+
|arrayA                  |
+------------------------+
|[[[1, foo]], [[2, bar]]]|
+------------------------+

Selecting field1 or field2 can be done as with normal structs (not nested inside an array), by using that dot . annotation. The result would be of the type ArrayType[ChildFieldType], which has been vertically sliced from the original array

df_child = df_nested.select("arrayA.childStructB.field1", "arrayA.childStructB.field2")
df_child.printSchema()

root
 |-- field1: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: long (containsNull = true)
 |-- field2: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: string (containsNull = true)
 
df_child.show()

+------+----------+
|field1|    field2|
+------+----------+
|[1, 2]|[foo, bar]|
+------+----------+

StructType nested in MapType

As each MapType column has two components, the keys and the values, selecting nested column inside a MapType column is not straight forward - we cannot just use that . to take the nested fields as that has already been used for denoting the key.

df_map_nested = spark.createDataFrame([Row(mapA={"2": Row(type_name="Arabic number", equivalent=2), "THREE": Row(type_name="English Text", equivalent=3)}, fieldB="foo")])
df_map_nested.select(col("mapA.type_name"), col("mapA.THREE.type_name")).show()

+---------+------------+
|type_name|   type_name|
+---------+------------+
|     null|English Text|
+---------+------------+

A solution for this is to use the builtin function map_values() which has been introduced since Spark 2.3. Note the type of the result column: ArrayType

from pyspark.sql.functions import map_values
result = df_map_nested.select(map_values("mapA")["type_name"], col("mapA.THREE.type_name"))
result.show(2,False)
result.printSchema()

+-----------------------------+------------+
|map_values(mapA).type_name   |type_name   |
+-----------------------------+------------+
|[Arabic number, English Text]|English Text|
+-----------------------------+------------+

root
 |-- map_values(mapA).type_name: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: string (containsNull = true)
 |-- type_name: string (nullable = true)

Hurdles

The above steps would work well for most of dataframes. The only dataframes that it fails (as of Spark 2.4.3 or lower) are the ones with a StructType nested inside MORE THAN ONE layers of ArrayType. Like this one:

df_nested_B = spark.createDataFrame([
    Row(
        arrayA=[[
            Row(childStructB=Row(field1=1, field2="foo")),
            Row(childStructB=Row(field1=2, field2="bar"))
        ]]
    )])
df_nested_B.printSchema()

root
 |-- arrayA: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: array (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- element: struct (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |    |-- childStructB: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |    |    |    |-- field1: long (nullable = true)
 |    |    |    |    |-- field2: string (nullable = true)

Or this one

df_nested_C = spark.createDataFrame([
    Row(
        arrayA=[
            Row(childStructB=Row(childArrayC=[Row(field1=1, field2="foo")])),
            Row(childStructB=Row(childArrayC=[Row(field1=2, field2="bar")])),
        ]
    )])
df_nested_C.printSchema()

root
 |-- arrayA: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: struct (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- childStructB: struct (nullable = true)
 |    |    |    |-- childArrayC: array (nullable = true)
 |    |    |    |    |-- element: struct (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |    |    |    |-- field1: long (nullable = true)
 |    |    |    |    |    |-- field2: string (nullable = true)

Selecting arrayA.childStructB.field1 from df_nested_B fails with the error message: AnalysisException: No such struct field field1 in childStructB.
While selecting arrayA.childStructB.childArrayC.field1 from df_nested_C throws the AnalysisException: cannot resolve 'arrayA.childStructB.childArrayC['field1']' due to data type mismatch: argument 2 requires integral type, however, ''field1'' is of string type.

(More) Solutions

With the introduction of the SQL function transform in Spark 2.4, the error above can be solved by applying transform on every layer of the array.

A comprehensive implementation of a flatten function can be found in the Python package sparkaid:

from sparkaid import flatten

flatten(df_nested_B).printSchema()

root
 |-- arrayA__childStructB_field1: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: array (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- element: long (containsNull = true)
 |-- arrayA__childStructB_field2: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: array (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- element: string (containsNull = true)

flatten(df_nested_B).show()

+---------------------------+---------------------------+
|arrayA__childStructB_field1|arrayA__childStructB_field2|
+---------------------------+---------------------------+
|                   [[1, 2]]|               [[foo, bar]]|
+---------------------------+---------------------------+

flatten(df_nested_C).printSchema()

root
 |-- arrayA_childStructB_childArrayC_field1: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: array (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- element: long (containsNull = true)
 |-- arrayA_childStructB_childArrayC_field2: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: array (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- element: string (containsNull = true)

[]: https://spark.apache.org/docs/2.4.0/api/java/org/apache/spark/sql/functions.html#flatten-org.apache.spark.sql.Column

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