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Catalyst DSL

Catalyst DSL is a collection of Scala implicit conversions for constructing Catalyst data structures more easily.

The goal of Catalyst DSL is to make working with Spark SQL's building blocks easier (e.g. for testing or Spark SQL internals exploration).


Creates Catalyst expressions:

  • Literals
  • UnresolvedAttribute and UnresolvedReference
  • ...

Type Conversions to Literal Expressions

ExpressionConversions adds conversions of Scala native types (e.g. Boolean, Long, String, Date, Timestamp) and Spark SQL types (i.e. Decimal) to Literal expressions.

Converting Symbols to UnresolvedAttribute and AttributeReference Expressions

ExpressionConversions adds conversions of Scala's Symbol to UnresolvedAttribute and AttributeReference expressions.

Converting $-Prefixed String Literals to UnresolvedAttribute Expressions

ExpressionConversions adds conversions of $"col name" to an UnresolvedAttribute expression.


  ordinal: Int): BoundReference

ExpressionConversions adds at method to AttributeReferences to create BoundReference expressions.

import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.expressions._
val boundRef = '
scala> println(boundRef)
input[4, string, true]


star(names: String*): Expression

ExpressionConversions adds the aggregate and non-aggregate functions to Catalyst expressions (e.g. sum, count, upper, star, callFunction, windowSpec, windowExpr)

import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.expressions._
val s = star()

import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.analysis.UnresolvedStar

val s = star("a", "b")
scala> println(s)
WrappedArray(a, b).*

function and distinctFunction

ExpressionConversions allows creating UnresolvedFunction expressions with function and distinctFunction operators.

function(exprs: Expression*): UnresolvedFunction
distinctFunction(exprs: Expression*): UnresolvedFunction
import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.expressions._

// Works with Scala Symbols only
val f = 'f.function()
scala> :type f

scala> f.isDistinct
res0: Boolean = false

val g = 'g.distinctFunction()
scala> g.isDistinct
res1: Boolean = true

notNull and canBeNull

ExpressionConversions adds canBeNull and notNull operators to create a AttributeReference with nullability turned on or off, respectively.

notNull: AttributeReference
canBeNull: AttributeReference


Adds operators to Catalyst expressions for complex expressions

Implicit Conversions for Logical Plans

import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.plans._




table creates a UnresolvedRelation logical operator.

  ref: String): LogicalPlan
  db: String,
  ref: String): LogicalPlan
import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.plans._

val t1 = table("t1")
scala> println(t1.treeString)
'UnresolvedRelation `t1`

Package Object

Catalyst DSL is part of org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl package object.

import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.expressions._


Some implicit conversions from the Catalyst DSL interfere with the implicits conversions from SQLImplicits that are imported automatically in spark-shell (through spark.implicits._).

scala> 'hello.decimal
<console>:30: error: type mismatch;
 found   : Symbol
 required: ?{def decimal: ?}
Note that implicit conversions are not applicable because they are ambiguous:
 both method symbolToColumn in class SQLImplicits of type (s: Symbol)org.apache.spark.sql.ColumnName
 and method DslSymbol in trait ExpressionConversions of type (sym: Symbol)org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.expressions.DslSymbol
 are possible conversion functions from Symbol to ?{def decimal: ?}
<console>:30: error: value decimal is not a member of Symbol

Use sbt console with Spark libraries defined (in build.sbt) instead.

You can also disable an implicit conversion using a trick described in How can an implicit be unimported from the Scala repl?.

// HACK: Disable symbolToColumn implicit conversion
// It is imported automatically in spark-shell (and makes demos impossible)
// implicit def symbolToColumn(s: Symbol): org.apache.spark.sql.ColumnName
trait ThatWasABadIdea
implicit def symbolToColumn(ack: ThatWasABadIdea) = ack

// HACK: Disable $ string interpolator
// It is imported automatically in spark-shell (and makes demos impossible)
implicit class StringToColumn(val sc: StringContext) {}


import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.expressions._
import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.dsl.plans._

// ExpressionConversions

import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.expressions.Literal
scala> val trueLit: Literal = true
trueLit: org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.expressions.Literal = true

import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.analysis.UnresolvedAttribute
scala> val name: UnresolvedAttribute = 'name
name: org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.analysis.UnresolvedAttribute = 'name

// NOTE: This conversion may not work, e.g. in spark-shell
// There is another implicit conversion StringToColumn in SQLImplicits
// It is automatically imported in spark-shell
// See :imports
val id: UnresolvedAttribute = $"id"

import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.expressions.Expression
scala> val expr: Expression = sum('id)
expr: org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.expressions.Expression = sum('id)

// implicit class DslSymbol
scala> 'hello.s
res2: String = hello

scala> 'hello.attr
res4: org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.analysis.UnresolvedAttribute = 'hello

// implicit class DslString
scala> "helo".expr
res0: org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.expressions.Expression = helo

scala> "helo".attr
res1: org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.analysis.UnresolvedAttribute = 'helo

// logical plans

scala> val t1 = table("t1")
t1: org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.plans.logical.LogicalPlan =
'UnresolvedRelation `t1`

scala> val p ='*).serialize[String].where('id % 2 == 0)
p: org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.plans.logical.LogicalPlan =
'Filter false
+- 'SerializeFromObject [staticinvoke(class org.apache.spark.unsafe.types.UTF8String, StringType, fromString, input[0, java.lang.String, true], true) AS value#1]
   +- 'Project ['*]
      +- 'UnresolvedRelation `t1`

// FIXME Does not work because SimpleAnalyzer's catalog is empty
// the p plan references a t1 table
import org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.analysis.SimpleAnalyzer
scala> p.analyze

Last update: 2020-11-16