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Build Status

This repository is no longer under development. Everything here should continue to work (with appropriate Spark and node versions), but the repo will not be further developed or maintained. I will still try to review any PRs. If anyone has any interest in taking this over, please contact @henridf.

Apache Spark <=> Node.js

Node.js bindings for Apache Spark DataFrame APIs.

Table of Contents

API Docs

API documentation is here.


This project is already usable in its present form, but it is still in early stages and under development. APIs may change.

Notably not yet implemented are:

  • support for user-defined functions
  • jvm-side helpers to for functions/methods which cannot currently be called from node (for example because they take parameters types like Seq)

Getting started


  • Linux or OS X (on Windows, there are currently problems building node add-ons)
  • Node.js, version 4+
  • Java 8
  • Spark >= 1.5. You'll need the Spark Assembly jar, which contains all of the Spark classes. If you don't have an existing installation, the easiest is to get the binaries from the Spark downloads page (choose "pre-built for Hadoop 2.6 and later"). Or you can download the Spark sources and build it yourself. More information here.


From NPM

$ npm install apache-spark-node

From source

Clone git repo, then:

$ npm install
$ npm run compile


Set ASSEMBLY_JAR to the location of your assembly JAR and run spark-node from the directory where you issued npm install apache-spark-node:

ASSEMBLY_JAR=/path/to/spark-assembly-1.6.0-SNAPSHOT-hadoop2.2.0.jar node_modules/apache-spark-node/bin/spark-node


If you want to play with spark-node but don't want to download the dependencies or build, you can run it in docker.

$ docker run -it henridf/spark-node

This will take you to the normal spark-node shell. Optionally, you can map host volumes to use files on your host system with spark-node. For example

$ docker run -v /var/data:/data -it henridf/spark-node

will map the host's /var/data directory to /data within the Docker image. This means that you can use

$ var df ="/data/people.json")

to load a file at /var/data/people.json on the host system.


(Note: This section is a quick overview of the available APIs in spark-node; it is not general introduction to Spark or to DataFrames.)

Start the spark-node shell (this assumes you've that you've ASSEMBLY_JAR as an environment variable):

$ ./bin/spark-node

A sqlContext global object is available in the shell. Its functions are used to create DataFrames, register DataFrames as tables, execute SQL over tables, cache tables, and read parquet files.

To see available command-line options, do ./bin/spark-node --help.

Creating a DataFrame

Load a dataframe from a json file:

$ var df ="./data/people.json")

Load a dataframe from a list of javascript objects:

$ var df = sqlContext.createDataFrame([{"name":"Michael"}, {"name":"Andy", "age":30}, {"name":"Justin", "age": 19}])

Pretty-print dataframe contents to stdout:

| age|   name|
|  30|   Andy|
|  19| Justin|

DataFrame Operations

Print the dataframe's schema in a tree format:

$ df.printSchema()

Select only the "name" column:


or the shorter (equivalent) version:


collect the result (as an array of rows) and assign it to a javascript variable:

$ var res ="name").collectSync()

Select everybody and increment age by 1:

$"name"), df.col("age").plus(1)).show()

Select people older than 21:

$ df.filter(df.col("age").gt(21)).show()

Count people by age:

$ df.groupBy("age").count().show()

Dataframe functions

A sqlFunctions global object is available in the shell. It contains a variety of built-in functions for operating on dataframes.

For example, to find the minimum and average of "age" across all rows:

$ var F = sqlFunctions;

$ df.agg(F.min(df.col("age")), F.avg(df.col("age"))).show()

Running SQL Queries Programmatically

Register df as a table named people:

$ df.registerTempTable("people")

Run a SQL query:

$ var teens = sqlContext.sql("SELECT name FROM people WHERE age >= 13 AND age <= 19")


Word count (aka 'big data hello world')

Create dataframe from text file:

$ var lines ="data/words.txt");

(Note: support for the "text" format was added in Spark 1.6).

Split strings into arrays:

$ var F = sqlFunctions;
$ var splits ="value"), " ").as("words"));

Explode the arrays into individual rows:

$ var occurrences ="words")).as("word"));

We now have a dataframe with one row per word occurrence. So we group and count occurrences of the same word and we're done:

$ var counts = occurrences.groupBy("word").count()

$ counts.where("count>10").sort(counts.col("count")).show()

Running spark-node against a standalone cluster

When you run bin/spark-node without passing a --master argument, the spark-node process runs a spark worker in the same process. To run the spark-node shell against a cluser, use the --master argument. Here's an example.

On a worker node, do the following:

$ cd path/to/spark/distribution
$ ./sbin/

Navigate to http://hostname:8080 and get the Spark URL (top line), which will be something like spark://worker_hostname:7077. Then start any number of slaves on your cluster hosts by running ./sbin/ --master <spark_url>.

Then on your client machine:

$ cd path/to/apache-spark-node
$ ./bin/spark-node --master <spark_url>

If you return to the master Web UI (http://hostname:8080), you should now see an application with name "spark-node shell" under "Running applications". Following that link gets you to the Web UI of the node-spark shell itself.

Misc notes

This was done under the self-imposed constraint of not making modifications to the spark sources. This results in hacks like the NodeSparkSubmit Scala class, which are workaround for the fact that we can't add explicit awareness of this shell to SparkSubmit.

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