Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How to pass on custom variables to Mapper and Reducer class?

One way is to use custom counters but they are there for a specific reason, ie. to keep count of some specific state, for example, "NUMBER_OF_RECORDS_DISCARDED".And I believe one can only increment these counters and not set to any arbitrary value(I may be wrong here). But sure they can be used as message passers, but there is a better way, and that is to use job configuration to set a variable and seamlessly.

Setting the message/variable using the old mapred API
JobConf job = (JobConf) getConf();
job.set("messageToBePassed-OR-anyValue", "123-awesome-value :P");

Setting the message/variable using the new mapreduce API:
Configuration conf = new Configuration();
conf.set("messageToBePassed-OR-anyValue", "123-awesome-value :P");
Job job = new Job(conf);

Getting the message/variable using the old API in the Mapper and Reducer: The configure() has to be implemented in the Mapper and Reducer class and the values may be then assigned to a class member so as to be used inside map() or reduce().
private String awesomeMessage;
public void configure(JobConf job) {
awesomeMessage = Long.parseLong(job.get("messageToBePassed-OR-anyValue"));

The variable awesomeMessage can then be used with the map and reduce functions.

Getting the message/variable using the new API in the Mapper and Reducer: Similar thing needs to be done here in the setup().
Configuration conf = context.getConfiguration();
String param = conf.get("messageToBePassed-OR-anyValue");

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Any feedback, good or bad is most welcome.


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