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  5. 9.2 Write your own Streams Applications

9.2 Write your own Streams Applications

In this guide we will start from scratch on setting up your own project to write a stream processing application using Kafka Streams. It is highly recommended to read the quickstart first on how to run a Streams application written in Kafka Streams if you have not done so.

Setting up a Maven Project

We are going to use a Kafka Streams Maven Archetype for creating a Streams project structure with the following commands:

        mvn archetype:generate \
            -DarchetypeGroupId=org.apache.kafka \
            -DarchetypeArtifactId=streams-quickstart-java \
            -DarchetypeVersion=2.6.0 \
            -DgroupId=streams.examples \
            -DartifactId=streams.examples \
            -Dversion=0.1 \
            -Dpackage=myapps

You can use a different value for groupIdartifactId and package parameters if you like. Assuming the above parameter values are used, this command will create a project structure that looks like this:

        > tree streams.examples
        streams-quickstart
        |-- pom.xml
        |-- src
            |-- main
                |-- java
                |   |-- myapps
                |       |-- LineSplit.java
                |       |-- Pipe.java
                |       |-- WordCount.java
                |-- resources
                    |-- log4j.properties

The pom.xml file included in the project already has the Streams dependency defined. Note, that the generated pom.xml targets Java 8, and does not work with higher Java versions.

There are already several example programs written with Streams library under src/main/java. Since we are going to start writing such programs from scratch, we can now delete these examples:

        > cd streams-quickstart
        > rm src/main/java/myapps/*.java

Writing a first Streams application: Pipe

It’s coding time now! Feel free to open your favorite IDE and import this Maven project, or simply open a text editor and create a java file under src/main/java/myapps. Let’s name it Pipe.java:

        package myapps;

        public class Pipe {

            public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {

            }
        }

We are going to fill in the main function to write this pipe program. Note that we will not list the import statements as we go since IDEs can usually add them automatically. However if you are using a text editor you need to manually add the imports, and at the end of this section we’ll show the complete code snippet with import statement for you.

The first step to write a Streams application is to create a java.util.Properties map to specify different Streams execution configuration values as defined in StreamsConfig. A couple of important configuration values you need to set are: StreamsConfig.BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS_CONFIG, which specifies a list of host/port pairs to use for establishing the initial connection to the Kafka cluster, and StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, which gives the unique identifier of your Streams application to distinguish itself with other applications talking to the same Kafka cluster:

        Properties props = new Properties();
        props.put(StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, "streams-pipe");
        props.put(StreamsConfig.BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS_CONFIG, "localhost:9092");    // assuming that the Kafka broker this application is talking to runs on local machine with port 9092

In addition, you can customize other configurations in the same map, for example, default serialization and deserialization libraries for the record key-value pairs:

        props.put(StreamsConfig.DEFAULT_KEY_SERDE_CLASS_CONFIG, Serdes.String().getClass());
        props.put(StreamsConfig.DEFAULT_VALUE_SERDE_CLASS_CONFIG, Serdes.String().getClass());

For a full list of configurations of Kafka Streams please refer to this table.

Next we will define the computational logic of our Streams application. In Kafka Streams this computational logic is defined as a topology of connected processor nodes. We can use a topology builder to construct such a topology,

        final StreamsBuilder builder = new StreamsBuilder();

And then create a source stream from a Kafka topic named streams-plaintext-input using this topology builder:

        KStream<String, String> source = builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input");

Now we get a KStream that is continuously generating records from its source Kafka topic streams-plaintext-input. The records are organized as String typed key-value pairs. The simplest thing we can do with this stream is to write it into another Kafka topic, say it’s named streams-pipe-output:

        source.to("streams-pipe-output");

Note that we can also concatenate the above two lines into a single line as:

        builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input").to("streams-pipe-output");

We can inspect what kind of topology is created from this builder by doing the following:

        final Topology topology = builder.build();

And print its description to standard output as:

        System.out.println(topology.describe());

If we just stop here, compile and run the program, it will output the following information:

        > mvn clean package
        > mvn exec:java -Dexec.mainClass=myapps.Pipe
        Sub-topologies:
          Sub-topology: 0
            Source: KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000000(topics: streams-plaintext-input) --> KSTREAM-SINK-0000000001
            Sink: KSTREAM-SINK-0000000001(topic: streams-pipe-output) <-- KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000000
        Global Stores:
          none

As shown above, it illustrates that the constructed topology has two processor nodes, a source node KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000000 and a sink node KSTREAM-SINK-0000000001KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000000 continuously read records from Kafka topic streams-plaintext-input and pipe them to its downstream node KSTREAM-SINK-0000000001KSTREAM-SINK-0000000001 will write each of its received record in order to another Kafka topic streams-pipe-output (the --> and <-- arrows dictates the downstream and upstream processor nodes of this node, i.e. “children” and “parents” within the topology graph). It also illustrates that this simple topology has no global state stores associated with it (we will talk about state stores more in the following sections).

Note that we can always describe the topology as we did above at any given point while we are building it in the code, so as a user you can interactively “try and taste” your computational logic defined in the topology until you are happy with it. Suppose we are already done with this simple topology that just pipes data from one Kafka topic to another in an endless streaming manner, we can now construct the Streams client with the two components we have just constructed above: the configuration map specified in a java.util.Properties instance and the Topology object.

        final KafkaStreams streams = new KafkaStreams(topology, props);

By calling its start() function we can trigger the execution of this client. The execution won’t stop until close() is called on this client. We can, for example, add a shutdown hook with a countdown latch to capture a user interrupt and close the client upon terminating this program:

        final CountDownLatch latch = new CountDownLatch(1);

        // attach shutdown handler to catch control-c
        Runtime.getRuntime().addShutdownHook(new Thread("streams-shutdown-hook") {
            @Override
            public void run() {
                streams.close();
                latch.countDown();
            }
        });

        try {
            streams.start();
            latch.await();
        } catch (Throwable e) {
            System.exit(1);
        }
        System.exit(0);

The complete code so far looks like this:

        package myapps;

        import org.apache.kafka.common.serialization.Serdes;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.KafkaStreams;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsBuilder;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsConfig;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.Topology;

        import java.util.Properties;
        import java.util.concurrent.CountDownLatch;

        public class Pipe {

            public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
                Properties props = new Properties();
                props.put(StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, "streams-pipe");
                props.put(StreamsConfig.BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS_CONFIG, "localhost:9092");
                props.put(StreamsConfig.DEFAULT_KEY_SERDE_CLASS_CONFIG, Serdes.String().getClass());
                props.put(StreamsConfig.DEFAULT_VALUE_SERDE_CLASS_CONFIG, Serdes.String().getClass());

                final StreamsBuilder builder = new StreamsBuilder();

                builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input").to("streams-pipe-output");

                final Topology topology = builder.build();

                final KafkaStreams streams = new KafkaStreams(topology, props);
                final CountDownLatch latch = new CountDownLatch(1);

                // attach shutdown handler to catch control-c
                Runtime.getRuntime().addShutdownHook(new Thread("streams-shutdown-hook") {
                    @Override
                    public void run() {
                        streams.close();
                        latch.countDown();
                    }
                });

                try {
                    streams.start();
                    latch.await();
                } catch (Throwable e) {
                    System.exit(1);
                }
                System.exit(0);
            }
        }

If you already have the Kafka broker up and running at localhost:9092, and the topics streams-plaintext-input and streams-pipe-output created on that broker, you can run this code in your IDE or on the command line, using Maven:

        > mvn clean package
        > mvn exec:java -Dexec.mainClass=myapps.Pipe

For detailed instructions on how to run a Streams application and observe its computing results, please read the Play with a Streams Applicationsection. We will not talk about this in the rest of this section.

Writing a second Streams application: Line Split

We have learned how to construct a Streams client with its two key components: the StreamsConfig and Topology. Now let’s move on to add some real processing logic by augmenting the current topology. We can first create another program by first copy the existing Pipe.javaclass:

        > cp src/main/java/myapps/Pipe.java src/main/java/myapps/LineSplit.java

And change its class name as well as the application id config to distinguish with the original program:

        public class LineSplit {

            public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
                Properties props = new Properties();
                props.put(StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, "streams-linesplit");
                // ...
            }
        }

Since each of the source stream’s record is a String typed key-value pair, let’s treat the value string as a text line and split it into words with a FlatMapValues operator:

        KStream<String, String> source = builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input");
        KStream<String, String> words = source.flatMapValues(new ValueMapper<String, Iterable<String>>() {
                    @Override
                    public Iterable<String> apply(String value) {
                        return Arrays.asList(value.split("\\W+"));
                    }
                });

The operator will take the source stream as its input, and generate a new stream named words by processing each record from its source stream in order and breaking its value string into a list of words, and producing each word as a new record to the output words stream. This is a stateless operator that does not need to keep track of any previously received records or processed results. Note if you are using JDK 8 you can use lambda expression and simplify the above code as:

        KStream<String, String> source = builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input");
        KStream<String, String> words = source.flatMapValues(value -> Arrays.asList(value.split("\\W+")));

And finally we can write the word stream back into another Kafka topic, say streams-linesplit-output. Again, these two steps can be concatenated as the following (assuming lambda expression is used):

        KStream<String, String> source = builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input");
        source.flatMapValues(value -> Arrays.asList(value.split("\\W+")))
              .to("streams-linesplit-output");

If we now describe this augmented topology as System.out.println(topology.describe()), we will get the following:

        > mvn clean package
        > mvn exec:java -Dexec.mainClass=myapps.LineSplit
        Sub-topologies:
          Sub-topology: 0
            Source: KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000000(topics: streams-plaintext-input) --> KSTREAM-FLATMAPVALUES-0000000001
            Processor: KSTREAM-FLATMAPVALUES-0000000001(stores: []) --> KSTREAM-SINK-0000000002 <-- KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000000
            Sink: KSTREAM-SINK-0000000002(topic: streams-linesplit-output) <-- KSTREAM-FLATMAPVALUES-0000000001
          Global Stores:
            none

As we can see above, a new processor node KSTREAM-FLATMAPVALUES-0000000001 is injected into the topology between the original source and sink nodes. It takes the source node as its parent and the sink node as its child. In other words, each record fetched by the source node will first traverse to the newly added KSTREAM-FLATMAPVALUES-0000000001 node to be processed, and one or more new records will be generated as a result. They will continue traverse down to the sink node to be written back to Kafka. Note this processor node is “stateless” as it is not associated with any stores (i.e. (stores: [])).

The complete code looks like this (assuming lambda expression is used):

        package myapps;

        import org.apache.kafka.common.serialization.Serdes;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.KafkaStreams;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsBuilder;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsConfig;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.Topology;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.kstream.KStream;

        import java.util.Arrays;
        import java.util.Properties;
        import java.util.concurrent.CountDownLatch;

        public class LineSplit {

            public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
                Properties props = new Properties();
                props.put(StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, "streams-linesplit");
                props.put(StreamsConfig.BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS_CONFIG, "localhost:9092");
                props.put(StreamsConfig.DEFAULT_KEY_SERDE_CLASS_CONFIG, Serdes.String().getClass());
                props.put(StreamsConfig.DEFAULT_VALUE_SERDE_CLASS_CONFIG, Serdes.String().getClass());

                final StreamsBuilder builder = new StreamsBuilder();

                KStream<String, String> source = builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input");
                source.flatMapValues(value -> Arrays.asList(value.split("\\W+")))
                      .to("streams-linesplit-output");

                final Topology topology = builder.build();
                final KafkaStreams streams = new KafkaStreams(topology, props);
                final CountDownLatch latch = new CountDownLatch(1);

                // ... same as Pipe.java above
            }
        }

Writing a third Streams application: Wordcount

Let’s now take a step further to add some “stateful” computations to the topology by counting the occurrence of the words split from the source text stream. Following similar steps let’s create another program based on the LineSplit.java class:

        public class WordCount {

            public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
                Properties props = new Properties();
                props.put(StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, "streams-wordcount");
                // ...
            }
        }

In order to count the words we can first modify the flatMapValues operator to treat all of them as lower case (assuming lambda expression is used):

        source.flatMapValues(new ValueMapper<String, Iterable<String>>() {
                    @Override
                    public Iterable<String> apply(String value) {
                        return Arrays.asList(value.toLowerCase(Locale.getDefault()).split("\\W+"));
                    }
                });

In order to do the counting aggregation we have to first specify that we want to key the stream on the value string, i.e. the lower cased word, with a groupBy operator. This operator generate a new grouped stream, which can then be aggregated by a count operator, which generates a running count on each of the grouped keys:

        KTable<String, Long> counts =
        source.flatMapValues(new ValueMapper<String, Iterable<String>>() {
                    @Override
                    public Iterable<String> apply(String value) {
                        return Arrays.asList(value.toLowerCase(Locale.getDefault()).split("\\W+"));
                    }
                })
              .groupBy(new KeyValueMapper<String, String, String>() {
                   @Override
                   public String apply(String key, String value) {
                       return value;
                   }
                })
              // Materialize the result into a KeyValueStore named "counts-store".
              // The Materialized store is always of type <Bytes, byte[]> as this is the format of the inner most store.
              .count(Materialized.<String, Long, KeyValueStore<Bytes, byte[]>> as("counts-store"));

Note that the count operator has a Materialized parameter that specifies that the running count should be stored in a state store named counts-store. This Counts store can be queried in real-time, with details described in the Developer Manual.

We can also write the counts KTable’s changelog stream back into another Kafka topic, say streams-wordcount-output. Because the result is a changelog stream, the output topic streams-wordcount-output should be configured with log compaction enabled. Note that this time the value type is no longer String but Long, so the default serialization classes are not viable for writing it to Kafka anymore. We need to provide overridden serialization methods for Long types, otherwise a runtime exception will be thrown:

        counts.toStream().to("streams-wordcount-output", Produced.with(Serdes.String(), Serdes.Long()));

Note that in order to read the changelog stream from topic streams-wordcount-output, one needs to set the value deserialization as org.apache.kafka.common.serialization.LongDeserializer. Details of this can be found in the Play with a Streams Applicationsection. Assuming lambda expression from JDK 8 can be used, the above code can be simplified as:

        KStream<String, String> source = builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input");
        source.flatMapValues(value -> Arrays.asList(value.toLowerCase(Locale.getDefault()).split("\\W+")))
              .groupBy((key, value) -> value)
              .count(Materialized.<String, Long, KeyValueStore<Bytes, byte[]>>as("counts-store"))
              .toStream()
              .to("streams-wordcount-output", Produced.with(Serdes.String(), Serdes.Long()));

If we again describe this augmented topology as System.out.println(topology.describe()), we will get the following:

        > mvn clean package
        > mvn exec:java -Dexec.mainClass=myapps.WordCount
        Sub-topologies:
          Sub-topology: 0
            Source: KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000000(topics: streams-plaintext-input) --> KSTREAM-FLATMAPVALUES-0000000001
            Processor: KSTREAM-FLATMAPVALUES-0000000001(stores: []) --> KSTREAM-KEY-SELECT-0000000002 <-- KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000000
            Processor: KSTREAM-KEY-SELECT-0000000002(stores: []) --> KSTREAM-FILTER-0000000005 <-- KSTREAM-FLATMAPVALUES-0000000001
            Processor: KSTREAM-FILTER-0000000005(stores: []) --> KSTREAM-SINK-0000000004 <-- KSTREAM-KEY-SELECT-0000000002
            Sink: KSTREAM-SINK-0000000004(topic: Counts-repartition) <-- KSTREAM-FILTER-0000000005
          Sub-topology: 1
            Source: KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000006(topics: Counts-repartition) --> KSTREAM-AGGREGATE-0000000003
            Processor: KSTREAM-AGGREGATE-0000000003(stores: [Counts]) --> KTABLE-TOSTREAM-0000000007 <-- KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000006
            Processor: KTABLE-TOSTREAM-0000000007(stores: []) --> KSTREAM-SINK-0000000008 <-- KSTREAM-AGGREGATE-0000000003
            Sink: KSTREAM-SINK-0000000008(topic: streams-wordcount-output) <-- KTABLE-TOSTREAM-0000000007
        Global Stores:
          none

As we can see above, the topology now contains two disconnected sub-topologies. The first sub-topology’s sink node KSTREAM-SINK-0000000004 will write to a repartition topic Counts-repartition, which will be read by the second sub-topology’s source node KSTREAM-SOURCE-0000000006. The repartition topic is used to “shuffle” the source stream by its aggregation key, which is in this case the value string. In addition, inside the first sub-topology a stateless KSTREAM-FILTER-0000000005 node is injected between the grouping KSTREAM-KEY-SELECT-0000000002 node and the sink node to filter out any intermediate record whose aggregate key is empty.

In the second sub-topology, the aggregation node KSTREAM-AGGREGATE-0000000003 is associated with a state store named Counts (the name is specified by the user in the count operator). Upon receiving each record from its upcoming stream source node, the aggregation processor will first query its associated Counts store to get the current count for that key, augment by one, and then write the new count back to the store. Each updated count for the key will also be piped downstream to the KTABLE-TOSTREAM-0000000007 node, which interpret this update stream as a record stream before further piping to the sink node KSTREAM-SINK-0000000008 for writing back to Kafka.

The complete code looks like this (assuming lambda expression is used):

        package myapps;

        import org.apache.kafka.common.serialization.Serdes;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.KafkaStreams;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsBuilder;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.StreamsConfig;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.Topology;
        import org.apache.kafka.streams.kstream.KStream;

        import java.util.Arrays;
        import java.util.Locale;
        import java.util.Properties;
        import java.util.concurrent.CountDownLatch;

        public class WordCount {

            public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
                Properties props = new Properties();
                props.put(StreamsConfig.APPLICATION_ID_CONFIG, "streams-wordcount");
                props.put(StreamsConfig.BOOTSTRAP_SERVERS_CONFIG, "localhost:9092");
                props.put(StreamsConfig.DEFAULT_KEY_SERDE_CLASS_CONFIG, Serdes.String().getClass());
                props.put(StreamsConfig.DEFAULT_VALUE_SERDE_CLASS_CONFIG, Serdes.String().getClass());

                final StreamsBuilder builder = new StreamsBuilder();

                KStream<String, String> source = builder.stream("streams-plaintext-input");
                source.flatMapValues(value -> Arrays.asList(value.toLowerCase(Locale.getDefault()).split("\\W+")))
                      .groupBy((key, value) -> value)
                      .count(Materialized.<String, Long, KeyValueStore<Bytes, byte[]>>as("counts-store"))
                      .toStream()
                      .to("streams-wordcount-output", Produced.with(Serdes.String(), Serdes.Long()));

                final Topology topology = builder.build();
                final KafkaStreams streams = new KafkaStreams(topology, props);
                final CountDownLatch latch = new CountDownLatch(1);

                // ... same as Pipe.java above
            }
        }