Adding your own Index Type

Basic ideas


Each index type must have an ID, which is a unique identifier and the canonical name of an index type used in CLI, server config, file path, etc.

The getID() method in the Index interface returns the ID of this index type to any infrastructure that uses it.


A heuristic index stores additional and usually partial information of a dataset in a more compact way to speed up lookups in various ways. Therefore, each index must have a domain on which it is applied. For instance, if an index marks the max value of a data set, we must know how big the data set is when we define the “max” value (i.e. it can be the max of a group of rows, a data partition, or even a whole table). When a new index type is created, it must implement a method Set<Level> getSupportedIndexLevels(); which returns the data set level it can support. The levels are defined as an enum in Index interface.

Interface overlook

Indexing methods

Apart from the methods mentioned above, this section gives a quick guide on the most important methods needed to create a new index type. For the complete document on Index interface, please refer to the Java Doc of the source code.

There are two main functionalities in the Index interface:

boolean matches(Object expression) throws UnsupportedOperationException;

<I> Iterator<I> lookUp(Object expression) throws UnsupportedOperationException;

The first matches() method takes an expression, and returns if a predicate (the expression) can hold on a specific Level of data. For example, if an index records the max value of an integer column, it could easily tell if col_val > 5 can hold by comparing 5 to the max value.

The second lookUp() method is optional. Instead of only returning a boolean about whether a predicate can hold, it returns an iterator of all the possible positions where the data can be found. An index should always have the same result on matches() and lookUp().hasNext().

Adding and persisting values

The following methods are used to add values to the index and persist index objects onto disk:

boolean addValues(Map<String, List<Object>> values) throws IOException;

Index deserialize(InputStream in) throws IOException;

void serialize(OutputStream out) throws IOException;

The usage of them are pretty straightforward. A good example to help understand their usage is the source code of MinMaxIndex, where adding values is just to update the max and min variables according to the input number, and serialize()/deserialize()