Rumble relies on the JSONiq language.

JSONiq reference

The complete specification can be found here on the JSONiq.org website. Note that it is not fully implemented yet (see below).

JSONiq tutorial

A tutorial can be found here. All queries in this tutorial will work with Rumble.

JSONiq tutorial for Python users

A tutorial aimed at Python users can be found here. Please keep in mind, though, that examples using not supported features may not work (see below).

Nested FLWOR expressions

FLWOR expressions now support nestedness, for example like so:

let $x := for $x in json-file("file.json")
          where $x.field eq "foo"
          return $x
return count($x)

However, keep in mind that parallelization cannot be nested in Spark (there cannot be a job within a job), that is, the following will not work:

for $x in json-file("file1.json")
let $z := for $y in json-file("file2.json")
          where $y.foo eq $x.fbar
          return $y
return count($z)

Expressions pushed down to Spark

Many expressions are pushed down to Spark out of the box. For example, this will work on a large file leveraging the parallelism of Spark:

count(json-file("file.json")[$$.field eq "foo"].bar[].foo[[1]])

What is pushed down so far is:

  • FLWOR expressions (as soon as a for clause is encountered, binding a variable to a sequence generated with json-file() or parallelize())
  • aggregation functions such as count
  • JSON navigation expressions: object lookup (as well as keys() call), array lookup, array unboxing, filtering predicates
  • predicates on positions, include use of context-dependent functions position() and last(), e.g.,
  • type checking (instance of, treat as)
  • many builtin function calls (head, tail, exist, etc)
json-file("file.json")[position() ge 10 and position() le last() - 2]

More expressions working on sequences will be pushed down in the future, prioritized on the feedback we receive.

We also started to push down some expressions to DataFrames and Spark SQL (obtained via structured-json-file, csv-file and parquet-file calls). In particular, keys() pushes down the schema lookup if used on parquet-file() and structured-json-file(). Likewise, count() as well as object lookup, array unboxing and array lookup is also pushed down on DataFrames.

When an expression does not support pushdown, it will materialize automaticaly. To avoid issues, the materializion is capped by default at 200 items, but this can be changed on the command line with --materialization-cap. A warning is issued if a materialization happened and the sequence was truncated on screen. An error is thrown if this happens within a query.

External global variables.

Prologs with user-defined functions and global variables are now fully supported. Global external variables with string values are supported (use "--variable:foo bar" on the command line to assign values to them).

Library modules

Library modules are now supported (experimental, please report bugs), and their namespace URI is used for resolution. If it is relative, it is resolved against the importing module location.

The same schemes are supported as for reading queries and data: file, hdfs, and so on. HTTP is also supported: you can import modules from the Web!

Example of library module (the file name is library-module.jq):

module namespace m = "library-module.jq";

declare variable $m:x := 2;

declare function mod:func($v) {
  $m:x + $v

Example of importing module (assuming it is in the same directory):

import module namespace mod = "library-module.jq";



Try/catch expressions are supported. Error codes are in the default, Rumble namespace and do not need prefixes.

try { 1 div 0 } catch FOAR0001 { "Division by zero!" }

Supported types

The type system is not quite complete yet, although a lot of progress was made. Below is a complete list of JSONiq types and their support status. All builtin types are in the default type namespace, so that no prefix is needed.

Type Status
atomic supported
anyURI supported
base64Binary supported
boolean supported
byte not supported
date supported
dateTime supported
dateTimeStamp not supported
dayTimeDuration supported
decimal supported
double supported
duration supported
float supported
gDay not supported
gMonth not supported
gYear not supported
gYearMonth not supported
hexBinary supported
int not supported
integer supported
long not supported
negativeInteger not supported
nonPositiveInteger not supported
nonNegativeInteger not supported
positiveInteger not supported
short not supported
string supported
time supported
unsignedByte not supported
unsignedInt not supported
unsignedLong not supported
unsignedShort not supported
yearMonthDuration supported

Unsupported/Unimplemented features (beta release)

Most core features of JSONiq are now in place, and we are working on getting the last (less used) ones into Rumble as well. We prioritize their implementation on user requests.


Some prolog settings (base URI, ordering mode, decimal format, namespace declarations) are not supported yet.

Location hints for the resolution of modules are not supported yet.

Context item declarations are not supported yet.

FLWOR features

Window clauses are not supported, because they are not compatible with the Spark execution model.

Function types

Function type syntax is not supported yet, but is planned. Function coercion is thus also not implemented yet, but is planned.

Function annotations are not supported (%public, %private...), but this is planned.

Builtin functions

A large number of JSONiq functions in the library are now supported (see function documentation), and the remaining ones (typically, the fancier versions with an extra tuning parameter) get added continuously. Please take a look at the function library documentation to know which functions are available.

Constructors for atomic types are not implemented yet. Please use the "cast as" expression instead, which are equivalent.

Buitin functions cannot yet be used with named function reference expressions (example: concat#2).

Error variables

Error variables ($err:code, ...) for inside catch blocks are not supported.

Updates and scripting

There are future plans to support JSONiq updates and scripting.