Tables

Your project Table Storage is available in the Tables tab in the Storage section. All data tables are organized into buckets that can also be used to share tables between projects.

The actual data tables and the buckets are created primarily by KBC components (extractors, transformations and applications), or they are imported from CSV files. In case you want to import data to an already existing table, the imported table must have all the columns of the old, existing table, even if the old table is empty. If some columns are missing, you will receive a message like this:

Some columns are missing in the csv file. Missing columns: lat,long. Expected columns: lat,long.
Please check if the expected "," delimiter is used in the csv file.

Also note that the imported file may contain additional columns not present in the existing table. In that case, the columns from the imported table will be added to the existing table.

Aliases

Apart from actual tables, it is also possible to create aliases. They are internally implemented as database views and inherit their basic properties.

An alias does not contain any actual data; it is simply a link to some already existing data. Hence an alias cannot be written to, and its size does not count to your project quota.

In addition, if you create an alias from a table, the table cannot be deleted without the alias being deleted as well. If you attempt to do so, you will receive an error message similar to this one:

The blog-data table cannot be deleted. Please delete its aliases first: in.c-tutorial.blog-data,in.c-my-bucket.blog-data.

See an example use of an alias in our tutorial.

Screenshot - Create alias

If you select any table from any bucket in Storage, detailed information about the table will be displayed on the right side of your screen. This is what we refer to as the Table detail throughout our documentation.

Aliases cannot be chained and can be applied only between buckets with the same backend. An alias table can be filtered by a simple condition.

Screenshot - Create Simple alias

There are the following limitations:

  • Filtering is enabled only on indexed columns.
  • When an alias is created, the index on the filtered column of the source table cannot be removed.
  • Alias columns are automatically synchronized, by default, with the source table. Columns added to the source table will be added to the alias automatically. You can prevent this by disabling Synchronize columns with source table.

Primary Keys and Indexes

Each table may have a primary key defined on one or more columns. A primary key represents an identifier of each row in the table. Each primary key can be defined manually on a table or as part of Output Mapping of Transformations and Applications. The settings on both places must match, otherwise you will receive an error:

Output mapping does not match destination table: primary key '' does not match 'Id' in 'out.c-tutorial.opportunity_denorm' (check transformations Denormalize opportunities (id opportunity.denormalize-opportunities)).

This means that you cannot change the primary key of a table freely. Also note that you cannot set the primary key on a column which contains duplicates — you will receive the following error:

Cannot create new primary key, duplicate values in primary key columns

If you want to manually set a primary key on a table, you can do so in Storage:

Screenshot - Create Primary Key

Then select the columns you wish to add to the primary key:

Screenshot - Select columns

To remove an existing primary key, click the bin icon:

Screenshot - Remove Primary Key

Note that creating and removing the primary key can take some time on large tables.

Apart from the primary key, you can mark a column as indexed. Indexes have some performance effects only on the deprecated MySQL backend. On the Redshfit and Snowflake backends, marking a column as indexed does not have any effect. You can mark a column as indexed in the table detail:

Screenshot - Create Index

Primary Key Deduplication

When a primary key is defined on a column, the value of that column is guaranteed to be unique in that table. With a primary key defined on multiple columns, the combination of their values is unique.

As data are loaded into the table, only one of the rows with duplicate values is preserved. All the other duplicates are ignored.

Let’s say you have a table with three columns: name, age and money. The primary key is defined on two of them: name and age. When you load the following data into your table:

name age money
John 15 $150
John 34 $340
Darla 60 $600
Annie 30 $500
John 34 $340000
Darla 60 $600000

their uniqueness is checked and the data are de-duplicated. The result table looks like this:

name age money
John 15 $150
Darla 60 $600
John 34 $340000
Annie 30 $500

The order of rows in the imported file is not important and is not kept. In our example, the rows John,34,$340 and Darla,60,$600000 were discarded.

Incremental Loading

When a primary key is defined on a column, it is also possible to take advantage of incremental loads. If you load data into a table incrementally, new rows will be added and existing rows will be updated. No rows will be deleted. If you have a table with a primary key defined on the columns name and age:

name age money
John 15 $150
John 34 $340
Darla 60 $600

and you import the following data to the table:

name age money
Annie 30 $500
John 34 $340000
Darla 60 $600000

the result table will contain:

name age money
John 15 $150
Darla 60 $600000
John 34 $340000
Annie 30 $500

When importing data into a table with a primary key, the uniqueness is checked. The record John,34,$340000 will overwrite the row John,34,$340, because it has the same primary key. The above applies only when incremental load is used.

When incremental is not used, the contents of the target table are cleared before the load. When a primary key is not defined and an incremental load is used, it simply appends the data to the table and does not update anything.

Copying Tables / Table Snapshots

If you want to physically copy a table, use the table snapshot feature. A copy of the table contents at the time of creating the snapshot will be made. It can be used immediately to make a physical copy of the table, or later, to revert the table into its previous state.

Table Snapshots are useful when experimenting with extractors or transformations, or when refactoring your project: you can create a copy of your output table, experiment a little, and then compare the new output table with the original one to make sure your output remained the same. They can also be used as a workaround to renaming tables because this feature is not available yet.