Building and deploying UDFs

This section explains the steps to compile Impala UDFs from C++ source code, and deploy the resulting libraries for use in Impala queries.

Impala UDF development package ships with a sample build environment for UDFs, that you can study, experiment with, and adapt for your own use.

To build the sample environment:
  1. Install the Impala UDF development package as described in Installing the UDF development package.
  2. Run the following commands:
    cmake .

The cmake configuration command reads the file CMakeLists.txt and generates a Makefile customized for your particular directory paths. Then the make command runs the actual build steps based on the rules in the Makefile.

Impala loads the shared library from an HDFS location. After building a shared library containing one or more UDFs, use hdfs dfs or hadoop fs commands to copy the binary file to an HDFS location readable by Impala.

The final step in deployment is to issue a CREATE FUNCTION statement in the impala-shell interpreter to make Impala aware of the new function. Because each function is associated with a particular database, always issue a USE statement to the appropriate database before creating a function, or specify a fully qualified name, that is, CREATE FUNCTION db_name.function_name.

As you update the UDF code and redeploy updated versions of a shared library, use DROP FUNCTION and CREATE FUNCTION to let Impala pick up the latest version of the code.

Prerequisites for the build environment are:
  1. Install the packages using the appropriate package installation command for your Linux distribution.
    sudo yum install gcc-c++ cmake boost-devel
    sudo yum install impala-udf-devel
    # The package name on Ubuntu and Debian is impala-udf-dev.
  2. Download the UDF sample code:
    git clone
    cd impala-udf-samples && cmake . && make
  3. Unpack the sample code in udf_samples.tar.gz and use that as a template to set up your build environment.

To build the original samples:

# Process CMakeLists.txt and set up appropriate Makefiles.
cmake .
# Generate shared libraries from UDF and UDAF sample code,
# udf_samples/ and udf_samples/

The sample code to examine, experiment with, and adapt is in these files:

  • udf-sample.h: Header file that declares the signature for a scalar UDF (AddUDF).
  • Sample source for a simple UDF that adds two integers. Because Impala can reference multiple function entry points from the same shared library, you could add other UDF functions in this file and add their signatures to the corresponding header file.
  • Basic unit tests for the sample UDF.
  • uda-sample.h: Header file that declares the signature for sample aggregate functions. The SQL functions will be called COUNT, AVG, and STRINGCONCAT. Because aggregate functions require more elaborate coding to handle the processing for multiple phases, there are several underlying C++ functions such as CountInit, AvgUpdate, and StringConcatFinalize.
  • Sample source for simple UDAFs that demonstrate how to manage the state transitions as the underlying functions are called during the different phases of query processing.
    • The UDAF that imitates the COUNT function keeps track of a single incrementing number; the merge functions combine the intermediate count values from each Impala node, and the combined number is returned verbatim by the finalize function.
    • The UDAF that imitates the AVG function keeps track of two numbers, a count of rows processed and the sum of values for a column. These numbers are updated and merged as with COUNT, then the finalize function divides them to produce and return the final average value.
    • The UDAF that concatenates string values into a comma-separated list demonstrates how to manage storage for a string that increases in length as the function is called for multiple rows.
  • basic unit tests for the sample UDAFs.