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Map Examples

Aerospike maps can be used to implement use cases such as:

  • Event History Containers
  • Document Store
  • Leaderboards

Modeling Concepts

Nested lists and maps may be combined to model complex use cases. In the examples below, the pseudo code is described in the map operations. Each language client for Aerospike, such as Java or Python, will have equivalent methods or functions to these pseudocode ones.


Aerospike supports multi-operation transactions, which execute in order on one or more bins of a single record (under a record lock). In all language clients such a transaction is invoked using the operate() method.


Starting with Aerospike version 4.6.0, list and map operations can be applied to deeply nested structures.

Developers familiar with other NoSQL document stores will see the flexibility in applying map and list operations on bins with nested CDTs. Combined with (operate) single record transactions, Aerospike provides powerful functionality for modeling a wide range of use cases.


Event Containers with Unique Timestamps

In this example we want to store and query user event data. Each record contains the recent N events of a specific user, keyed by that user's unique identifier.

Assuming that events will not occur at the same millisecond, we'll use millisecond timestamps as map keys for distinct events. Each event's data will be a tuple [ event-type, { attr1: v1, attr2: v2, ... } ].

Our sample data will be the following events of a single user:

1523474230000: ['fav', {'sku':1, 'b':2}],
1523474231001: ['comment', {'sku':2, 'b':22}],
1523474236006: ['viewed', {'foo':'bar', 'sku':3, 'zz':'top'}],
1523474235005: ['comment', {'sku':1, 'c':1234}],
1523474233003: ['viewed', {'sku':3, 'z':26}],
1523474234004: ['viewed', {'sku':1, 'ff':'hhhl'}]

Retrieving data for specific event types

We'll retrieve all the events of a specific event type, using a get_all_by_value map operation:

get_all_by_value(['comment', *])
1523474231001: ['comment', {'sku':2, 'b':22}],
1523474235005: ['comment', {'sku':1, 'c':1234}]

The argument for the operation is the tuple ['comment', *]. The wildcard singleton (*) acts as a glob that matches zero or more elements. As get_all_by_value compares distinct values against each other (it is not a range operation) all tuples starting with 'comment' as their first element are matched.


This modeling approach takes advantage of how Aerospike lists are compared to each other. We can currently only rely on it to identify lists whose first element is a specific value, followed by any number of 'trivial' attributes, which we cannot query for by value.

Expanding on that example, we will retrieve all the events for multiple event types:

get_all_by_value_list([['comment', *], ['fav', *]])
1523474230000: ['fav', {'sku':1, 'b':2}],
1523474231001: ['comment', {'sku':2, 'b':22}],
1523474235005: ['comment', {'sku':1, 'c':1234}]

Counting Events

We will get a count of a specific event type against the sample data above by specifying a returnType=count. The default behavior would be that of returnType=KeyValue:

get_all_by_value(['viewed', *], returnType=count)
get_all_by_value(['comment', *], returnType=count)

Trimming the Map

Often we want to cap the number of events captured within a map. We will use the remove_by_index_range map operation to keep the last 1000 events:

remove_by_index_range(-1000, 1000, INVERTED, returnType=none)

Event Containers with Unique UUIDS

In some use cases a timestamp would result in frequent collisions. We can model using a unique identifier as the map key.

In this example a conversation thread is stored in a single record. The map keys are message UUIDs, and the map values are list tuples [timestamp, msg-string, username].

Our sample data will be the messages in a single conversation thread:

'0edf5b73-535c-4be7-b653-c0513dc79fb4': [1523474230, "Billie Jean is not my lover", "MJ"],
'29342a0b-e20f-4676-9ecf-dfdf02ef6683': [1523474241, "She's just a girl who", "MJ"],
'31a8ba1b-8415-aab7-0ecc-56ee659f0a83': [1523474245, "claims that I am the one", "MJ"],
'9f54b4f8-992e-427f-9fb3-e63348cd6ac9': [1523474249, "...", "Tito"],
'1ae56b18-7a3c-4f64-adb7-2e845eb5094e': [1523474257, "But the kid is not my son", "MJ"],
'08785e96-eb1b-4a74-a767-7b56e8f13ea9': [1523474306, "ok...", "Tito"],
'319fa1a6-0640-4354-a426-10c4d3459f0a': [1523474316, "Hee-hee!", "MJ"]

We will retrieve all the messages in a range of timestamps, using the get_by_value_interval map operation:

get_by_value_interval([1523474240, nil], [1523474246, nil])
'29342a0b-e20f-4676-9ecf-dfdf02ef6683': [1523474241, "She's just a girl who", "MJ"],
'31a8ba1b-8415-aab7-0ecc-56ee659f0a83': [1523474245, "claims that I am the one", "MJ"]

The arguments for the operation are minimum and maximum tuples of [timestamp, nil]. The NIL singleton is lower in value than a string. The get_by_value_interval checks if each map value (a list) is between the two list arguments of the operation.

By the interval comparison rules the following is evaluated:

[1523474240, nil][1523474230, "Billie Jean is not my lover", "MJ"] < [1523474246, nil] (false)
[1523474240, nil][1523474241, "She's just a girl who", "MJ"] < [1523474246, nil] (true)
[1523474240, nil][1523474245, "claims that I am the one", "MJ"] < [1523474246, nil] (true)
[1523474240, nil][1523474249, "...", "Tito"][1523474246, nil] (false)
[1523474240, nil][1523474257, "But the kid is not my son", "MJ"][1523474246, nil] (false)
[1523474240, nil][1523474306, "ok...", "Tito"][1523474246, nil] (false)
[1523474240, nil][1523474316, "Hee-hee!", "MJ"][1523474246, nil] (false)

Again, this modeling approach takes advantage of how Aerospike lists are compared to each other. We can currently only rely on it to identify lists whose first element is in a range of specified values. The subsequent 'trivial' attributes cannot be queried by value.