Easy Hadoop Scripting with Pydoop Script

Pydoop Script is the easiest way to write simple MapReduce programs for Hadoop. With Pydoop Script, your code focuses on the core of the MapReduce model: the mapper and reducer functions.

Writing and Running Scripts

Write a script.py Python module that contains the mapper and reducer functions:

def mapper(input_key, input_value, writer):
    # your computation here
    writer.emit(intermediate_key, intermediate_value)

def reducer(intermediate_key, value_iterator, writer):
    # your computation here
    writer.emit(output_key, output_value)

The program can be run as follows:

pydoop script script.py hdfs_input hdfs_output


The following examples show how to use Pydoop Script for common problems. More examples can be found in the examples/pydoop_script subdirectory of Pydoop’s source distribution root. The Pydoop Script Guide contains more detailed information on writing and running programs.

Word Count

Count the occurrence of each word in a set of text files.

def mapper(_, text, writer):
    for word in text.split():
        writer.emit(word, 1)

def reducer(word, icounts, writer):
    writer.emit(word, sum(icounts))

A few more lines allow to set a combiner for local aggregation:

def combiner(word, icounts, writer):
    writer.count('combiner calls', 1)
    reducer(word, icounts, writer)

Run the example with:

pydoop script -c combiner wordcount.py hdfs_input hdfs_output

Note that we need to explicitly set the -c flag to activate the combiner. By default, no combiner is called.

One thing to remember is that the current Hadoop Pipes architecture runs the combiner under the hood of the executable run by pipes, so it does not update the combiner counters of the general Hadoop framework. Thus, if you run the above script, you’ll get a value of 0 for “Combine input/output records” in the “Map-Reduce Framework” group, but the “combiner calls” counter should be updated correctly.

Map-only Jobs and Output Separators

Suppose we want to convert all input text to lower case. All we need to do is read each input line, convert it to lower case and emit it (for instance, as the output value). Since there is no aggregation involved, we don’t need a reducer:

def mapper(_, record, writer):
    writer.emit("", record.lower())

The only problem with the above code is that, by default, each output key-value pair is written as tab-separated, which would lead to each output line having a leading tab character that’s not found in the original input (note that we’d get a trailing tab if we emitted each record as the output key instead). We can turn off the reduce phase and get an empty separator for output key-value pairs by submitting the job with the following options:

pydoop script --num-reducers 0 -t '' lowercase.py hdfs_input hdfs_output

Custom Parameters

Suppose we want to select all lines containing a substring to be given at run time (distributed grep). As in the previous example, we can do this with a map-only job (read each input line and emit it if it contains the substring), but we need a way for the user of our application to specify the substring to be matched. This can be done by adding a fourth argument to the mapper function:

def mapper(_, text, writer, conf):
    if text.find(conf['grep-expression']) >= 0:
        writer.emit("", text)

In this case, Pydoop Script passes the Hadoop job configuration to the mapper function as a dictionary via the fourth argument. Moreover, just like Hadoop tools (e.g., hadoop pipes), Pydoop Script allows to set additional configuration parameters via -D key=value. To search for “hello”, for instance, we can run the application as:

pydoop script --num-reducers 0 -t '' -D grep-expression=hello \
  grep.py hdfs_input hdfs_output


Pydoop Script makes it easy to solve simple problems. It makes it feasible to write simple (even throw-away) scripts to perform simple manipulations or analyses on your data, especially if it’s text-based. If you can specify your algorithm in two simple functions that have no state or have a simple state that can be stored in module variables, then you can consider using Pydoop Script. If, on the other hand, you need more sophisticated processing, consider using the full Pydoop API.