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extra than simply “Turbo CSV”

extra than simply “Turbo CSV”

2023-04-03 00:34:38

Parquet is an environment friendly, binary
file format for desk knowledge. In comparison with csv, it’s:

  1. Faster to learn
  2. Faster to write down
  3. Smaller

On an actual world 10 million row monetary knowledge desk I simply examined with pandas I
discovered that Parquet is about 7.5 occasions faster to learn than csv, ~10 occasions
faster to write down
and a about a fifth of the scale on disk. So method to
consider Parquet is as “turbo csv” – like csv, simply sooner (and smaller).

That is not all there may be to Parquet although. Though Parquet was initially
designed for Large Knowledge, it additionally has advantages for small knowledge.

Cutting down

One of many foremost benefits of Parquet is the format has an express schema that
is embedded inside the file – and that schema contains kind info.

So not like with csv, readers needn’t infer the varieties of the columns by
scanning the information itself. Inferring varieties by way of scanning is fragile and a typical
supply of information bugs. It isn’t unusual for the values for a column to start
wanting like ints just for later within the file to vary into freeform textual content
strings. When exchanging knowledge, it is higher to be express.

The illustration of varieties can also be standardised – there is just one method to
characterize a boolean – not like the YES, y, TRUE, 1, [x] and so forth of
csv recordsdata – which all must be recognised and dealt with on a per feed foundation.
Date/time string parsing can also be eradicated: Parquet has each a date kind and
the datetime kind (each sensibly recorded as integers in UTC).

Parquet additionally does away with character encoding confusion – an enormous sensible
drawback with textual file codecs like csv. Early on, God cursed
with a number of
languages. The early programmers cursed computer systems too: there are quite a few methods
to characterize characters as bytes. Totally different instruments use totally different
encodings – UTF-8,
UTF-16, UTF-16 with the bytes the mistaken
means spherical, Win-1252,
ASCII (however one thing else on days when
the feed wants to incorporate a non-ASCII character) – the listing goes on.

Extra subtle packages apply statistics to the byte patterns in the early
parts of the file
to attempt to guess what the
character encoding may be – however once more, it is fragile. And for those who guess mistaken –
the result’s garbled nonsense.

And eventually, Parquet offers a single method to characterize lacking knowledge – the
null kind. It is easy to inform “null” other than "", for
instance. And the truth that there may be an official method to characterize null (principally)
eliminates the necessity to infer that sure particular strings (eg N/A) truly
imply null.

Column — and row — oriented

How does Parquet work then? Parquet is partly row oriented and partly column
oriented. The information going right into a Parquet file is damaged up into “row chunks” –
largeish units of rows. Inside a row chunk every column is saved individually in
a “column chunk” – this finest facilitates all of the methods to make the information
smaller. Compression works higher when related knowledge is adjoining. Run-length
encoding is feasible. So is delta encoding.

This is a diagram:

diagram of a parquet file on disk

On the finish of the file is the index, which accommodates references to all the opposite
row chunks, column chunks, and so on.

That is truly one of many few downsides of Parquet – as a result of the index is at
the tip of the file you’ll be able to’t stream it. Lots of packages that course of csv
recordsdata stream via them to permit them to deal with csv recordsdata which can be bigger
than reminiscence. Not doable with Parquet.

As an alternative, with Parquet, you are likely to break up your knowledge throughout a number of recordsdata
(there may be express help for this within the format) after which use the indexes to
skip round to search out the information you need. However once more – that requires random
entry – no streaming.

Making an attempt it out

You’ll be able to add .parquet to any csvbase desk url to get a Parquet file, so
that is a straightforward method to strive the format out:

import pandas as pd
df = pd.read_parquet("")

screenshot of a csvbase table in pandas

See Also

If you wish to see the gory particulars of the format, strive the parquet-tools
package deal on PyPI with a pattern file:

pip set up -U parquet-tools
curl -O ""
parquet-tools examine --detail stock-exchanges.parquet

That reveals lots of element and along with the
might help you perceive precisely
how the format is organized.

screenshot of parquet-tools output


Please do send me an email about this text,
particularly for those who disagreed with it.

I’m additionally on Mastodon:

When you favored this, you may like different issues I’ve written: on the csvbase
, or on my blog.

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