Table sizes

Envision supports very large tables, up to several billion lines, but this comes at a performance cost, and a script left unsupervised where the input dataset steadily grows out of control can end up consuming significant amounts of resources. At the same time, there are several operations which do not support arbitrarily large tables. In order to avoid runtime failures, where the system discovers that a table is too large for a given operation, Envision lets the script author specify the constraint that “this table will be small enough”.

Table of contents

Maximum table size

In table definitions, Envision provides the max <number> syntax after the table name in order to limit the number of lines in that table. This is supported in three contexts:

// In a 'read' statement
read "/Items.csv" as Items[id] max 5500 expect [supplier] with
  Id : text
  Label : text

// In any 'table' statement
table Categories[cat] max 100 = by Items.Category

// As a standalone statement
expect table Week max 104

This limit is applied at runtime: as soon as the number of lines in the table has been determined, an error interrupts the script if that number exceeds the limit. As such, the main purpose of the max statement is to serve as a safeguard against tables growing beyond the limits that were deemed reasonable when the script was originally written.

In particular, it is recommended to add expect table constraints to the Day, Week or Month tables, which have a tendency to grow over time as the order history deepens.

Abreviated number suffixes

For very high limits, Envision provides helpful numeric suffixes:

Sizes inside where and when filters

The expect table statement can be used to enforce a size limit within a filter. For example:

table PriceBreaks = with
  [| 1 as Qty, 10 as Price |]
  [| 10      ,  9          |]
  [| 100     ,  7.5        |]

where arglast(PriceBreaks.Qty <= quantity) sort PriceBreaks.Qty
  
  // The filter has left at most one line in table PriceBreaks
  expect PriceBreaks max 1

Small tables

If a table is flagged as small, it will support additional operations not available to normal tables. This includes:

To flag the table as small, use the small keyword in place of max when defining a maximum table size:

// In a 'read' statement
read "/Items.csv" as Items[id] small 5500 expect [supplier] with
  Id : text
  Label : text

// In any 'table' statement
table Categories[cat] small 100 = by Items.Category

// As a standalone statement
expect table Week small 104

The table will then count as small, and the Envision compiler will verify that you respect all the rules for small tables. These are:

  1. A small table may not have more than 100 million lines.
  2. A small table that contains at least one text vector may not have more than 2.75 million lines.
  3. A small table that contains at least one ranvar or zedfunc vector may not have more than 1 million lines.

If a table does not qualify as small due to a vector, the Envision compiler will report which vector.

For your convenience, any table with less than 1 million lines automatically counts as small, whether that limit was enforced by a max 1m statement, or because by design the table cannot have more than 1 million lines, such as Scalar, Day, Week, Month, Slices and Files