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Creating your own Penny tool

Penny makes it easy to create custom monitoring and debugging tools for Pig. Here's how:

How Penny works

Before you can write a tool, you need a bit of background on how Penny instruments Pig scripts (called "dataflow programs" in the following diagram).

As shown in this diagram, Penny inserts one or more "monitor agents" between steps of the pig script, which observe data flowing between the pig script steps. Monitor agents run arbitrary Java code as needed for your tool, which has access to some primitives for tagging records and communicating with other agents and with a central "coordinator" process. The coordinator also runs arbitrary code defined by your tool.

The whole thing is kicked off by the tool's Main program (labeled "application" in the diagram), which receives instructions from the user (e.g. "please figure out why this pig script keeps crashing"), launches one or more runs of the pig script instrumented with Penny monitor agents, and reports the outcome back to the user (e.g. "the crash appears to be caused by one of these records: ...").


You need to write three Java classes: a Main class, a Coordinator class, and a MonitorAgent class (for certain, fancy tools, you may need multiple MonitorAgent classes). You can find many examples of Main/Coordinator/MonitorAgent classes that define Penny tools in the Penny source code (svn:// under org.apache.pig.penny.apps. All of the tools described in PennyToolLibrary are written using this API, so you've got plenty of examples to work with. We'll paste a few code fragments below to get you going – in fact the entire code for the "data samples" tool (all 97 lines of Java) is pasted in this twiki.

Main class

Your Main class is the "shell" of your application. It receives instructions from the user, and configures and launches one or more Penny-instrumented runs of the user's pig script.

You talk to Penny via the PennyServer class. You can do two things: (1) parse a user's pig script, (2) launch an Penny-instrumented run of the pig script. Here is the Main class for the data samples tool, described at PennyToolLibrary:

The "monitorClasses" map dictates which monitor agent (if any) to place after each dataflow step (steps are identified by pig script aliases). You can also pass arguments to each monitor agent, and/or to the coordinator, as shown in this example (for the data histograms tool):

MonitorAgent class

Monitor agents implement the following API:

Here's an example from the "data samples" tool:

Monitor agents have access to a "communicator" object, which is the gateway for sending messages to other agents or to the coordinator. The communicator API is:

That's pretty much it for monitor agents. Pretty simple, eh?

Coordinator class

Your tool's coordinator implements the following API:

The coordinator for the "data samples" tool is:

Again, simple!

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