What is JSON Rest?

JSON Rest is at its core a Jetty Http Java Servlet that gives end users complete access to the HBase Client API through a combination of URLs, JSON, and Query Strings. It supports Filters, Scanners, and Transactions (Transactions are available with the correct patches), something which no other HBase client framework does at the moment. But most importantly to my altruistic side, it is a very modular framework so that it is easy for any end user to modify to his/her needs. This was a fun project for me. I hope it is useful to you.


This is a question that I get asked a lot. Why JSON? Why not Thrift? Why not Protocol Buffers? The answer I give is simple: The Internet. JSON is native to the web and native to the browser. By using JSON as your message format, you allow for easy interoperability with any/all platforms currently in the marketplace. Thus you maximize your potential user base through familiarity, ease of use, and parser availability for the end user.

What about the Old XML Rest Interface?

It will be deprecated once JSONRest is completely finished. Its current wikipage is here: HBase Rest. If you would like to contribute to the construction of JSONRest, please visit JIRA issue HBASE-814, located at the following url:

Important General Usage Notes *READ THIS*

Please read this before you go further to the usage section. I envision two sorts of users of JSONRest at the moment: the normal database user, and the timestamp database user.

For Normal Database Users

I imagine that many people just want to use HBase as a normal database that can scale to large loads. This does not necessarily require the usage of the timestamp side of HBase. In this user's mind when he/she overwrites data, it is destroyed. REMEMBER IT IS NOT DESTROYED. When you overwrite data in HBase through the usage of the non-timestamp part of the Client API, all that you are doing is writing another Cell at an earlier timestamp. This will cover up the older versions of the Cell. They are still there, just hidden from view if you do not explicitly get them via the Client API Timestamp Methods. And, they will still be there and be accessible via the timestamp methods until enough old timestamp Cells accumulate that HBase cleans them up. This is done via a configuration setting which allows you to set the number of different timestamp versions of a cell can exist before HBase deletes the latest value.

For Timestamp Database Users

All the methods without timestamps use HConstants.LatestTimestamp (sp?), so you can still use them if you want to create a new entry with the latest timestamp or delete the latest entry.




The currently supported Database GET use cases are:

UseCase: Get Database Metadata

This query returns the master's connection status and a list of all database tables and their columns. To call this query send a simple get request to:

GET '/'

aka, server root. The server will then respond with JSON of the form:

TOPLEVEL => {"master_running":BOOLEAN,"tables":[TABLE, TABLE, ...]}

BOOLEAN := true|false

TABLE := {"name":"STRING", "columns":[COLUMN, COLUMN, ...]}

             "compression":"STRING", *NOTE* this is an enum defined in class HColumnDescriptor.CompressionType


The currently supported Table GET use cases are:

UseCase: Get All Rows from Table with all Columns

This query is called by sending a query to URI:


Then JSONRest will return JSON of the following form:

UseCase: Get All Rows from Table with selected Columns

UseCase: Does Table Exist?






There are no currently supported Database POST use cases.



The Currently supported Row POST use cases are:

UseCase: Single Row Mutation

A mutation is a group of batch operations which transform a Row (including a 'null' row) from one state to another. To perform a Single Row Mutation one submits a request with the following form to JSONRest:


and attaches to the post an argument of the following form:

                 {"column_name":"STRING", "value":"STRING"},
                 {"column_name":"STRING", "value":"STRING"},
                 {"column_name":"STRING", "value":"STRING"}...

If your query is successful, JSONRest will respond with a create:true JSON string which looks like:


So, lets say you had a table named "people" with Column Families "Name", "Address", and "Phone" that contained your address book and you wanted to create a new Row for a new friend John. So you decide to input John's personal information into HBase. You would then send the following request to JSONRest:

POST '/people/johnny_appleseed'

with the following attached content:

   {"column_name":"name:first", "value":"Johnny"},
   {"column_name":"name:last", "value":"Appleseed"},
   {"column_name":"address:street", "value":"4500 Orange Drive"},
   {"column_name":"address:city", "value":"Pear City"},
   {"column_name":"address:state", "value":"Tangerine State"},
   {"column_name":"phone:home", "value":"1111111111"},
   {"column_name":"phone:work", "value":"6666666666"}

Later, lets say that John moves from 4500 Orange Drive to 4600 Clementine Blvd, in Banana State (Pear City happens to exist in both states). Then you would send the following request to JSONRest:

POST '/people/johnny_appleseed'

with the following attached content:

   {"column_name":"address:street", "value":"4600 Clementine Blvd"},
   {"column_name":"address:state", "value":"Banana State"}

Since what you are really doing is creating two new Cells at the latest timestamp in the columns "address:street" and "address:state", JSONRest will return with the same message from above:








Hbase/JSONRest (last edited 2009-09-20 23:54:12 by localhost)