Skip to content

Connecting from kdb+ to a Java process

The examples thus far have emphasized interfacing between Java and kdb+ very much from the perspective of a Java client connecting to a kdb+ server, using the constructors relevant to this purpose. It is very much possible to reverse these roles using the c(Serversocket) constructor, which enables a Java process to listen for incoming kdb+ messages on the specified port.

While the use cases for this ‘server’ mode of operation are not as common as they might be for ‘client’-mode connections, it is nevertheless available to developers as a means of implementing communication between Java and kdb+ processes. The following examples demonstrate the basic mechanisms by which this can be done.

Handling a single connection

To set this up, a c object is instantiated using the ‘server’ mode constructor. This will listen to the incoming connection of a single kdb+ process:


//Wait for incoming connection
System.out.println("Waiting for incoming connection on port 5001..");
c incomingConnection = new c(new ServerSocket(5001));

In a manner similar to tickerplant subscription, the method k() (without parameters) can be used to wait on and listen to any connecting q session. In this example, the object is retrieved in this fashion and deciphered, either to return an error when passed the symbol `returnError or to return a message describing what was sent:


while(true) {
  //k() method will wait until the kdb+ process sends an object.
  Object incoming = incomingConnection.k();
  try {
    // check the incoming object and return something based on what it is
    if (incoming instanceof String && ((String)incoming).equals("returnError")) {"ReturningError!");
    } else if(incoming.getClass().isArray()) {
      // if list, use Arrays toString method"The incoming list values are: " + Arrays.toString((Object[])incoming));
    } else {"The incoming message was: " + incoming.toString()).toCharArray());
  } catch(IOException | KException e) {
    //return error responses too;

Handling multiple connections

In the above example, the server c object is instantiated with a new ServerSocket being created in its constructor. This is acceptable in this instance because we cared only about the handling of one connection.

In general, ServerSocket objects should not be used in this manner, as they are designed to handle more than a single incoming connection. Instead, the ServerSocket should be passed as a reference. With the addition of some simple threading, an application capable of handling messages from multiple q sessions can be created:


//Create server socket reference beforehand..
ServerSocket serverSocket = new ServerSocket(5001);

//Set up connection loop
while(true) {   
  //Create c object with reference to server socket
  final c incomingConnection = new c(serverSocket);

  //Create thread for handling this connection
  new Thread(new Runnable() {   
    public void run() {
      while(true) {
        //Logic in this loop is similar to single connection 
  //Run thread and restart loop.

This will allow any number of connections to be established, with factors such as connection limitation and load balancing left up to how the process is implemented. As in any case where threading is used, take care that such a method does not enable race conditions or concurrency issues; if necessary, steps can be taken to reduce the risk of such operations, such as synchronized blocks and methods.