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Connecting to a kdb+ process

Starting a local q server

During development, it can be helpful to start a basic q server to which a Java process can connect. This requires the opening of a port, for which there are two basic methods:

Example: Starting q with –p parameter

$ q -p 10000
q)\p // command to show the port that q is listening on

Example: Using the \p system command

$ q
q)\p 10000 // set the listening port to 10000

To close the port, it should be set to its default value of 0 i.e. \p 0.

Setting up a q session in this manner will allow other processes to open handles to it on the specified port. The remainder of the examples in this paper assume an opened q session listening on port 10000, with no further configuration unless otherwise specified.

Opening a socket connection

As discussed in the previous section, the c class establishes connections via its constructors.

For connecting to a listening q process, one useful mechanism might be to create a factory class with a method that returns a connected c object based on what is passed to it. This way, any number of credential combinations can be set whilst allowing the creation of multiple connections, say for reconnection purposes:


public QConnectionFactory(String host, int port, 
    String username, String password, boolean useTLS) {;


public c getQConnection() throws KException, IOException {
  return new c(host,port,username+":"+password,useTLS);

These constructors will always return a c object connected to the target session, and failure to do so will result in a thrown exception; IOException will denote the port not being open or available, and a KException will denote something wrong with the q process itself (such as 'access for incorrect or incomplete credentials).

For the remaining examples, connections will be made using a custom QConnectionFactory object returned from a static method getDefault(), which will instantiate the object with the host localhost and the port 10000:


public static QConnectionFactory getDefault() {
  return new QConnectionFactory("localhost", 10000);

Connection objects created using this will be given the variable name qConnection unless otherwise stated.

Running queries using k methods

Queries can be made using the ‘k’ family of methods in the c class. For synchronous queries, that might be used to retrieve data (or, more generally, to halt execution of the java process until a response is received), the k methods with parameter combinations of strings and objects might be used. For asynchronous queries, as might be used in a feed-handler process to push data to a tickerplant, the ks methods would be used.

The methods k(), kr() and ke() would not see explicit use in the querying of a server q process, but are more significant when the Java process acts as the server, as will be touched upon below.

The following examples demonstrate some of the means by which these synchronous and asynchronous queries may be called:


//Object for storing the results of these queries
Object result = null;

//Basic synchronous q expression
result = qConnection.k("{x+y}\[4;3\]");

//parameterised synchronous query
result = qConnection.k("{x+y}",4,3); //Note autoboxing!

//asynchronous assignment of function

//synchronous calling of that function
result = qConnection.k("jFunc",10,4,3);

//asynchronous error - note no exception can be returned, so be careful!

//Always close resources\!