Skip to content

Extracting data from returned objects

Note on internal variables and casting

The relationship between the kdb+ types and their Java counterparts has been discussed in the previous section. From a practical perspective, it is important to note that almost all objects and fields that might return from a given synchronous query will be of type Object, and will therefore more often than not require casting in order to be manipulated properly. Care must be taken, therefore, to ensure that the types that can be returned from a given query are known and handled appropriately so as to avoid unwanted exceptions.

The exception to this might be the column names of a flip object (once cast itself) held in the field flip.x. This field is already typed as String[], as column names must always be symbols in q.

Kdb+ types that map to primitives (such as int) can be passed in Java to a k method as a primitive thanks to autoboxing, but will always be returned as the corresponding wrapper object (such as Integer).

Extracting atoms from a list

Lists will always be returned as an array of the given list type, or as Object[] if the list is generic. Extraction of atomic values from a list, therefore, is as simple as casting the return object to the appropriate array type and accessing the desired index:


//Get a list from the q session
Object result = qConnection.k("(1 2 3 4)");

//Cast the returned Object into long[], and retrieve the desired result.
long[] castList = ((long[]) result);
long extractedAtom = castList[0];

If the type of list is unknown, the method c.t(Object) can be used to derive the q type of the object, and theoretically could be useful in further casting efforts.

Extracting lists from a nested list

Accessing a list from a nested list is similar to accessing a value from any list. Here there are two casts required: a cast to Object[] for the parent list and then again to the appropriate typed array for the extracted list:


// Start by casting the returned Object into Object[]
Object[] resultArray = (Object[]) qConnection.k("((1 2 3 4); (1 2))");

//Iterate through the Object array
for (Object resultElement : resultArray) {

  //Retrieve each list and cast to appropriate type
  long[] elementArray = (long[]) resultElement;

  //Iterate through these arrays to access values.
  for(long elementAtom : elementArray) {

Working with dictionaries

The Dict inner class is used for all returned objects of q type dictionary (and therefore, by extension, keyed tables). Key values are stored in the field Dict.x, and values in Dict.y, both of which will generally be castable as an array.

Aside from matching the index positions of x and y, there is no intrinsic key-value pairing between the two, meaning that alteration of either of the array structures can compromise the key-value relationship. The following example illustrates operations that might be performed on a returned dictionary object:


//Retrieve Dictionary
c.Dict dict = (c.Dict) qConnection.k("`a`b`c!((1 2 3);\"Second\"; (`x`y`z))");
//Retrieve keys from dictionary
String[] keys = (String[]) dict.x;
//Retrieve values
Object[] values = (Object[]) dict.y;
//These can then be worked with similarly to nested lists
long[] valuesLong = (long[]) values[0];

Working with tables

The inner class c.Flip used to represent tables operates in a similar manner to c.Dict. The primary difference, as previously mentioned, is that Flip.x is already typed as String[], while Flip.y will still require casting. The following example shows how the data from a returned Flip object might be used to print the table to console:


// (try to load trade.q first for this (create a table manually if not possible)
qConnection.ks("system \"l trade.q\"");
//Retrieve table
c.Flip flip = (c.Flip) qConnection.k("select from trade where sym = `a");

//Retrieve columns and data
String[] columnNames = flip.x;
Object[] columnData = flip.y;
//Extract row data into typed arrays
java.sql.Timestamp[] time = (java.sql.Timestamp[]) columnData[0];
String[] sym = (String[]) columnData[1];
double[] price = (double[]) columnData[2];
int[] size = (int[]) columnData[3];
int rows = time.length;

//Print the table now - columns first:
for (String columnName : columnNames)
  System.out.print(columnName + "\t\t\t");
//Then rows:
for (int i = 0; i < rows; i++)