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Interfacing with Kdb+ from Java


The Java interface to Kdb+ is implemented in the c class available from here.

The c class implements the kdb+ protocol. That is:

Java Clients

Clients constructors:

Signature Notes
public c(String host, int port, String usernameAndPassword) throws KException, IOException Throws a KException if access is denied by the Kdb+ server. The username and password should be of the format "username:password"
public c(String host, int port) throws KException, IOException Uses the property as the login name and password. It throws a KException if access is denied by the Kdb+ server

It is important to explicitly close the c object, via the close method, when we are finished with the connection to a Kdb+ server.

The class provides a number of other features explored in the following sections.

Utility class for Kdb+ types

Within the c class there are a number of utility classes provided which match the available types in Kdb+ which do not map directly to standard classes such as Integer. In general these classes have all their fields declare with public access, and several provide custom toString() methods to decode the data payload.

Class Members Methods Notes
Dict Object x; Object y - -
Flip String[] x, Object[]y - -
Month int i String toString() Provides toString() to decode the i field
Minute int i String toString() Provides toString() to decode the i field
Second int i String toString() Provides toString() to decode the i field

Creating null values

For each type character, we can get a reference to a null Kdb+ value by indexing into the NULL Object array using the NULL utility method. Note that the K null values are not the same as Java's null.

An example of creating an object array containing two null Kdb+ integers:

Object[] twoNullIntegers = {NULL('i'), NULL('i')};

The Kdb+ null values are mapped to Java values according to the following table:

Kdb+ type Kdb+ null accessor Java null
Boolean NULL('b') Boolean(false)
Byte NULL('x') Byte(byte() 0)
Short NULL('h') Short(Short.MIN_VALUE)
Integer NULL('i') Integer(Integer.MIN_VALUE)
Long NULL('j') Long(Long.MIN_VALUE)
Float NULL('e') Float(Double.NaN)
Double NULL('f') Double(Double.Nan)
Character NULL('c') Character(' ')
Symbol NULL('s') ""
Timestamp NULL('p') Timestamp(Long.MIN_VALUE)
Month NULL('m') Month(Integer.MIN_VALUE)
Date NULL('d') Date(Long.MIN_VALUE)
DataTime/java.util.Date NULL('z') Timestamp(Long.MIN_VALUE)
Timespan NULL('n') Timespan(Long.MIN_VALUE)
Minute NULL('u') Minute(Integer.MIN_VALUE)
Second NULL('v') Second(Integer.MIN_VALUE)
Time NULL('t') Time(Integer.MIN_VALUE)

We can check whether a given Object x is a Kdb+ null using the c utility method:

public static boolean qn(Object x);

Kdb+ types of Java objects

For reference, internally, types are mapped as follows for scalars:

Java Object Type Kdb+ type number
Boolean -1
Byte -4
Short -5
Integer -6
Long -7
Float -8
Double -9
Character -10
String -11
Month -13
java.util.Date -15
Time -19
Date -14
Minute -17
Second -18

and the following for complex data:

Java Object Type Kdb+ type number
boolean[] 1
byte[] 4
short[] 5
int[] 6
long[] 7
float[] 8
double[] 9
char[] 10
String[] 11
Month[] 13
java.util.Date[] 15
Time[] 19
Date[] 14
Minute[] 17
Second[] 18
Flip 98
Dict 99

The default return value for all other objects is 0.

Interacting with Kdb+ via an open c instance

Interacting with the Kdb+ server is very simple. You must make a basic choice between sending a message to the server where you expect no answer, or will check later for an answer.

In the first case, where we will not wait for a response, use the ks method on a c instance:

public void ks(String s) throws IOException
public void ks(String s, Object x) throws IOException
public void ks(String s, Object x, Object y) throws IOException
public void ks(String s, Object x, Object y, Object z) throws IOException

Alternatively, should we expect an immediate response use the k method:

public Object k(Object x) throws KException, IOException
public Object k(String s) throws KException, IOException
public Object k(String s, Object x) throws KException, IOException
public Object k(String s, Object x, Object y) throws KException, IOException
public Object k(String s, Object x, Object y, Object z) throws KException, IOException

As a special case of the k method, we may receive a message from the server without sending any message as an argument:

public Object k() throws KException, IOException

Accessing elements of arrays

We can access elements using the "at" method of the utility class "c":

Object x, int i) Returns the object at x[i] or null

and set them with "set":

void c.set(Object x, int i, Object y) Set x[i] to y, or the appropriate Kdb+ null value if y is null

Java servers

public interface IAuthenticate{public boolean authenticate(String s);}
public c(ServerSocket s,IAuthenticate a)throws IOException{io(s.accept());...} 
public c(ServerSocket s)throws IOException{this(s,null);}

kr(response) and ke(error)

 public void kr(Object x){...w(2,x);}
 public void ke(String s){...}

A proxy:

 c s=new c(new ServerSocket(5010));
 c c=new c("localhost",5000));
   {"qqq")); //response
   catch(Exception e)
   {;    //error

What is the default time zone that the Java interface to Kdb+ uses?

It uses whatever the environment is set to. To override it to be e.g. GMT, use"GMT");

What is the default date format?


How do I change the socket a c instance is using?

Given some c instance, we can change the socket being used to talk to a Kdb+ server using the void io(Socket x) throws IOException method.


The c class throws IOExceptions for typical socket read/write reasons and throws KException objects in higher level cases. That is, errors at the Kdb+ level rather than the Socket level.

Is there a JDBC interface?

Yes. See here for the implementation. Compile it as follows:

jar cf jdbc.jar *.class

and use as normal.

Note that this is a pure Java native-protocol driver (type 4) JDBC driver. The implementation builds on the lower level KDBC API which is somewhat simpler and a good choice for application development when support for legacy code is not a consideration.

The JDBC driver implements only the minimal core of the JDBC feature set. Operations must be prefixed by "q)" in order to be executed as kdb+ statements. There is no significant difference in performance between using the !PreparedStatement, !CallableStatement or Statement interfaces.

Kdb+ does not have the concept of transactions as expected by the JDBC API. That is, you cannot open a connection, explicitly begin a transaction, issue a series of separate queries within that transaction and finally rollback or commit the transaction. It will always behave as if autoCommit is set to true and the transaction isolation is set to SERIALIZABLE. In practice, this means that any single query (or sequence of queries if executed in a single jdbc call) will be executed in isolation without noticing the effects of other queries and modifications made to the database will always be permanent.

If little work is being performed per interaction via the JDBC driver, that is, few queries and each query is very quick to execute, then there is a significant advantage to using connection pooling. Using the Apache Commons DBCP component improves the performance of this case by about 70%. DBCP avoids some complexity which can be introduced by other connection pool managers. For example, it handles connections in the pool that have become invalid (say due to a database restart) by automatically reconnecting. Furthermore it offers configuration options to check the status of connections in the connection pool using a variety of strategies.

Although it is not necessary to call the close method on !ResultSet, Statement, !PreparedStatement and !CallableStatement when using the Kdb+ JDBC driver, it is recommended with the DBCP component as it performs checks to ensure all resources are cleaned up and has the ability to report resource leaks. Explicitly closing the resources avoids a small runtime cost.

package kx;
import java.sql.*;

//in kdb+3.x and above
//init table with
//Employees:([]id:0 1 2;firstName:`Charlie`Arthur`Simon;lastName:`Skelton`Whitney`Garland;age:10 20 30;timestamp:.z.p+til 3)

public class JDBCTest{
  static final String JDBC_DRIVER="jdbc";
  static final String DB_URL="jdbc:q:localhost:5000";
  static final String USER="username";
  static final String PASS="password";

  public static void main(String[] args){
    Connection conn=null;
    Statement stmt=null;

      System.out.println("Connecting to database...");

      System.out.println("Creating statement...");
      ResultSet rs=stmt.executeQuery("SELECT id, firstName, lastName, age,timestamp FROM Employees");

        long id=rs.getLong("id");
        long age=rs.getLong("age");
        String first=rs.getString("firstName");
        String last=rs.getString("lastName");
        Timestamp timestamp=rs.getTimestamp("timestamp");

        System.out.print("ID: "+id);
        System.out.print(", Age: "+age);
        System.out.print(", FirstName: "+first);
        System.out.println(", LastName: "+last);
        System.out.println(", Timestamp: "+timestamp);
    }catch(SQLException se){
    }catch(Exception e){
      }catch(SQLException se2){
      }catch(SQLException se){

when run should print similar to

Connecting to database...
Creating statement...
ID: 0, Age: 10, FirstName: Charlie, LastName: Skelton, Timestamp: 2014-09-02 08:28:11.688024
ID: 1, Age: 20, FirstName: Arthur, LastName: Whitney, Timestamp: 2014-09-02 08:28:11.688024001
ID: 2, Age: 30, FirstName: Simon, LastName: Garland, Timestamp: 2014-09-02 08:28:11.688024002

// An ObjectPool serves as the pool of connections.
ObjectPool connectionPool = new GenericObjectPool(null);

// A ConnectionFactory is used by the to create Connections.
// This example uses the DriverManagerConnectionFactory, with a
// a connection string for a local Kdb+ database listening on port 5001.
ConnectionFactory connectionFactory =
            new DriverManagerConnectionFactory("jdbc:q:localhost:5001",null);

// A PoolableConnectionFactory is used to wrap the Connections
// created by the ConnectionFactory with the classes that implement
// the pooling functionality.
PoolableConnectionFactory poolableConnectionFactory = new

// Finally, we create the PoolingDriver itself:
PoolingDriver driver = (PoolingDriver)

// ...and register our pool with it.

// Now we can just use the connect string "jdbc:apache:commons:dbcp:q"
// to access our pool of Connections.

Example Grid Viewer using Swing

package app;

import java.awt.BorderLayout;
import java.awt.Color;
import java.lang.reflect.Array;
import java.util.logging.Level;
import java.util.logging.Logger;
import javax.swing.JFrame;
import javax.swing.JScrollPane;
import javax.swing.JTable;
import javax.swing.table.AbstractTableModel;
import kx.c;

public class Main {
    public static class KxTableModel extends AbstractTableModel {
        private c.Flip flip;
        public void setFlip(c.Flip data) {
            this.flip = data;

        public int getRowCount() {
            return Array.getLength(flip.y[0]);

        public int getColumnCount() {
            return flip.y.length;

        public Object getValueAt(int rowIndex, int columnIndex) {
            return[columnIndex], rowIndex);

        public String getColumnName(int columnIndex) {
            return flip.x[columnIndex];

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        KxTableModel model = new KxTableModel();
        c c = null;
        try {
            c = new c("localhost", 5001,"username:password");
            String query="([]date:.z.D;time:.z.T;sym:10?`8;price:`float$10?500.0;size:10?100)";
//          String query="0!select last price by sym from trade where date=last date";
            model.setFlip((c.Flip) c.k(query));
        } catch (Exception ex) {
            Logger.getLogger(Main.class.getName()).log(Level.SEVERE, null, ex);
        } finally {
            if (c != null) {try{c.close();} catch (IOException ex) {}
        JTable table = new JTable(model);
        String title = "kdb+ Example - "+model.getRowCount()+" Rows";
        JFrame frame = new JFrame(title);
        frame.getContentPane().add(new JScrollPane(table), BorderLayout.CENTER);
        frame.setSize(300, 300);
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