Executing queries from arangosh

In the ArangoDB shell, you can use the db._query() and db._createStatement() methods to execute AQL queries. This chapter also describes how to use bind parameters, counting, statistics and cursors.

With db._query()

db._query(<queryString>) → cursor

You can execute queries with the _query() method of the db object. This runs the specified query in the context of the currently selected database and returns the query results in a cursor. You can print the results of the cursor using its toArray() method:

arangosh> db._create("mycollection")
arangosh> db.mycollection.save({ _key: "testKey", Hello : "World" })
arangosh> db._query('FOR my IN mycollection RETURN my._key').toArray()
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[ArangoCollection 211, "mycollection" (type document, status loaded)]
{ 
  "_id" : "mycollection/testKey", 
  "_key" : "testKey", 
  "_rev" : "_fdPDVVO--_" 
}
[ 
  "testKey" 
]

db._query() bind parameters

db._query(<queryString>, <bindVars>) → cursor

To pass bind parameters into a query, you can specify a second argument when calling the _query() method:

arangosh> db._query('FOR c IN @@collection FILTER c._key == @key RETURN c._key', {
........>   '@collection': 'mycollection', 
........>   'key': 'testKey'
........> }).toArray();
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[ 
  "testKey" 
]

ES6 template strings

aql`<queryTemplateString>`

It is also possible to use ES6 template strings for generating AQL queries. There is a template string generator function named aql.

The following example demonstrates what the template string function generates:

arangosh> var key = 'testKey';
arangosh> aql`FOR c IN mycollection FILTER c._key == ${key} RETURN c._key`
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{ 
  "query" : "FOR c IN mycollection FILTER c._key == @value0 RETURN c._key", 
  "bindVars" : { 
    "value0" : "testKey" 
  }, 
  "_source" : () { ... } 
}

The next example directly uses the generated result to execute a query:

arangosh> var key = 'testKey';
arangosh> db._query(
........>   aql`FOR c IN mycollection FILTER c._key == ${key} RETURN c._key`
........> ).toArray();
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[ 
  "testKey" 
]

Arbitrary JavaScript expressions can be used in queries that are generated with the aql template string generator. Collection objects are handled automatically:

arangosh> var key = 'testKey';
arangosh> db._query(aql`FOR doc IN ${ db.mycollection } RETURN doc`).toArray();
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[ 
  { 
    "_key" : "testKey", 
    "_id" : "mycollection/testKey", 
    "_rev" : "_fdPDVVO--_", 
    "Hello" : "World" 
  } 
]

Note: data-modification AQL queries normally do not return a result unless the AQL query contains a RETURN operation at the top-level. Without a RETURN operation, the toArray() method returns an empty array.

Statistics and extra Information

cursor.getExtra() → queryInfo

It is always possible to retrieve statistics for a query with the getExtra() method:

arangosh> db._query(`FOR i IN 1..100
........>   INSERT { _key: CONCAT('test', TO_STRING(i)) } INTO mycollection`
........> ).getExtra();
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{ 
  "warnings" : [ ], 
  "stats" : { 
    "writesExecuted" : 100, 
    "writesIgnored" : 0, 
    "scannedFull" : 0, 
    "scannedIndex" : 0, 
    "cursorsCreated" : 0, 
    "cursorsRearmed" : 0, 
    "cacheHits" : 0, 
    "cacheMisses" : 0, 
    "filtered" : 0, 
    "httpRequests" : 0, 
    "executionTime" : 0.000759239999752026, 
    "peakMemoryUsage" : 32768 
  } 
}

The meaning of the statistics values is described in Query statistics.

Query warnings are also reported here. If you design queries on the shell, be sure to check for warnings.

Main query options

db._query(<queryString>, <bindVars>, <mainOptions>, <subOptions>) → cursor

You can pass the main options as the third argument to db._query() if you also pass a fourth argument with the sub options (can be an empty object {}).

count

Whether the number of documents in the result set should be calculated on the server side and returned in the count attribute of the result. Calculating the count attribute might have a performance impact for some queries so this option is turned off by default, and only returned when requested.

If enabled, you can get the count by calling the count() method of the cursor. You can also count the number of results on the client side, for example, using cursor.toArray().length.

arangosh> var cursor = db._query(
........>   'FOR i IN 1..42 RETURN i',
........>   {},
........>   { count: true },
........>   {}
........> );
arangosh> cursor.count();
arangosh> cursor.toArray().length;
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42
42

batchSize

The maximum number of result documents to be transferred from the server to the client in one roundtrip. If this attribute is not set, a server-controlled default value is used. A batchSize value of 0 is disallowed.

arangosh> db._query(
........>   'FOR i IN 1..3 RETURN i',
........>   {},
........>   { batchSize: 2 },
........>   {}
........> ).toArray(); // full result retrieved in two batches
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[ 
  1, 
  2, 
  3 
]

ttl

The time-to-live for the cursor (in seconds). If the result set is small enough (less than or equal to batchSize), then results are returned right away. Otherwise, they are stored in memory and are accessible via the cursor with respect to the ttl. The cursor is removed on the server automatically after the specified amount of time. This is useful to ensure garbage collection of cursors that are not fully fetched by clients. If not set, a server-defined value is used (default: 30 seconds).

arangosh> db._query(
........>   'FOR i IN 1..2000 RETURN i',
........>   {},
........>   { ttl: 5 },
........>   {}
........> ).toArray(); // Each batch needs to be fetched within 5 seconds
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]

cache

Whether the AQL query results cache shall be used. If set to false, then any query cache lookup is skipped for the query. If set to true, it leads to the query cache being checked for the query if the query cache mode is either set to on or demand.

arangosh> db._query(
........>   'FOR i IN 1..2000 RETURN i',
........>   {},
........>   { cache: true },
........>   {}
........> ).toArray(); // result may get taken from cache
Show execution results
Hide execution results
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]

memoryLimit

To set a memory limit for the query, pass options to the _query() method. The memory limit specifies the maximum number of bytes that the query is allowed to use. When a single AQL query reaches the specified limit value, the query will be aborted with a resource limit exceeded exception. In a cluster, the memory accounting is done per shard, so the limit value is effectively a memory limit per query per shard.

arangosh> db._query(
........>   'FOR i IN 1..100000 SORT i RETURN i',
........>   {},
........>   { memoryLimit: 100000 }
........> ).toArray();
Show execution results
Hide execution results
[ArangoError 32: AQL: query would use more memory than allowed (while executing)]

If no memory limit is specified, then the server default value (controlled by the --query.memory-limit startup option) is used for restricting the maximum amount of memory the query can use. A memory limit value of 0 means that the maximum amount of memory for the query is not restricted.

Query sub options

db._query(<queryString>, <bindVars>, <subOptions>) → cursor

db._query(<queryString>, <bindVars>, <mainOptions>, <subOptions>) → cursor

You can pass the sub options as the third argument to db._query() if you don’t provide main options, or as fourth argument if you do.

fullCount

If you set fullCount to true and if the query contains a LIMIT operation, then the result has an extra attribute with the sub-attributes stats and fullCount, like { ... , "extra": { "stats": { "fullCount": 123 } } }. The fullCount attribute contains the number of documents in the result before the last top-level LIMIT in the query was applied. It can be used to count the number of documents that match certain filter criteria, but only return a subset of them, in one go. It is thus similar to MySQL’s SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS hint. Note that setting the option disables a few LIMIT optimizations and may lead to more documents being processed, and thus make queries run longer. Note that the fullCount attribute may only be present in the result if the query has a top-level LIMIT operation and the LIMIT operation is actually used in the query.

failOnWarning

If you set failOnWarning to true, this makes the query throw an exception and abort in case a warning occurs. You should use this option in development to catch errors early. If set to false, warnings don’t propagate to exceptions and are returned with the query results. There is also a --query.fail-on-warning startup options for setting the default value for failOnWarning, so that you don’t need to set it on a per-query level.

cache

If you set cache to true, this puts the query result into the query result cache if the query result is eligible for caching and the query cache is running in demand mode. If set to false, the query result is not inserted into the query result cache. Note that query results are never inserted into the query result cache if the query result cache is disabled, and that they are automatically inserted into the query result cache if it is active in non-demand mode.

fillBlockCache

If you set fillBlockCache to true or not specify it, this makes the query store the data it reads via the RocksDB storage engine in the RocksDB block cache. This is usually the desired behavior. You can set the option to false for queries that are known to either read a lot of data that would thrash the block cache, or for queries that read data known to be outside of the hot set. By setting the option to false, data read by the query does not make it into the RocksDB block cache if it is not already in there, thus leaving more room for the actual hot set.

profile

If you set profile to true or 1, extra timing information is returned for the query. The timing information is accessible via the getExtra() method of the query result. If set to 2, the query includes execution statistics per query plan execution node in stats.nodes sub-attribute of the extra return attribute. Additionally, the query plan is returned in the extra.plan sub-attribute.

maxWarningCount

The maxWarningCount option limits the number of warnings that are returned by the query if failOnWarning is not set to true. The default value is 10.

maxNumberOfPlans

The maxNumberOfPlans option limits the number of query execution plans the optimizer creates at most. Reducing the number of query execution plans may speed up query plan creation and optimization for complex queries, but normally there is no need to adjust this value.

optimizer

Options related to the query optimizer.

  • rules: A list of to-be-included or to-be-excluded optimizer rules can be put into this attribute, telling the optimizer to include or exclude specific rules. To disable a rule, prefix its name with a -, to enable a rule, prefix it with a +. There is also a pseudo-rule all, which matches all optimizer rules. -all disables all rules.

stream

Set stream to true to execute the query in a streaming fashion. The query result is not stored on the server, but calculated on the fly.

Long-running queries need to hold the collection locks for as long as the query cursor exists. It is advisable to only use this option on short-running queries or without exclusive locks.

If set to false, the query is executed right away in its entirety. In that case, the query results are either returned right away (if the result set is small enough), or stored on the arangod instance and can be accessed via the cursor API.

The query options cache, count and fullCount don’t work on streaming queries. Additionally, query statistics, warnings, and profiling data is only available after the query has finished. The default value is false.

maxRuntime

The query has to be executed within the given runtime or it is killed. The value is specified in seconds. The default value is 0.0 (no timeout).

maxNodesPerCallstack

The number of execution nodes in the query plan after that stack splitting is performed to avoid a potential stack overflow. Defaults to the configured value of the startup option --query.max-nodes-per-callstack.

This option is only useful for testing and debugging and normally does not need any adjustment.

maxTransactionSize

The transaction size limit in bytes.

intermediateCommitSize

The maximum total size of operations after which an intermediate commit is performed automatically.

intermediateCommitCount

The maximum number of operations after which an intermediate commit is performed automatically.

spillOverThresholdMemoryUsage

Introduced in: v3.10.0

This option allows queries to store intermediate and final results temporarily on disk if the amount of memory used (in bytes) exceeds the specified value. This is used for decreasing the memory usage during the query execution.

This option only has an effect on queries that use the SORT operation but without a LIMIT, and if you enable the spillover feature by setting a path for the directory to store the temporary data in with the --temp.intermediate-results-path startup option.

Default value: 128MB.

Spilling data from RAM onto disk is an experimental feature and is turned off by default. The query results are still built up entirely in RAM on Coordinators and single servers for non-streaming queries. To avoid the buildup of the entire query result in RAM, use a streaming query (see the stream option).

spillOverThresholdNumRows

Introduced in: v3.10.0

This option allows queries to store intermediate and final results temporarily on disk if the number of rows produced by the query exceeds the specified value. This is used for decreasing the memory usage during the query execution. In a query that iterates over a collection that contains documents, each row is a document, and in a query that iterates over temporary values (i.e. FOR i IN 1..100), each row is one of such temporary values.

This option only has an effect on queries that use the SORT operation but without a LIMIT, and if you enable the spillover feature by setting a path for the directory to store the temporary data in with the --temp.intermediate-results-path startup option.

Default value: 5000000 rows.

Spilling data from RAM onto disk is an experimental feature and is turned off by default. The query results are still built up entirely in RAM on Coordinators and single servers for non-streaming queries. To avoid the buildup of the entire query result in RAM, use a streaming query (see the stream option).

allowDirtyReads

Introduced in: v3.10.0

If you set this option to true and execute the query against a cluster deployment, then the Coordinator is allowed to read from any shard replica and not only from the leader. See Read from Followers for details.

Reading from followers in clusters is only available in the Enterprise Edition, including the ArangoGraph Insights Platform.

skipInaccessibleCollections

Let AQL queries (especially graph traversals) treat collection to which a user has no access rights for as if these collections are empty. Instead of returning a forbidden access error, your queries execute normally. This is intended to help with certain use-cases: A graph contains several collections and different users execute AQL queries on that graph. You can naturally limit the accessible results by changing the access rights of users on collections.

This option is only available in the Enterprise Edition, including the ArangoGraph Insights Platform.

satelliteSyncWait

Configure how long a DB-Server has time to bring the SatelliteCollections involved in the query into sync. The default value is 60.0 seconds. When the maximal time is reached, the query is stopped.

SatelliteCollections are only available in the Enterprise Edition, including the ArangoGraph Insights Platform.

With db._createStatement() (ArangoStatement)

The _query() method is a shorthand for creating an ArangoStatement object, executing it and iterating over the resulting cursor. If more control over the result set iteration is needed, it is recommended to first create an ArangoStatement object as follows:

arangosh> stmt = db._createStatement( { "query": "FOR i IN [ 1, 2 ] RETURN i * 2" } );
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[object ArangoStatement]

To execute the query, use the execute() method of the statement:

arangosh> cursor = stmt.execute();
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[ 
  2, 
  4 
]
[object ArangoQueryCursor, count: 2, cached: false, hasMore: false]

Cursors

Once the query executed the query results are available in a cursor. The cursor can return all its results at once using the toArray() method. This is a short-cut that you can use if you want to access the full result set without iterating over it yourself.

arangosh> cursor.toArray();
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[ 
  2, 
  4 
]

Cursors can also be used to iterate over the result set document-by-document. To do so, use the hasNext() and next() methods of the cursor:

arangosh> while (c.hasNext()) { require("@arangodb").print(c.next()); }
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2
4

Please note that you can iterate over the results of a cursor only once, and that the cursor will be empty when you have fully iterated over it. To iterate over the results again, the query needs to be re-executed.

Additionally, the iteration can be done in a forward-only fashion. There is no backwards iteration or random access to elements in a cursor.

ArangoStatement parameters binding

To execute an AQL query using bind parameters, you need to create a statement first and then bind the parameters to it before execution:

arangosh> var stmt = db._createStatement( { "query": "FOR i IN [ @one, @two ] RETURN i * 2" } );
arangosh> stmt.bind("one", 1);
arangosh> stmt.bind("two", 2);
arangosh> cursor = stmt.execute();
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[ 
  2, 
  4 
]
[object ArangoQueryCursor, count: 2, cached: false, hasMore: false]

The cursor results can then be dumped or iterated over as usual, e.g.:

arangosh> cursor.toArray();
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[ 
  2, 
  4 
]

or

arangosh> while (cursor.hasNext()) { require("@arangodb").print(cursor.next()); }
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2
4

Please note that bind parameters can also be passed into the _createStatement() method directly, making it a bit more convenient:

arangosh> stmt = db._createStatement( { 
........>   "query": "FOR i IN [ @one, @two ] RETURN i * 2", 
........>   "bindVars": { 
........>     "one": 1, 
........>     "two": 2 
........>   } 
........> });
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[object ArangoStatement]

Counting with a cursor

Cursors also optionally provide the total number of results. By default, they do not. To make the server return the total number of results, you may set the count attribute to true when creating a statement:

arangosh> stmt = db._createStatement( {
........>   "query": "FOR i IN [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ] RETURN i",
........> "count": true } );
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[object ArangoStatement]

After executing this query, you can use the count method of the cursor to get the number of total results from the result set:

arangosh> var cursor = stmt.execute();
arangosh> cursor.count();
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4

Please note that the count method returns nothing if you did not specify the count attribute when creating the query.

This is intentional so that the server may apply optimizations when executing the query and construct the result set incrementally. Incremental creation of the result sets is no possible if all of the results need to be shipped to the client anyway. Therefore, the client has the choice to specify count and retrieve the total number of results for a query (and disable potential incremental result set creation on the server), or to not retrieve the total number of results and allow the server to apply optimizations.

Please note that at the moment the server will always create the full result set for each query so specifying or omitting the count attribute currently does not have any impact on query execution. This may change in the future. Future versions of ArangoDB may create result sets incrementally on the server-side and may be able to apply optimizations if a result set is not fully fetched by a client.

Using cursors to obtain additional information on internal timings

Cursors can also optionally provide statistics of the internal execution phases. By default, they do not. To get to know how long parsing, optimization, instantiation and execution took, make the server return that by setting the profile attribute to true when creating a statement:

arangosh> stmt = db._createStatement( {
........>   "query": "FOR i IN [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ] RETURN i",
........> options: {"profile": true}} );
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[object ArangoStatement]

After executing this query, you can use the getExtra() method of the cursor to get the produced statistics:

arangosh> var cursor = stmt.execute();
arangosh> cursor.getExtra();
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{ 
  "warnings" : [ ], 
  "stats" : { 
    "writesExecuted" : 0, 
    "writesIgnored" : 0, 
    "scannedFull" : 0, 
    "scannedIndex" : 0, 
    "cursorsCreated" : 0, 
    "cursorsRearmed" : 0, 
    "cacheHits" : 0, 
    "cacheMisses" : 0, 
    "filtered" : 0, 
    "httpRequests" : 0, 
    "executionTime" : 0.00004375100070319604, 
    "peakMemoryUsage" : 0 
  }, 
  "profile" : { 
    "initializing" : 3.4900040191132575e-7, 
    "parsing" : 0.00000766099947213661, 
    "optimizing ast" : 8.989991329144686e-7, 
    "loading collections" : 4.870016709901392e-7, 
    "instantiating plan" : 0.000004560999514069408, 
    "optimizing plan" : 0.000018729999283095822, 
    "executing" : 0.000010470999768585898, 
    "finalizing" : 0.000004337000063969754 
  } 
}

Query validation with db._parse()

The _parse() method of the db object can be used to parse and validate a query syntactically, without actually executing it.

arangosh> db._parse( "FOR i IN [ 1, 2 ] RETURN i" );
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{ 
  "code" : 200, 
  "parsed" : true, 
  "collections" : [ ], 
  "bindVars" : [ ], 
  "ast" : [ 
    { 
      "type" : "root", 
      "subNodes" : [ 
        { 
          "type" : "for", 
          "subNodes" : [ 
            { 
              "type" : "variable", 
              "name" : "i", 
              "id" : 0 
            }, 
            { 
              "type" : "array", 
              "subNodes" : [ 
                { 
                  "type" : "value", 
                  "value" : 1 
                }, 
                { 
                  "type" : "value", 
                  "value" : 2 
                } 
              ] 
            }, 
            { 
              "type" : "no-op" 
            } 
          ] 
        }, 
        { 
          "type" : "return", 
          "subNodes" : [ 
            { 
              "type" : "reference", 
              "name" : "i", 
              "id" : 0 
            } 
          ] 
        } 
      ] 
    } 
  ] 
}