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AbstractProcessor is a convenience class designed to deal with most of the boilerplate in implementing the full Processor API.

Receiving items

On the reception side the first line of convenience are the tryProcessN() methods. While in the inbox the watermark and data items are interleaved, these methods take care of the boilerplate needed to filter out the watermarks. Additionally, they get one item at a time, eliminating the need to write a suspendable loop over the input items.

There is a separate method specialized for each edge from 0 to 4 (tryProcess0..tryProcess4) and a catch-all method tryProcess(ordinal, item). If the processor doesn't need to distinguish between the inbound edges, the latter method is a good match; otherwise, it is simpler to implement one or more of the ordinal-specific methods. The catch-all method is also the only way to access inbound edges beyond ordinal 4, but such cases are very rare in practice.

Paralleling the above there are tryProcessWm(ordinal, wm) and tryProcessWmN(wm) methods that get just the watermark items.

Emitting items

AbstractProcessor declares two method variants that emit items: tryEmit() for cooperative processors and emit() for non-cooperative ones. Whereas tryEmit() returns a boolean that tells you whether the outbox accepted the item, emit() fails when the outbox refuses it.

A major complication arises from the fact that the outbox has limited capacity and can refuse an item at any time. The processor must be implemented to expect this, and when it happens it must save its state and return from the current invocation. Things get especially tricky when there are several items to emit, such as:

  • when a single input item maps to many output items
  • when the processor performs a group-by-key operation and emits the groups as separate items

AbstractProcessor provides the method emitFromTraverser to support the latter and there is additional support for the former with the nested class FlatMapper. These work with the Traverser abstraction to cooperatively emit a user-provided sequence of items.


Traverser is a very simple functional interface whose shape matches that of a Supplier, but with a contract specialized for the traversal over a sequence of non-null items: each call to its next() method returns another item of the sequence until exhausted, then keeps returning null. A traverser may also represent an infinite, non-blocking stream of items: it may return null when no item is currently available, then later return more items.

The point of this type is the ability to implement traversal over any kind of dataset or lazy sequence with minimum hassle: often just by providing a one-liner lambda expression. This makes it very easy to integrate with Jet's convenience APIs for cooperative processors.

Traverser also supports some default methods that facilitate building a simple transformation layer over the underlying sequence: map, filter, flatMap, etc.

The following example shows how you can implement a simple flatmapping processor:

public class ItemAndSuccessorP extends AbstractProcessor {
    private final FlatMapper<Integer, Integer> flatMapper =
        flatMapper(i -> traverseIterable(asList(i, i + 1)));

    protected boolean tryProcess(int ordinal, Object item) {
        return flatMapper.tryProcess((int) item);

For each received Integer this processor emits the number and its successor. If the outbox refuses an item, flatMapper.tryProcess() returns false and stays ready to resume the next time it is invoked. The fact that it returned false signals Jet to invoke ItemAndSuccessorP.tryProcess() again with the same arguments.