Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2009 (Minneapolis, MN) with:

Structs As Query Indexes, Speed, And Rick Osborne

Posted by Ben Nadel
Tags: ColdFusion

For those of you who follow my blog, you will know that Rick Osborne is the guy who comes in after I explain things and makes killer suggestions about how they can be done better. I recently gave a case study of how ColdFusion code can be optimized. It involved using the IndexOf() method of the ColdFusion query column object. Rick came in and suggested that using a Struct to create your own query-index would perform faster. As I am a man who likes to learn by doing, I thought I would put this to the test.

To test this, I query from a web statistics program. I am getting information from two tables: web_stats_hit and web_stats_session. Each "hit" in the hits table will have a session id in the session table. The session table also have a UUID column "session_id".

As I am trying to test the merging of two data sources, I am going to hit each table individually and then try to update one with matching values from the other. First I am grabbing the two different data sets:

  • <!--- Query for web hits. --->
  • <cfquery name="qHit" datasource="...">
  • SELECT
  • h.id,
  • h.date_created,
  • h.web_stats_session_id,
  • (
  • ''
  • ) AS session_id
  • FROM
  • web_stats_hit h
  • </cfquery>
  •  
  •  
  • <!--- Query for web sessions. --->
  • <cfquery name="qSession" datasource="...">
  • SELECT
  • s.id,
  • s.session_id
  • FROM
  • web_stats_session s
  • </cfquery>

As I tried to explain earlier, for every qHit.web_stats_session_id, there is a matching session, such that for some combo, qHit.web_stats_session_id == qSession.id. And just to get an idea of the amount of data we are talking about:

qHit: 52,290 records

qSession: 34,753 records

That's a LOT of data to go through. Let's get our "test" on:

  • <cftimer label="IndexOf() Methodology" type="outline">
  •  
  • <!--- Loop over the hit query. --->
  • <cfloop query="qHit">
  •  
  • <!---
  • We want to find a matching session_id based
  • on the session. Get index of matching row.
  • --->
  • <cfset intIndex = qSession[ "id" ].IndexOf(
  • JavaCast( "int", qHit.web_stats_session_id )
  • ) />
  •  
  • <!--- Add one to index (to be ColdFusion friendly). --->
  • <cfset intIndex = (intIndex + 1) />
  •  
  • <!--- Check to see if we have an index. --->
  • <cfif intIndex>
  •  
  • <!--- We found the match, update the row. --->
  • <cfset qHit[ "session_id" ][ qHit.CurrentRow ] =
  • qSession[ "session_id" ][ intIndex ]
  • />
  •  
  • </cfif>
  •  
  • </cfloop>
  •  
  • </cftimer>
  •  
  • <cftimer label="Struct Index Methodology" type="outline">
  •  
  • <!--- Create a session look up table. --->
  • <cfset objSessionLookUp = StructNew() />
  •  
  • <!---
  • Loop over session and set index rows. We will be using
  • the id column of the session as the key and the
  • session_id as the value. This creates our very own,
  • in-memory index of the qSession query based on ID.
  • --->
  • <cfloop query="qSession">
  •  
  • <!--- Index this value. --->
  • <cfset objSessionLookUp[ qSession.id ] = qSession.CurrentRow />
  •  
  • </cfloop>
  •  
  •  
  • <!--- Loop over the hit query. --->
  • <cfloop query="qHit">
  •  
  • <!---
  • Check to see if the session key exists. If it
  • does, then we found a match.
  • --->
  • <cfif StructKeyExists(
  • objSessionLookUp,
  • qHit.web_stats_session_id
  • )>
  •  
  • <!--- Update the session based on the struct-index. --->
  • <cfset qHit[ "session_id" ][ qHit.CurrentRow ] =
  • objSessionLookUp[ qHit.web_stats_session_id ]
  • />
  •  
  • </cfif>
  •  
  • </cfloop>
  •  
  • </cftimer>

It turns out Rick was absolute correct. The struct index performs MUCH faster. Here are the stats:

IndexOf() Methodology : 402,037 ms

Struct Index Methodology : 33,403 ms

Some quick math will show you that the struct index method performs in 8% of the time that the IndexOf() methodology does. EIGHT PERCENT! Nuts. I guess the only downside is that you can potentially create a HUGE in-memory structure; but it's only temporary.

Nicely done Rick!



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