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JDBC and processing large numbers of rows

From: "David Wall" <d(dot)wall(at)computer(dot)org>
To: <pgsql-jdbc(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: JDBC and processing large numbers of rows
Date: 2004-05-11 15:37:14
Message-ID: 024101c4376d$d567d050$3201a8c0@rasta (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-jdbc
This is more towards JDBC than PG in particular, but since we support PG,
Oracle and eventually other DBMS via JDBC, I thought I'd see if anybody has
any good ideas on how do the following in a somewhat portable way via JDBC
(by large, I'm talking about thousands to millions of rows -- significant
amounts of data)

1) Often people need to "page through"  large result set.  Some DBs support
the LIMIT,OFFSET construct of SELECT, and while not super efficient, at
least it only returns the window of the result set that is of interest.  How
do most people handle such paging through of data?  I've heard people cache
the entire result set, but that's not practical because of the memory
overhead and, with the web, not even knowing when to get rid of the
resultset.  Do people use work tables or other schemes to "pre-paginate" the
results but store it in a temporary table?

2) How do people process many records in a large resultset?  For example,
scanning through a list of rows and then doing some processing based on
those rows, and then perhaps updating the rows to indicate that they've been

3) How do people use cursors in JDBC?  Being able to FETCH seems like a nice
way to handle question #2 above in a batch program, since only a subset of
rows needs to be retrieved from the db at a time.  Cursors probably don't
work for question #1 above since keeping a transaction alive across page
views is generally frowned upon and even hard to accomplish since it means
locking up a connection to the db for each paging user.

Any pointers would be appreciated.


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