How to Lateral View Explode in Presto

Hive’s explode() function takes an array (or a map) as input and outputs the elements of the array (map) as separate rows. Explode is a built-in Table-Generating Function (UDTF) in hive and can be used in a SELECT expression list and as a part of LATERAL VIEW.

The explode function doesn’t exist in Presto; instead we can use Presto’s similar UNNEST. 

A Practical Example: Lateral View Explode in Presto

Here’s an example using test results data in json form as input, from which we compute the average score per student.  We use the WITH clause to define a common table expression (CTE) named example with a column alias name of data. The VALUES function returns a table rowset. 

WITH example(data) as 
    (json '{"result":[{"name":"Jarret","score":"90"},{"name":"Blanche","score":"95"}]}'),
    (json '{"result":[{"name":"Blanche","score":"76"},{"name":"Jarret","score":"88"}]}')
SELECT as "Student Name", avg(n.score) as "Average Score"
FROM example
    UNNEST ( 
        CAST (JSON_EXTRACT(data, '$.result')
        as ARRAY(ROW(name VARCHAR, score INTEGER )))
    ) as n

Student Name | Average Score 
 Jarret      |          89.0 
 Blanche     |          85.5 
(2 rows)

The UNNEST function takes an array within a column of a single row and returns the elements of the array as multiple rows.

CAST converts the JSON type to an ARRAY type which UNNEST requires.

JSON_EXTRACT uses a jsonPath expression to return the array value of the result key in the data.

This code sample and description should help when you need to to do a lateral view explode in Presto.

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