Apache Flink has contained SQL functionality since Flink version 1.1, which introduced a SQL API based on Apache Calcite and a table API, too. While the combined SQL and Table API today provides valuable ways for developers to apply well-understood relational data and SQL constructs to the world of stream data processing, its usefulness is somewhat limited.
For starters, only Scala and Java experts can avail themselves of API, according to the description of the new SQL client, which is codenamed FLIP-24. What’s more, any table program that was written with the SQL and Table API had to be packaged with Apache Maven, a Java-based project management tool, and submitted to the Flink cluster before running.
With the launch of the SQL CLI Client in Flink version 1.5, the Flink community is taking its support for SQL in a new direction. According to the FLIP-24 project page, providing an interactive shell will not only make Flink accessible to non-programmers, including data scientists, but it will also eliminate the need for a full IDE to program Flink apps. With millions of SQL-loving data analysts out there, the benefits could certainly be vast.
Good stuff. Feasel’s Law in action.