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Thread: First Impressions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default First Impressions

    I just made my first post regarding an issue I'm experiencing, so I thought I'd take a bit of extra time to provide my first impressions of the tool.

    I'm loving kettle right now. There are so many things we used to manually write that can be hammered out in this tool WAAAAYYY faster, and with better performance, consistency, etc. on top of it.

    However, I do have to say I really had to grind through the first 10 days or so in order to get this thing down to a point of not hitting hurdles every step of the way. In fact, I've got a colleague who is really pretty frustrated and trying to jump ship (to where I don't really know... sql, temp tables, and shelll scripts I guess ... but I won't let him).

    I think one of the main issues we had was in not really having the standard "hello world" tutorial or a basic explanation of how to write a transformation or even the concept of streams. The User's Guide is helpful to me now that I've spent ten days using the tool, but it wasn't so useful until I was able to get the fundamentals down. Did I just miss the
    material for the beginner? I'm also thirsting for some intermediate information now, like examples of how to use maxdate, partitioning, plug-ins and what not. Are there resources I've passed over?

    FYI, the snags I've hit:
    • The infamous MySQL "cursor" timeout. I attempted to set the param using the database config dialog, but i ended up putting it on the server b/c I couldn't figure it out.
    • In conjunction with the MySQL "cursors," I believe I was hitting some level of what seemed like deadlock (all steps in the running state but no longer counting upwards, no errors either) when the buffer was filling up. Its either that or the version I was using (3.0.3.GA) was hiding the timeout from me. Increasing the buffer, changing the MySQL timeout, and upgrading to 3.1.0.M2 fixed it (not quite a scientific experiment there, but I'm happy now). Some kind of buffer monitor would be awesome.
    • Trying to stop transformations when a cursor is still out there fetching consistently crashes the UI. I haven't quite nailed down the specific scenarios that do it, but I'm very used to having to force kill when I try to stop a transformation
    Overall, I am very satisfied and will be certain to incorporate this tool into more and more solutions. Thanks for your work.

  2. #2
    DEinspanjer Guest


    These forums are an invaluable resource of course. Even without asking questions, if you find the right keywords to search for, someone has probably already bumped into a problem you are seeing.

    Matt Caster's blog is a great peek into some of the more advanced bits of Kettle

    The samples directory is chock full of useful examples. Although I'll admit some are more useful than others.

    Pentaho is in the process right now of migrating the user guide to wiki format. I'm hoping when that is finished that it will allow the document to live a more rich life than it currently does. I for one will make an effort to make sure there is at least a line or two in it when I finally figure out some odd thing I've been struggling with.

    Lastly, there is also the #pentaho channel on It is an unofficial support channel. There are more reporting savvy people than Kettle experts but it never hurts to hang out and listen in.

  3. #3


    Thank you for your feedback, CheffPJ. As Daniel points out, there are a number of resources available, but you're definitely right in that we have the opportunity to improve our documentation offerings for the newcomers. The first draft of the wiki transformation of the Spoon doc is done (hooray Marina and Jem!) so we should be able to get that QA'd, edited, and out soon and provide a place where some of our really knowledgeable folks in the community can easily contribute their tips and tricks.

    We certainly hope that folks will be pleased with our efforts in the first part of the year to ease the transition into the entire BI Suite, and there will be more to come!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 1999


    Just for reference:

    For a basic sample of Kettle (Flash) :

    The MySQL timeout issue is described over here:

    The buffers issue: you can now see the state of the buffers graphically mapped (and logged to a database table) in the step performance graphs tab. (version 3.1)
    This will tell you right away if a buffer is maxing out constantly.

    Finally, a UI crash should always get fixed, certainly if it happens in a development release like 3.1.0-M1/M2 or a nightly build.
    To help us get these out of the way, log a bug report over here:

    Thanks for the feedback and the kind remarks!

    All the best,


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