Flink keyed stream key is null

I am trying to perform a map operation on a KeyedStream in Flink:

stream.map(new JsonToMessageObjectMapper())
                    .keyBy("keyfield")
                    .map(new MessageProcessorStateful())

The output of the JsonToObjectMapper operator is a POJO of class MessageObject which has a String field ‘keyfield‘. The stream is then keyed on this field.

The MessageProcessorStateful is a RichMapFunction like this:

public class MessageAdProcessorStateful extends RichMapFunction<MessageObject, Tuple2<String, String>> {

    private transient MapState<String, Tuple2<Tuple3<String, String, String>, Tuple2<Double, Long>>> state;
    ...
    @Override
    public void open(Configuration config) throws Exception {
        MapStateDescriptor<String, Tuple2<Tuple3<String, String, String>, Tuple2<Double, Long>>> descriptor =
                    new MapStateDescriptor<>(
                        "state",                                                                                     // the state name
                            TypeInformation.of(new TypeHint<String>() {}),
                            TypeInformation.of(new TypeHint<Tuple2<Tuple3<String, String, String>, Tuple2<Double, Long>>>() {}) ); // type information
                    state = getRuntimeContext().getMapState(descriptor);

        state.put(...); // Insert a key, value here. Exception here!

    }
}

The code throws a NullPointer exception:

Caused by: java.lang.NullPointerException: No key set. This method should not be called outside of a keyed context.
    at org.apache.flink.util.Preconditions.checkNotNull(Preconditions.java:75)
    at org.apache.flink.runtime.state.heap.CopyOnWriteStateTable.checkKeyNamespacePreconditions(CopyOnWriteStateTable.java:528)
    at org.apache.flink.runtime.state.heap.CopyOnWriteStateTable.computeHashForOperationAndDoIncrementalRehash(CopyOnWriteStateTable.java:722)
    at org.apache.flink.runtime.state.heap.CopyOnWriteStateTable.get(CopyOnWriteStateTable.java:265)
    at org.apache.flink.runtime.state.heap.CopyOnWriteStateTable.get(CopyOnWriteStateTable.java:306)
    at org.apache.flink.runtime.state.heap.HeapMapState.put(HeapMapState.java:75)
    at org.apache.flink.runtime.state.UserFacingMapState.put(UserFacingMapState.java:52)
    at org.myorg.quickstart.MessageStreamProcessor$MessageAdProcessorStateful.open(MessageStreamProcessor.java:226)
    at org.apache.flink.api.common.functions.util.FunctionUtils.openFunction(FunctionUtils.java:36)
    at org.apache.flink.streaming.api.operators.AbstractUdfStreamOperator.open(AbstractUdfStreamOperator.java:102)
    at org.apache.flink.streaming.runtime.tasks.StreamTask.openAllOperators(StreamTask.java:393)
    at org.apache.flink.streaming.runtime.tasks.StreamTask.invoke(StreamTask.java:254)
    at org.apache.flink.runtime.taskmanager.Task.run(Task.java:718)
    at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:748)

Seems the key in the keyedState for one of the KeyedStream is null although I have verified that the ‘keyfield’ is always a valid string. Rest seems to be correct as per the Flink documentation. Any idea what is going on?

Answer

The problem is that you try to access the keyed state in the open() method.

Keyed state maintains a state instance for each key. In your example you are using MapState. So you have one MapState instance for each key. When accessing the state, you’ll always get the state instance that corresponds to the key of the currently processed record. In a MapFunction (like in your example) this would be the record that is passed to the map() method.

Since open() is not called with a record, the current key in open() is null and it is not possible to access the keyed state.

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