[erlang-questions] pre-load large data files when the application start

Benoit Chesneau <>
Fri Mar 25 19:03:25 CET 2016

On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 6:50 PM zxq9 <> wrote:

> On 2016年3月25日 金曜日 17:08:49 Benoit Chesneau wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I have a large data file provided as comma separated values (unicode
> data)
> > I need to load and parse it ASAP since it will be used by all the
> > functions.
> ...snip...
> > Is there anything else I can do?  I am curious how others are doing in
> that
> > case.
> Does it all need to be in memory all the time?
> Based on whether or not this is true and the context of use, I opt for
> - generate a smaller, more Erlangish version of the dataset
>   (what you're doing with DETS, for example)
> - load it into a database that is a common resource
>   (not always an option)
> - write a routine that makes smarter use of file reads than loading
>   everything at once -- this can be surprisingly fast, even in Erlang,
>   and be made to utilize a fixed amount of memory
>   (but is not always a good fit for the problem)
> But use-case drives everything.
> Honestly, you're one of the guys I tend to grep posts from when looking for
> answers to my own questions, so I reckon my ideas above are things you have
> already considered.
> Also, with regard to datasets in general, if there is any way to rule out
> any of the data on load, a combination of a filter + a constant memory
> read-in can be a big win if you do need it all in memory, but have some
> criteria by which the data you need all at once can be reduced (again,
> though, not always the case).
> -Craig

Heh, thanks :)

 DETS sounds a good idea. I didn't try it yet. Doing it now.

In the mean time I tried another idea i still need to test on different

- I build the beam first and place it in priv dir
- when the application is loaded, I load the beam in memory using

The code is here:

The beam is generated using a simple shell file for now:

and loaded here:

Tests pass. Right now the only annoying thing with it is the need to also
include that separated beam file when you escriptize but I guess I can live
with it.

I also need to check what is the impact of using such trick when you need
to upgrade the application (ie how is handle the -on_load attribute). Maybe
I don't need that. Just copying the beam to the correct ebin dir should be
enough. Doing it for all build tools around (erlang.mk, rebar3, rebar, ..)
makes it had though.


- benoit
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