Materialize Documentation
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CREATE SOURCE

A source describes an external system you want Materialize to read data from, and provides details about how to decode and interpret that data. To create a source, you must specify a connector, a format and an envelope.

Executing a CREATE SOURCE statement does not prompt data ingestion; it simply registers source metadata in the system catalog. Data ingestion will only kick off when you create a materialization that depends on an existing source, such as a materialized view.

Connectors

Materialize bundles native connectors for the following external systems:

For details on the syntax, supported formats and features of each connector, check out the dedicated CREATE SOURCE documentation pages.

Formats

To read from an external data source, Materialize must be able to determine how to decode raw bytes from different formats into data structures it can understand at runtime. This is handled by specifying a FORMAT in the CREATE SOURCE statement.

Avro

Syntax: FORMAT AVRO

Materialize can decode Avro messages by integrating with a schema registry to retrieve a schema, and automatically determine the columns and data types to use in the source.

Schema versioning

The latest schema is retrieved using the TopicNameStrategy strategy at the time the CREATE SOURCE statement is issued. In the future, we expect to support specifying a different subject name strategy (#6170).

Schema evolution

As long as the writer schema changes in a compatible way, Materialize will continue using the original reader schema definition by mapping values from the new to the old schema version. To use the new version of the writer schema in Materialize, you need to drop and recreate the source.

Name collision

To avoid case-sensitivity conflicts with Materialize identifiers, we recommend double-quoting all field names when working with Avro-formatted sources.

Supported types

Materialize supports all Avro types, except for recursive types (#5803) and union types in arrays (#8917).

JSON

Syntax: FORMAT BYTES

NOTE: Support for the more ergonomic FORMAT JSON is in progress (#7186)!

Materialize cannot decode JSON directly from an external data source. Instead, you must create a source that reads the data as raw bytes, and then handle the conversion to jsonb using an intermediate view:

CREATE SOURCE bytea_source
  FROM ...
  FORMAT BYTES;

CREATE VIEW jsonified_source AS
  SELECT
    data->>'field1' AS field_1,
    data->>'field2' AS field_2,
    data->>'field3' AS field_3
  FROM (SELECT CONVERT_FROM(data, 'utf8')::jsonb AS data FROM bytea_source);

Raw byte-formatted sources have one column, by default named data. For more details on handling JSON-encoded messages, check the jsonb documentation.

Schema registry integration

Retrieving schemas from a schema registry is not supported yet for JSON-formatted sources (#7186). This means that Materialize cannot decode messages serialized using the JSON Schema serialization format (JSON_SR).

Protobuf

Syntax: FORMAT PROTOBUF

Materialize can decode Protobuf messages by integrating with a schema registry to retrieve a .proto schema definition, and automatically define the columns and data types to use in the source. Unlike Avro, Protobuf does not serialize a schema with the message, so Materialize expects:

Schema versioning

The latest schema is retrieved using the TopicNameStrategy strategy at the time the CREATE SOURCE statement is issued. In the future, we expect to support specifying a different subject name strategy (#6170).

Schema evolution

As long as the .proto schema definition changes in a compatible way, Materialize will continue using the original schema definition by mapping values from the new to the old schema version. To use the new version of the schema in Materialize, you need to drop and recreate the source.

Supported types

Materialize supports all well-known Protobuf types from the proto2 and proto3 specs, except for recursive Struct values (#5803).

Multiple message schemas

When using a schema registry with Protobuf sources, the registered schemas must contain exactly one Message definition. In the future, we expect to support schemas with multiple messages (#9598).

Text/bytes

Text

Syntax: FORMAT TEXT

Materialize can parse new-line delimited data as plain text. Data is assumed to be valid unicode (UTF-8), and discarded if it cannot be converted to UTF-8. Text-formatted sources have a single column, by default named text.

For details on casting, check the text documentation.

Bytes

Syntax: FORMAT BYTES

Materialize can read raw bytes without applying any formatting or decoding. Raw byte-formatted sources have a single column, by default named data.

For details on encodings and casting, check the bytea documentation.

CSV

Syntax: FORMAT CSV

Materialize can parse CSV-formatted data using different methods to determine the number of columns to create and their respective names:

Method Description
HEADER Materialize determines the number of columns and the name of each column using the header row. The header is not ingested as data.
HEADER ( name_list ) Same behavior as HEADER, with additional validation of the column names against the name list specified. This allows decoding files that have headers but may not be populated yet, as well as overriding the source column names.
n COLUMNS Materialize treats the source data as if it has n columns. By default, columns are named column1, column2columnN.

The data in CSV sources is read as text. You can then handle the conversion to other types using explicit casts when creating views.

Invalid rows

Any row that doesn’t match the number of columns determined by the format is ignored, and Materialize logs an error.

Envelopes

In addition to determining how to decode incoming records, Materialize also needs to understand how to interpret them. Whether a new record inserts, updates, or deletes existing data in Materialize depends on the ENVELOPE specified in the CREATE SOURCE statement.

Append-only envelope

Syntax: ENVELOPE NONE

The append-only envelope treats all records as inserts. This is the default envelope, if no envelope is specified.

Upsert envelope

Syntax: ENVELOPE UPSERT

The upsert envelope treats all records as having a key and a value, and supports inserts, updates and deletes within Materialize:

The upsert envelope has slower data ingestion and is more memory intensive than other envelopes. In most cases, Materialize must maintain state proportional to the number of unique rows in the source, and perform extra work to handle retractions based on that state.

Debezium envelope

Syntax: ENVELOPE DEBEZIUM

Materialize provides a dedicated envelope to decode messages produced by Debezium. This envelope treats all records as change events with a diff structure that indicates whether each record should be interpreted as an insert, update or delete within Materialize:

Materialize expects a specific message structure that includes the row data before and after the change event, which is not guaranteed for every Debezium connector. For more details, check the Debezium integration guide.

Truncation

The Debezium envelope does not support upstream truncate events (#6596).

Debezium metadata

The envelope exposes the before and after value fields from change events. In the future, we expect to support additional metadata with information about the original context of the events, like source.ts_ms, source.database and source.table (#12077).

Duplicate handling

Debezium may produce duplicate records if the connector is interrupted. Materialize makes a best-effort attempt to detect and filter out duplicates.

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