Structured Dataset#

Tags: DataFrame, Basic, Data

Structured dataset is a superset of Flyte Schema.

The StructuredDataset Transformer can write a dataframe to BigQuery, s3, or any storage by registering new structured dataset encoder and decoder.

Flytekit makes it possible to return or accept a pandas.DataFrame which is automatically converted into Flyte’s abstract representation of a structured dataset object.

This example explains how a structured dataset can be used with the Flyte entities.

Let’s import the necessary dependencies.

import os
import typing

import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
import pyarrow as pa
import pyarrow.parquet as pq
from flytekit import FlyteContext, StructuredDatasetType, kwtypes, task, workflow
from flytekit.models import literals
from flytekit.models.literals import StructuredDatasetMetadata
from flytekit.types.schema import FlyteSchema
from flytekit.types.structured.structured_dataset import (
from typing_extensions import Annotated

We define the columns types for schema and StructuredDataset.

superset_cols = kwtypes(Name=str, Age=int, Height=int)
subset_cols = kwtypes(Age=int)

We define two tasks, one returns a pandas DataFrame and the other a FlyteSchema. Flyte serializes the DataFrames to an intermediate format, a parquet file, before sending them to the other tasks.

def get_df(a: int) -> Annotated[pd.DataFrame, superset_cols]:
    Generate a sample dataframe
    return pd.DataFrame({"Name": ["Tom", "Joseph"], "Age": [a, 22], "Height": [160, 178]})

def get_schema_df(a: int) -> FlyteSchema[superset_cols]:
    Generate a sample dataframe
    s = FlyteSchema(){"Name": ["Tom", "Joseph"], "Age": [a, 22], "Height": [160, 178]}))
    return s

Next, we define a task that opens a structured dataset by calling all(). When we invoke all(), the Flyte engine downloads the parquet file on S3, and deserializes it to pandas.dataframe.


  • Despite the input type of the task being StructuredDataset, it can also accept FlyteSchema as input.

  • The code may result in runtime failures if the columns do not match.

def get_subset_df(df: Annotated[StructuredDataset, subset_cols]) -> Annotated[StructuredDataset, subset_cols]:
    df =
    df = pd.concat([df, pd.DataFrame([[30]], columns=["Age"])])
    # On specifying BigQuery uri for StructuredDataset, flytekit writes a pandas dataframe to a BigQuery table
    return StructuredDataset(dataframe=df)

StructuredDataset with uri Argument#

BigQuery uri allows you to load and retrieve data from cloud using the uri. The uri comprises of the bucket name and the filename prefixed with gs://. If you specify BigQuery uri for StructuredDataset, BigQuery creates a table in the location specified by the uri. The uri in StructuredDataset reads from or writes to S3, GCP, BigQuery, or any storage. Let’s understand how to convert a pandas DataFrame to a BigQuery table and vice-versa through an example.

Before writing DataFrame to a BigQuery table,

  1. Create a GCP account and create a service account.

  2. Create a project and add the GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS environment variable to your .bashrc file.

  3. Create a dataset in your project.

Import the dependencies.

import pandas as pd  # noqa: E402
from flytekit import task  # noqa: E402
from flytekit.types.structured import StructuredDataset  # noqa: E402

Define a task that converts a pandas DataFrame to a BigQuery table.

def pandas_to_bq() -> StructuredDataset:
    # create a pandas dataframe
    df = pd.DataFrame({"Name": ["Tom", "Joseph"], "Age": [20, 22]})
    # convert the dataframe to StructuredDataset
    return StructuredDataset(dataframe=df, uri="bq://sample-project-1-352610.sample_352610.test1")


The BigQuery uri’s format is bq://<project_name>.<dataset_name>.<table_name>.

Define a task that converts the BigQuery table to a pandas DataFrame.

def bq_to_pandas(sd: StructuredDataset) -> pd.DataFrame:
    # convert to pandas dataframe


Flyte creates the table inside the dataset in the project upon BigQuery query execution.

Trigger the tasks locally.

if __name__ == "__main__":
    o1 = bq_to_pandas(sd=StructuredDataset(uri="bq://sample-project-1-352610.sample_352610.test1"))
    o2 = pandas_to_bq()

NumPy Encoder and Decoder#

StructuredDataset ships with an encoder and a decoder that handles the conversion of a Python value to a Flyte literal and vice-versa, respectively. Let’s understand how to write them by defining a NumPy encoder and decoder, which helps use NumPy array as a valid type within structured datasets.

NumPy Encoder#

We extend StructuredDatasetEncoder and implement the encode function. The encode function converts NumPy array to an intermediate format (parquet file format in this case).

class NumpyEncodingHandlers(StructuredDatasetEncoder):
    def encode(
        ctx: FlyteContext,
        structured_dataset: StructuredDataset,
        structured_dataset_type: StructuredDatasetType,
    ) -> literals.StructuredDataset:
        df = typing.cast(np.ndarray, structured_dataset.dataframe)
        name = ["col" + str(i) for i in range(len(df))]
        table = pa.Table.from_arrays(df, name)
        path = ctx.file_access.get_random_remote_directory()
        local_dir = ctx.file_access.get_random_local_directory()
        local_path = os.path.join(local_dir, f"{0:05}")
        pq.write_table(table, local_path)
        ctx.file_access.upload_directory(local_dir, path)
        return literals.StructuredDataset(

NumPy Decoder#

Next we extend StructuredDatasetDecoder and implement the decode function. The decode function converts the parquet file to a numpy.ndarray.

class NumpyDecodingHandlers(StructuredDatasetDecoder):
    def decode(
        ctx: FlyteContext,
        flyte_value: literals.StructuredDataset,
        current_task_metadata: StructuredDatasetMetadata,
    ) -> np.ndarray:
        local_dir = ctx.file_access.get_random_local_directory()
        ctx.file_access.get_data(flyte_value.uri, local_dir, is_multipart=True)
        table = pq.read_table(local_dir)
        return table.to_pandas().to_numpy()

NumPy Renderer#

Create a default renderer for numpy array, then flytekit will use this renderer to display schema of numpy array on flyte deck.

class NumpyRenderer:
    The schema of Numpy array are rendered as an HTML table.

    def to_html(self, df: np.ndarray) -> str:
        assert isinstance(df, np.ndarray)
        name = ["col" + str(i) for i in range(len(df))]
        table = pa.Table.from_arrays(df, name)
        return pd.DataFrame(table.schema).to_html(index=False)

Finally, we register the encoder, decoder, and renderer with the StructuredDatasetTransformerEngine.

StructuredDatasetTransformerEngine.register(NumpyEncodingHandlers(np.ndarray, None, PARQUET))
StructuredDatasetTransformerEngine.register(NumpyDecodingHandlers(np.ndarray, None, PARQUET))
StructuredDatasetTransformerEngine.register_renderer(np.ndarray, NumpyRenderer())

You can now use numpy.ndarray to deserialize the parquet file to NumPy and serialize a task’s output (NumPy array) to a parquet file.

Let’s define a task to test the above functionality. We open a structured dataset of type numpy.ndarray and serialize it again.

def to_numpy(ds: Annotated[StructuredDataset, subset_cols]) -> Annotated[StructuredDataset, subset_cols, PARQUET]:
    numpy_array =
    return StructuredDataset(dataframe=numpy_array)

Finally, we define two workflows that showcase how a pandas.DataFrame and FlyteSchema are accepted by the StructuredDataset.

def pandas_compatibility_wf(a: int) -> Annotated[StructuredDataset, subset_cols]:
    df = get_df(a=a)
    ds = get_subset_df(df=df)  # noqa: shown for demonstration; users should use the same types between tasks
    return to_numpy(ds=ds)

def schema_compatibility_wf(a: int) -> Annotated[StructuredDataset, subset_cols]:
    df = get_schema_df(a=a)
    ds = get_subset_df(df=df)  # noqa: shown for demonstration; users should use the same types between tasks
    return to_numpy(ds=ds)

You can run the code locally as follows:

if __name__ == "__main__":
    numpy_array_one = pandas_compatibility_wf(a=42).open(np.ndarray).all()
    print(f"pandas DataFrame compatibility check output: {numpy_array_one}")
    numpy_array_two = schema_compatibility_wf(a=42).open(np.ndarray).all()
    print(f"Schema compatibility check output: {numpy_array_two}")