pygrametl contains additional support for running ETL programs on Jython, the Java Virtual Machine implementation of Python. Using Jython compared to CPython allows for threads to be used instead of processes for performing operations in parallel. This is caused by the lack of global interpreter lock on the JVM, which in CPython prevents more then one thread in the same process from running at the same time. For more information about the GIL see the Python wiki GIL.

To make the switch between CPython and Jython as simple as possible, two abstractions are provided by pygrametl. Firstly, JDBCConnectionWrapper provides two wrappers for database connections following the Java Database Connectivity standard (JDBC), and as pygrametl uses a similar wrapper for PEP 249 database connections, they can be used without any changes to the program code. For more information about database accesses in pygrametl see Database. Secondly, as Jython currently has no support for multiprocessing due to threads being more lightweight and capable of running in parallel, another abstraction is provided by pygrametl in the form of the module jythonmultiprocessing. This module wraps threading to implement a very small part of Python multiprocessing module, so the same library interface can used on both Jython and CPython.

Note, that while both Jython and CPython are capable of executing the same language, the two platforms are implemented differently, so optimisations suitable for one platform may be less effective for the other. One aspect to be aware of when running high performance pygrametl flows on Jython, is memory management. The JVM, which Jython runs on, uses a generational garbage collector with more expensive garbage collection strategies used for the old generation part of the heap. Allowing too many objects to be moved to this part of memory can reduce the throughput of an ETL flow significantly, something which can easily occur if values controlling caching such as Decoupled.batchsize, are set too high. Similarly, a too low value would in the case of Decoupled.batchsize increase the overhead of transferring data between threads, as smaller batches are used. Multiple tools for profiling JVM based programs exist: HPROF and JConsole are bundled with the JDK, while tools such as VisualVM must be installed separately but often provide additional functionality.


Using pygrametl with Jython requires a few extra steps compared to CPython, as Jython is less integrated with Python’s package management system, and the JVM needs access to the necessary libraries. First, install pygrametl either through PyPI or by downloading the latest development version from Github, for more information about installation of pygrametl for CPython see Install Guide.

After pygrametl has been installed, the install location must be added to the environment variable JYTHONPATH, as Jython purposely does not read the locations used by CPython as a default. The default pip install directory depends on the operating system, and whether packages are installed locally or globally, check the output of the pip install command or its log for precise information about where the packages are installed. The method for setting this variable depends on your operating system. On most Unix-like systems , the variable can be set in ~/.profile, which will be sourced on login. On Windows, environment variables can be changed through the System setting in in the Control Panel. The module path can also be set programmatically through sys.path.


Jython can in most cases be used as a replacement for Jython, with the exception of C-Extensions which Jython replaces with the capability to use libraries from languages targeting the JVM such as Java, Scala or Clojure. To accesses JVM libraries, they must be added to the JVM classpath by using the -J-cp command line option. For more information about Jython’s command line flags, see Jython CLI.

import pygrametl
from pygrametl.tables import FactTable
from pygrametl.JDBCConnectionWrapper import JDBCConnectionWrapper

# Java classes used must be imported into the program
import java.sql.DriverManager

# The actual database connection is handled using a JDBC connection
jconn = java.sql.DriverManager.getConnection \

# As PEP 249 and JDBC connections are different must JDBCConnectionWrapper
# instead of ConnectionWrapper. The class has the same interface and a
# reference to the wrapper is also saved to allow for easy access of it
conn = JDBCConnectionWrapper(jdbcconn=jconn)

# The instance of FactTable connects to the table "facttable" in the
# database using the default connection wrapper we just created
factTable = FactTable(
    keyrefs=['pageid', 'testid', 'dateid'])

The above example demonstrates how few changes are needed to in order to change the first example from Fact Tables from using CPython to Jython. The database connection is changed to use a JDBC connection, and ConnectionWrapper is changed to JDBCConnectionWrapper.JDBCConnectionWrapper. The creation of the fact table does not need to be changed in any way to run on Jython, as the connection wrappers abstract away the differences between JDBC and PEP 249. The other Jython module, jythonmultiprocessing, is even simpler to use as pygrametl’s parallel module parallel imports either it, or CPythons built-in multiprocessing module depending on whether Jython or CPython is used.

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