Fetching Strategies

Fetchplans are used in two different scopes:

  1. A Connection that uses the Binary Protocol can early load records to the client. On traversing of connected records, the client doesn't have to execute further remote calls to the server, because the requested records are already in the client's cache.
  2. A Connection that uses the HTTP/JSON Protocol can expand the resulting JSON to include connected records as embedded in the same JSON. This is useful with the HTTP protocol to fetch all the connected records in just one call.

Format for Fetch Plans

In boths scopes, the fetchplan syntax is the same. In terms of their use, Fetch Plans are strings that you can use at run-time on queries and record loads. The syntax for these strings is:

  • Levels Is an optional value that indicates which levels to use with the Fetch Plans. Levels start from 0. As of version 2.1, levels use the following syntax:
    • Level The specific level on which to use the Fetch Plan. For example, using the level [0] would apply only to the first level.
    • Range The range of levels on which to use the Fetch Plan. For example, [0-2] means to use it on the first through third levels. You can also use the partial range syntax: [-3] which means from the first to fourth levels, while [4-] means from the fifth level to infinity.
    • Any The wildcard variable indicates that you want to use the Fetch Plan on all levels. For example, [*].
  • Field Path Is the field name path, which OrientDB expects in dot notation. The path begins from either the root record or the wildcard variable * to indicate any field. You can also use the wildcard at the end of the path to specify all paths that start for a name.
  • Depth Level Is the depth of the level requested. The depth level variable uses the following syntax:
    • 0 Indicates to load the current record.
    • 1-N Indicates to load the current record to the nth record.
    • -1 Indicates an unlimited level.
    • -2 Indicates an excluded level.

In the event that you want to express multiple rules for your Fetch Plans, separate them by spaces.

Consider the following Fetch Plans for use with the example above:

Fetch Plan Description
*:-1 Fetches recursively the entire tree.
*:-1 orders:0 Fetches recursively all records, but uses the field orders in the root class. Note that the field orders only loads its direct content, (that is, the records 8:12, 8:19, and 8:23). No other records inside of them load.
*:0 address.city.country:0 Fetches only non-document fields in the root class and the field address.city.country, (that is, records 10:1,11:2 and 12:3).
[*]in_*:-2 out_*:-2 Fetches all properties, except for edges at any level.

Early loading of records

By default, OrientDB loads linked records in a lazy manner. That is to say, it does not load linked fields until it traverses these fields. In situations where you need the entire tree of a record, this can prove costly to performance. For instance,

   | customer
   +---------> Customer
   |            5:233
   | address            city            country
   +---------> Address---------> City ---------> Country
   |            10:1             11:2             12:3
   | orders
   +--------->* [OrderItem OrderItem OrderItem]
                [  8:12      8:19      8:23   ]

Here, you have a class, Invoice, with linked fields customer, city, and orders. If you were to run a SELECT query on Invoice, it would not load the linked class, and it would require seven different loads to build the returned value. In the event that you have a remote connection, that means seven network calls as well.

In order to avoid performance issues that may arise from this behavior, OrientDB supports fetching strategies, called Fetch Plans, that allow you to customize how it loads linked records. The aim of a Fetch Plan is to pre-load connected records in a single call, rather than several. The best use of Fetch Plans is on records loaded through remote connections and when using JSON serializers to produce JSON with nested records.

NOTE OrientDB handles circular dependencies to avoid any loops while it fetches linking records.

Remote Connections

Under the default configuration, when a client executes a query or loads a single record directly from a remote database, it continues to send network calls for each linked record involved in the query, (that is, through OLazyRecordList). You can mitigate this with a Fetch Plan.

When the client executes a query, set a Fetch Plan with a level different from 0. This causes the server to traverse all the records of the return result-set, sending them in response to a single call. OrientDB loads all connected records into the local client, meaning that the collections remain lazy, but when accessing content, the record is loaded from the local cache to mitigate the need for additional connections.

Examples using SQL

Acquire Profile and it's first level friendships

SELECT OUT("out_Friend") as friends FROM Profile fetchplan friends:1

This will provide a result set of Profile records with a field called friends that contains an array of verticies connected via a out_Friend edge. Only the friends field is apart of the fetchplan in this instance, any further will be treated as normal.

Examples using the Java APIs

Execute a query with a custom fetch plan

List<ODocument> resultset = database.query(new OSQLSynchQuery<ODocument>("select * from Profile").setFetchPlan("*:-1"));

Export a document and its nested documents in JSON

Export an invoice and its customer:


Export an invoice, its customer, and orders:

invoice.toJSON("fetchPlan:customer:1 orders:2");

Export an invoice and all the connected records up to 3rd level of depth:


From SQL:

SELECT @this.toJSON('fetchPlan:out_Friend:4') FROM #10:20

Export path in outgoing direction by removing all the incoming edges by using wildcards (Since 2.0):

SELECT @this.toJSON('fetchPlan:in_*:-2') FROM #10:20


  • To avoid looping, the record already traversed by fetching are exported only by their RIDs (RecordID) form
  • "fetchPlan" setting is case sensitive

Browse objects using a custom fetch plan

for (Account a : database.browseClass(Account.class).setFetchPlan("*:0 addresses:-1")) {
  System.out.println( a.getName() );

NOTE: Fetching Object will mean their presence inside your domain entities. So if you load an object using fetchplan *:0 all LINK type references won't be loaded.

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