# flatten

The FLATTEN operator looks like a UDF syntactically, but it is actually an operator that changes the structure of tuples and bags in a way that a UDF cannot. Flatten un-nests tuples as well as bags. The idea is the same, but the operation and result is different for each type of structure.

For tuples, flatten substitutes the fields of a tuple in place of the tuple. For example, consider a relation that has a tuple of the form (a, (b, c)). The expression GENERATE $0, flatten($1), will cause that tuple to become (a, b, c).

For bags, the situation becomes more complicated. When we un-nest a bag, we create new tuples. If we have a relation that is made up of tuples of the form ({(b,c),(d,e)}) and we apply GENERATE flatten($0), we end up with two tuples (b,c) and (d,e). When we remove a level of nesting in a bag, sometimes we cause a cross product to happen. For example, consider a relation that has a tuple of the form (a, {(b,c), (d,e)}), commonly produced by the GROUP operator. If we apply the expression GENERATE$0, flatten(\$1) to this tuple, we will create new tuples: (a, b, c) and (a, d, e).

Joe {(Joe,18,3.8)}
Bill {(Bill,20,3.9)}
John {(John,18,4.0)}
Mary {(Mary,19,3.8),(Mary,19,5.0)}

a = load 'result' as (f1:chararray,B: bag {T: tuple(t1:chararray, t2:int, t3:float)});

b = foreach a GENERATE FLATTEN(B) as (t1:chararray,t2:int,t3:float);