AVRO - Schemas


Avro, being a schema-based serialization utility, accepts schemas as input. In spite of various schemas being available, Avro follows its own standards of defining schemas. These schemas describe the following details −

  • type of file (record by default)
  • location of record
  • name of the record
  • fields in the record with their corresponding data types

Using these schemas, you can store serialized values in binary format using less space. These values are stored without any metadata.

Creating Avro Schemas

The Avro schema is created in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) document format, which is a lightweight text-based data interchange format. It is created in one of the following ways −

  • A JSON string
  • A JSON object
  • A JSON array

Example − The given schema defines a (record type) document within "Tutorialspoint" namespace. The name of document is "Employee" which contains two "Fields" → Name and Age.

   "type" : "record",
   "namespace" : "Tutorialspoint",
   "name" : "Employee",
   "fields" : [
      { "name" : "Name" , "type" : "string" },
      { "name" : "Age" , "type" : "int" }

We observed that schema contains four attributes, they are briefly described below −

  • type − Describes document type, in this case a "record".

  • namespace − Describes the name of the namespace in which the object resides.

  • name − Describes the schema name.

  • fields − This is an attribute array which contains the following −

    • name − Describes the name of field

    • type − Describes data type of field

Primitive Data Types of Avro

Avro schema is having primitive data types as well as complex data types. The following table describes the primitive data types of Avro −

Data type Description
null Null is a type having no value.
int 32-bit signed integer.
long 64-bit signed integer.
float single precision (32-bit) IEEE 754 floating-point number.
double double precision (64-bit) IEEE 754 floating-point number.
bytes sequence of 8-bit unsigned bytes.
string Unicode character sequence.

Complex Data Types of Avro

Along with primitive data types, Avro provides six complex data types namely Records, Enums, Arrays, Maps, Unions, and Fixed.


As we know already by now, a record data type in Avro is a collection of multiple attributes. It supports the following attributes −

  • name

  • namespace

  • type

  • fields


An enumeration is a list of items in a collection, Avro enumeration supports the following attributes −

  • name − The value of this field holds the name of the enumeration.

  • namespace − The value of this field contains the string that qualifies the name of the Enumeration.

  • symbols − The value of this field holds the enum's symbols as an array of names.


Given below is the example of an enumeration.

   "type" : "enum",
   "name" : "Numbers", "namespace": "data", "symbols" : [ "ONE", "TWO", "THREE", "FOUR" ]


This data type defines an array field having a single attribute items. This items attribute specifies the type of items in the array.


{ " type " : " array ", " items " : " int " }


The map data type is an array of key-value pairs. The values attribute holds the data type of the content of map. Avro map values are implicitly taken as strings. The below example shows map from string to int.


{"type" : "map", "values" : "int"}


A union datatype is used whenever the field has one or more datatypes. They are represented as JSON arrays. For example, if a field that could be either an int or null, then the union is represented as ["int", "null"].


Given below is an example document using unions −

   "type" : "record", 
   "namespace" : "tutorialspoint", 
   "name" : "empdetails ", 
   "fields" : 
      { "name" : "experience", "type": ["int", "null"] }, { "name" : "age", "type": "int" } 


This data type is used to declare a fixed-sized field that can be used for storing binary data. It has field name and data as attributes. Name holds the name of the field, and size holds the size of the field.


{ "type" : "fixed" , "name" : "bdata", "size" : 1048576}