Incompatible changes in ArangoDB 3.11

Check the following list of potential breaking changes before upgrading to this ArangoDB version and adjust any client applications if necessary

Active Failover deployment mode deprecation

Running a single server with asynchronous replication to one or more passive single servers for automatic failover is deprecated and will no longer be supported in the next minor version of ArangoDB, from v3.12 onward.

Extended naming constraints for collections, Views, and indexes

In ArangoDB 3.9, the --database.extended-names-databases startup option was added to optionally allow database names to contain most UTF-8 characters. The startup option has been renamed to --database.extended-names in 3.11 and now controls whether you want to use the extended naming constraints for database, collection, View, and index names.

The old --database.extended-names-databases startup option should no longer be used, but if you do, it behaves the same as the new --database.extended-names option.

The feature is disabled by default to ensure compatibility with existing client drivers and applications that only support ASCII names according to the traditional naming constraints used in previous ArangoDB versions.

If the feature is enabled, then any endpoints that contain database, collection, View, or index names in the URL may contain special characters that were previously not allowed (percent-encoded). They are also to be expected in payloads that contain database, collection, View, or index names, as well as document identifiers (because they are comprised of the collection name and the document key). If client applications assemble URLs with extended names programmatically, they need to ensure that extended names are properly URL-encoded.

When using extended names, any Unicode characters in names need to be NFC-normalized . If you try to create a database, collection, View, or index with a non-NFC-normalized name, the server rejects it.

The ArangoDB web interface as well as the arangobench, arangodump, arangoexport, arangoimport, arangorestore, and arangosh client tools ship with support for the extended naming constraints, but they require you to provide NFC-normalized names.

Please be aware that dumps containing extended names cannot be restored into older versions that only support the traditional naming constraints. In a cluster setup, it is required to use the same naming constraints for all Coordinators and DB-Servers of the cluster. Otherwise, the startup is refused. In DC2DC setups, it is also required to use the same naming constraints for both datacenters to avoid incompatibilities.

Also see:

AQL user-defined functions (UDF)

AQL user-defined functions (UDFs) cannot be used inside traversal PRUNE conditions nor inside FILTER conditions that can be moved into the traversal execution on DB-Servers. This limitation also applies to single servers to keep the differences to cluster deployments minimal.

Stricter validation of Unicode surrogate values in JSON data

ArangoDB 3.11 employs a stricter validation of Unicode surrogate pairs in incoming JSON data, for all REST APIs.

In previous versions, the following loopholes existed when validating UTF-8 surrogate pairs in incoming JSON data:

  • a high surrogate, followed by something other than a low surrogate (or the end of the string)
  • a low surrogate, not preceded by a high surrogate

These validation loopholes have been closed in 3.11, which means that any JSON inputs containing such invalid surrogate pair data are rejected by the server.

This is normally the desired behavior, as it helps invalid data from entering the database. However, in situations when a database is known to contain invalid data and must continue supporting it (at least temporarily), the extended validation can be disabled by setting the server startup option --server.validate-utf8-strings to false. This is not recommended long-term, but only during upgrading or data cleanup.

Restriction of indexable fields

It is now forbidden to create indexes that cover fields whose attribute names start or end with : , for example, fields: ["value:"]. This notation is reserved for internal use.

Existing indexes are not affected but you cannot create new indexes with a preceding or trailing colon.

Write-write conflict improvements

Writes to the same document in quick succession can result in write-write conflicts, requiring you to retry the operations. In v3.11, single document operations via the HTTP Interface for Documents try to avoid conflicts by locking the key of the document before performing the modification. This serializes the write operations on the same document. The behavior of AQL queries, Stream Transactions, and multi-document operations remains unchanged.

It is still possible for write-write conflicts to occur, and in these cases the reported error is now slightly different.

The lock acquisition on the key of the document that is supposed to be inserted/modified has a hard-coded timeout of 1 second. If the lock cannot be acquired, the error message is as follows:

Timeout waiting to lock key - in index primary of type primary over '_key'; conflicting key: <key>

The <key> corresponds to the document key of the write attempt. In addition, the error object contains _key, _id, and _rev attributes. The _key and _id correspond to the document of the write attempt, and _rev corresponds to the current revision of the document as stored in the database (if available, otherwise empty).

If the lock cannot be acquired on a unique index entry, the error message is as follows:

Timeout waiting to lock key - in index <indexName> of type persistent over '<fields>'; document key: <key>; indexed values: [<values>]

The <indexName> is the name of the index in which the write attempt tried to lock the entry, <fields> is the list of fields included in that index, <key> corresponds to the document key of the write attempt, and <values> corresponds to the indexed values of the document. In addition, the error object contains _key, _id, and _rev attributes. The _key and _id correspond to the document of the write attempt, and _rev corresponds to the current revision of the document as stored in the database (if available, otherwise empty).

Deprecated and removed Pregel features

  • The experimental Custom Pregel feature, also known as programmable Pregel algorithms (PPA), has been removed.

  • The built-in DMID Pregel algorithm has been deprecated and will be removed in a future release.

  • The async option for Pregel jobs has been removed. Some algorithms supported an asynchronous mode to run without synchronized global iterations. This is no longer supported.

  • The useMemoryMaps option for Pregel jobs to use memory-mapped files as a backing storage for large datasets has been removed. Memory paging/swapping provided by the operating system is equally effective.

New query stage

  • When profiling a query (profile option true, 1, or 2), the profile object returned under extra now includes a new "instantiating executors" attribute with the time needed to create the query executors, and in cluster mode, this also includes the time needed for physically distributing the query snippets to the participating DB-Servers. Previously, the time spent for instantiating executors and the physical distribution was contained in the optimizing plan stage.

  • The state of a query can now additionally be "instantiating executors" in the list of currently running queries.

Limit for the normalization of FILTER conditions

Converting complex AQL FILTER conditions with a lot of logical branches (AND, OR, NOT) into the internal DNF (disjunctive normal form) format can take a large amount of processing time and memory. The new maxDNFConditionMembers query option is a threshold for the maximum number of OR sub-nodes in the internal representation and defaults to 786432.

You can also set the threshold globally instead of per query with the --query.max-dnf-condition-members startup option.

If the threshold is hit, the query continues with a simplified representation of the condition, which is not usable in index lookups. However, this should still be better than overusing memory or taking a very long time to compute the DNF version.

Validation of smartGraphAttribute in SmartGraphs

Introduced in: v3.10.13, v3.11.7

The attribute defined by the smartGraphAttribute graph property is not allowed to be changed in the documents of SmartGraph vertex collections. This is now strictly enforced. See API Changes in ArangoDB 3.11 for details and instructions on how to repair affected attributes.

Validation of traversal collection restrictions

Introduced in: v3.9.11, v3.10.7

In AQL graph traversals, you can restrict the vertex and edge collections in the traversal options like so:

FOR v, e, p IN 1..3 OUTBOUND 'products/123' components
    vertexCollections: [ "bolts", "screws" ],
    edgeCollections: [ "productsToBolts", "productsToScrews" ]

If you specify collections that don’t exist, queries now fail with a “collection or view not found” error (code 1203 and HTTP status 404 Not Found). In previous versions, unknown vertex collections were ignored, and the behavior for unknown edge collections was undefined.

Additionally, the collection types are now validated. If a document collection or View is specified in edgeCollections, an error is raised (code 1218 and HTTP status 400 Bad Request).

Furthermore, it is now an error if you specify a vertex collection that is not part of the specified named graph (code 1926 and HTTP status 404 Not Found). It is also an error if you specify an edge collection that is not part of the named graph’s definition or of the list of edge collections (code 1939 and HTTP status 400 Bad Request).

Batch insertions of documents with key errors no longer fail the entire operation

Introduced in: v3.11.1

When inserting multiple documents/edges at once in a cluster, the Document API used to let the entire request fail if any of the documents/edges failed to be saved due to a key error. More specifically, if the value of a _key attribute contains illegal characters or if the key doesn’t meet additional requirements, for instance, coming from the collection being used in a Disjoint SmartGraph, the POST /_api/document/{collection} endpoint would not reply with the usual array of either the document metadata or the error object for each attempted document insertion. Instead, it used to return an error object for the first offending document only, and aborted the operation so that none of the documents were saved. Example:

> curl -d '[{"_key":"valid"},{"_key":"invalid space"}]' http://localhost:8529/_api/document/coll
{"code":400,"error":true,"errorMessage":"illegal document key","errorNum":1221}

> curl http://localhost:8529/_api/document/coll/valid
{"code":404,"error":true,"errorMessage":"document not found","errorNum":1202}

Now, such key errors in cluster deployments no longer fail the entire request, matching the behavior of single server deployments. Any errors are reported in the result array for the respective documents, along with the successful ones:

> curl -d '[{"_key":"valid"},{"_key":"invalid space"}]' http://localhost:8529/_api/document/coll
[{"_id":"coll/valid","_key":"valid","_rev":"_gG9JHsW---"},{"error":true,"errorNum":1221,"errorMessage":"illegal document key"}]

> curl http://localhost:8529/_api/document/coll/valid

Exit code adjustments

Introduced in: v3.10.13, v3.11.7

For some fatal errors like a required database upgrade or a failed version check, arangod set the generic exit code of 1. It now returns a different, more specific exit code in these cases.

Batch-reading an empty list of documents succeeds

Introduced in: v3.11.1

Using the Document API for reading multiple documents used to return an error if the request body was an empty array. Example:

> curl -XPUT -d '[]' 'http://localhost:8529/_api/document/coll?onlyget=true'
{"code":500,"error":true,"errorMessage":"internal error","errorNum":4}

Now, a request like this succeeds and returns an empty array as response.

JavaScript API

Database creation

The db._createDatabase() method for creating a new database has changed. If the specified database name is invalid/illegal, it now returns the error code 1208 (ERROR_ARANGO_ILLEGAL_NAME). It previously returned 1229 (ERROR_ARANGO_DATABASE_NAME_INVALID) in this case.

This is a downwards-incompatible change, but unifies the behavior for database creation with the behavior of collection and View creation, which also return the error code 1208 in case the specified name is not allowed.

Index methods

Calling collection.dropIndex(...) or db._dropIndex(...) now raises an error if the specified index does not exist or cannot be dropped (for example, because it is a primary index or edge index). The methods previously returned false. In case of success, they still return true.

You can wrap calls to these methods with a try { ... } block to catch errors, for example, in arangosh or in Foxx services.

Startup options

--server.disable-authentication and --server.disable-authentication-unix-sockets obsoleted

The --server.disable-authentication and --server.disable-authentication-unix-sockets startup options are now obsolete. Specifying them is still tolerated but has no effect anymore. These options were deprecated in v3.0 and mapped to --server.authentication and --server.authentication-unix-sockets, which made them do the opposite of what their names suggest.

--database.force-sync-properties deprecated

The --database.force-sync-properties option was useful with the MMFiles storage engine, which has been removed in v3.7. The option does not have any useful effect if you use the RocksDB storage engine. From v3.11.0 onwards, it has no effect at all, is deprecated, and will be removed in a future version.

--agency.pool-size deprecated

The --agency.pool-size option was effectively not properly supported in any version of ArangoDB. Setting the option to anything but the value of --agency.size should be avoided.

From v3.11.0 onwards, this option is deprecated, and setting it to a value different than the value of --agency.size leads to a startup error.

--query.parallelize-gather-writes obsoleted

Parallel gather is now enabled by default and supported for most queries. The --query.parallelize-gather-writes startup option has no effect anymore, but specifying it still tolerated.

See Features and Improvements in ArangoDB 3.11 for details.

--pregel.memory-mapped-files* obsoleted

Pregel no longer supports use memory-mapped files as a backing storage. The following startup options have therefore been removed:

  • --pregel.memory-mapped-files
  • --pregel.memory-mapped-files-custom-path
  • --pregel.memory-mapped-files-location-type

You can still specify them on startup without raising errors but they have no effect anymore.

Client tools


The default output file type produced by arangoexport, controlled by the --type startup option, has been changed from json to jsonl. This allows for more efficient processing of the files produced by arangoexport with other tools, such as arangoimport, by default.