I am facing the same issue, i tried this but getting compilation error for the "$" in the explode function

So, I had to modify to the below to make it work.

df.select(explode(new Column("entities.user_mentions")).as("mention"))

On Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 2:48 PM, Michael Armbrust <michael@databricks.com> wrote:
Starting in Spark 1.4 there is also an explode that you can use directly from the select clause (much like in HiveQL):

import org.apache.spark.sql.functions._

Unlike standard HiveQL, you can also include other attributes in the select or even $"*".

On Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 8:34 AM, Yin Huai <yhuai@databricks.com> wrote:
The function accepted by explode is f: Row => TraversableOnce[A]. Seems user_mentions is an array of structs. So, can you change your pattern matching to the following?

case Row(rows: Seq[_]) => rows.asInstanceOf[Seq[Row]].map(elem => ...)

On Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 5:27 AM, Gustavo Arjones <garjones@socialmetrix.com> wrote:

Hi All,

I am using the new Apache Spark version 1.4.0 Data-frames API to extract information from Twitter's Status JSON, mostly focused on the Entities Object - the relevant part to this question is showed below:

  "entities": {
    "hashtags": [],
    "trends": [],
    "urls": [],
    "user_mentions": [
        "screen_name": "linobocchini",
        "name": "Lino Bocchini",
        "id": 187356243,
        "id_str": "187356243",
        "indices": [ 3, 16 ]
        "screen_name": "jeanwyllys_real",
        "name": "Jean Wyllys",
        "id": 111123176,
        "id_str": "111123176",
        "indices": [ 79, 95 ]
    "symbols": []

There are several examples on how extract information from primitives types as stringinteger, etc - but I couldn't find anything on how to process those kind of complex structures.

I tried the code below but it is still doesn't work, it throws an Exception

val sqlContext = new org.apache.spark.sql.hive.HiveContext(sc)

val tweets = sqlContext.read.json("tweets.json")

// this function is just to filter empty entities.user_mentions[] nodes
// some tweets doesn't contains any mentions
import org.apache.spark.sql.functions.udf
val isEmpty = udf((value: List[Any]) => value.isEmpty)

import org.apache.spark.sql._
import sqlContext.implicits._
case class UserMention(id: Long, idStr: String, indices: Array[Long], name: String, screenName: String)

val mentions = tweets.select("entities.user_mentions").
  explode($"user_mentions") {
  case Row(arr: Array[Row]) => arr.map { elem =>


Exception when I try to call mentions.first:

scala>     mentions.first
15/06/23 22:15:06 ERROR Executor: Exception in task 0.0 in stage 5.0 (TID 8)
scala.MatchError: [List([187356243,187356243,List(3, 16),Lino Bocchini,linobocchini], [111123176,111123176,List(79, 95),Jean Wyllys,jeanwyllys_real])] (of class org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.expressions.GenericRowWithSchema)
    at $line37.$read$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$anonfun$1.apply(<console>:34)
    at $line37.$read$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$iwC$$anonfun$1.apply(<console>:34)
    at scala.Function1$$anonfun$andThen$1.apply(Function1.scala:55)
    at org.apache.spark.sql.catalyst.expressions.UserDefinedGenerator.eval(generators.scala:81)

What is wrong here? I understand it is related to the types but I couldn't figure out it yet.

As additional context, the structure mapped automatically is:

scala> mentions.printSchema
 |-- user_mentions: array (nullable = true)
 |    |-- element: struct (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- id: long (nullable = true)
 |    |    |-- id_str: string (nullable = true)
 |    |    |-- indices: array (nullable = true)
 |    |    |    |-- element: long (containsNull = true)
 |    |    |-- name: string (nullable = true)
 |    |    |-- screen_name: string (nullable = true)

NOTE 1: I know it is possible to solve this using HiveQL but I would like to use Data-frames once there is so much momentum around it.

SELECT explode(entities.user_mentions) as mentions
FROM tweets

NOTE 2: the UDF val isEmpty = udf((value: List[Any]) => value.isEmpty) is a ugly hack and I'm missing something here, but was the only way I came up to avoid a NPE

Thanks all!
- gustavo