Apache Spark Python - Processing Column Data - Common String Manipulation Functions

This article provides a comprehensive explanation of common string manipulation functions using Pyspark. It covers topics like concatenating strings, case conversion, and length functions with practical examples. The step-by-step guide and hands-on tasks help readers understand and apply these concepts effectively.

In this section, we will delve into the key concepts of common string manipulation functions using PySpark.

Concatenating Strings

The concat function in PySpark is used to concatenate strings. We can pass a variable number of strings to the concat function, and it will return a single string concatenating all the strings. If we need to concatenate a literal in between strings, we can use the lit function.

from pyspark.sql.functions import concat, lit

# Example of concatenating strings
employeesDF.withColumn("full_name", concat("first_name", "last_name")).show()

Case Conversion and Length

PySpark provides functions for case conversion and length calculation of strings. Here are some common functions:

  • upper: Convert all alphabetic characters in a string to uppercase.
  • lower: Convert all alphabetic characters in a string to lowercase.
  • initcap: Convert the first character in a string to uppercase.
  • length: Get the number of characters in a string.
from pyspark.sql.functions import col, upper, lower, initcap, length

# Applying case conversion and length functions to the 'nationality' column
employeesDF.withColumn("nationality_upper", upper(col("nationality"))). \
            withColumn("nationality_lower", lower(col("nationality"))). \
            withColumn("nationality_initcap", initcap(col("nationality"))). \
            withColumn("nationality_length", length(col("nationality"))).show()

Watch the video tutorial here

In this video tutorial, we will walk through the common string manipulation functions using PySpark for data processing. The video provides visual aids and practical examples to help illustrate and reinforce the concepts discussed in the article.

Hands-On Tasks

Here are a few hands-on tasks for you to practice and implement the concepts discussed:

  1. Create a new column ‘full_name’ by concatenating ‘first_name’ and ‘last_name’ in a Data Frame.
  2. Add a comma followed by a space between ‘first_name’ and ‘last_name’ in the ‘full_name’ column.
  3. Apply case conversion functions (upper, lower, initcap) and length function to the ‘nationality’ column in a Data Frame.


In conclusion, this article has provided an in-depth explanation of common string manipulation functions using PySpark. By practicing the hands-on tasks and engaging with the community, readers can enhance their understanding and proficiency in working with string data in PySpark. Join the community and continue your learning journey!