Cody Koeninger commented on SPARK-17812:

So I think this is what we're agreed on:

Mutually exclusive subscription options (only assign is new to this ticket)
.option("assign","""{"topicfoo": [0, 1],"topicbar": [0, 1]}""")

where assign can only be specified that way, no inline offsets

Single starting position option with three mutually exclusive types of value
.option("startingOffsets", "earliest" | "latest" | """{"topicFoo": {"0": 1234, 
"1": -2}, "topicBar":{"0": -1}}""")

startingOffsets with json fails if any topicpartition in the assignments 
doesn't have an offset.

Sound right?

I'll go ahead and start on it.  I'm assuming I should try to reuse some of the 
existing catalyst Jackson stuff and keep in mind a format that's potentially 
usable by the checkpoints as well?

I don't think earliest / latest is too unclear as long as there's a way to get 
to the other knobs that auto.offset.reset (should have) provided. Punting the 
tunability of new partitions to another ticket sounds good.  

> More granular control of starting offsets (assign)
> --------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: SPARK-17812
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/SPARK-17812
>             Project: Spark
>          Issue Type: Sub-task
>          Components: SQL
>            Reporter: Michael Armbrust
>            Assignee: Cody Koeninger
> Right now you can only run a Streaming Query starting from either the 
> earliest or latests offsets available at the moment the query is started.  
> Sometimes this is a lot of data.  It would be nice to be able to do the 
> following:
>  - seek to user specified offsets for manually specified topicpartitions

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