Benjamin Reed commented on ZOOKEEPER-423:

we should keep in mind that someday we may have a partitioned namespace. when 
that happens some of these options would be hard/very expensive/blocking. NAME 
of course is easy. the client can always do this. when the creation happens, we 
can store the xid with the child's name in the parent data structure since it 
doesn't change, so CREATED is reasonable. MODIFIED and DATA_SIZE is more 
problematic/seemingly impossible in the presence of a namespace partition.

> Add getFirstChild API
> ---------------------
>                 Key: ZOOKEEPER-423
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/ZOOKEEPER-423
>             Project: Zookeeper
>          Issue Type: New Feature
>          Components: contrib-bindings, documentation, java client, server
>            Reporter: Henry Robinson
> When building the distributed queue for my tutorial blog post, it was pointed 
> out to me that there's a serious inefficiency here. 
> Informally, the items in the queue are created as sequential nodes. For a 
> 'dequeue' call, all items are retrieved and sorted by name by the client in 
> order to find the name of the next item to try and take. This costs O( n ) 
> bandwidth and O(n.log n) sorting time - per dequeue call! Clearly this 
> doesn't scale very well. 
> If the servers were able to maintain a data structure that allowed them to 
> efficiently retrieve the children of a node in order of the zxid that created 
> them this would make successful dequeue operations O( 1 ) at the cost of O( n 
> ) memory on the server (to maintain, e.g. a singly-linked list as a queue). 
> This is a win if it is generally true that clients only want the first child 
> in creation order, rather than the whole set. 
> We could expose this to the client via this API: getFirstChild(handle, path, 
> name_buffer, watcher) which would have much the same semantics as 
> getChildren, but only return one znode name. 
> Sequential nodes would still allow the ordering of znodes to be made 
> explicitly available to the client in one RPC should it need it. Although: 
> since this ordering would now be available cheaply for every set of children, 
> it's not completely clear that there would be that many use cases left for 
> sequential nodes if this API was augmented with a getChildrenInCreationOrder 
> call. However, that's for a different discussion. 
> A halfway-house alternative with more flexibility is to add an 'order' 
> parameter to getFirstChild and have the server compute the first child 
> according to the requested order (creation time, update time, lexicographical 
> order). This saves bandwidth at the expense of increased server load, 
> although servers can be implemented to spend memory on pre-computing commonly 
> requested orders. I am only in favour of this approach if servers maintain a 
> data-structure for every possible order, and then the memory implications 
> need careful consideration.
> [edit - JIRA interprets ( n ) without the spaces as a thumbs-down. cute.]

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