PostgreSQL has a lot of built-in functions, such as Trigonometric Functions, String Functions, IP address functions, etc. But we’re not limited by built-in functions. PostgreSQL (as well as other RDBMS) allows creating custom functions. In this tutorial we will take a look at user-defined functions.
PostgreSQL supports the following programming languages for writing functions:
- some other languages
Create functions with PL/pgSQL
Functions written in PL/pgSQL can contain a variable declaration, conditional and looping constructions, exception handling and so on. PL/pgSQL is a block-structured and case-insensitive language.
Base syntax for creating functions in PostgreSQL looks into the following way:
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION function_name (arguments) RETURNS r_type AS $$ DECLARE declarations BEGIN statements END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION - creates a new function named by
function_name in case when such function doesn’t exists,
otherwise replaces the existing function.
arguments - is a list of function’s arguments. Functions can have zero or more parameters(arguments). We may specify only
parameter type, e.g.
(int4, varchar(40)). In that case within a function body, the parameters of the function are referred to
$1, $2,.. and so on, in the order they are defined. But we also can specify parameters names together with its
(price int4, name varchar(40)).
RETURNS - returned data type from the function. In our case
r_type is specified type which will be returned from the
DECLARE declarations; - is a declaration section, which contains the variables names and its data types.
BEGIN Statement; - is a statement section which is the main body of the function. It may contain unlimited nested sub-blocks (
with DECLARE, BEGIN, END sections).
END - finishes the statement block.
BEGIN/END sections doesn’t start or stop transactions. It’s used for grouping blocks of code.
Let’s assume we have a table
which has the following columns:
vehicle_id - vehicle's ID make - vehicle's make model - vehicle's model price - vehicle's price in $
Now let’s create a function which accepts desired price as a parameter and prints the amount of vehicles with price lower than or equals to desired price:
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION getCheapVehicleCount(desiredPrice INTEGER) RETURNS INTEGER AS $$ DECLARE total INTEGER; BEGIN SELECT count(*) INTO total FROM vehicle v WHERE v.price <= desiredPrice; RETURN total; END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;
Now let’s create a simple table
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS vehicle; CREATE TABLE vehicle ( vehicle_id SERIAL NOT NULL, make VARCHAR(100) NOT NULL, model VARCHAR(100) NOT NULL, price NUMERIC(5) NOT NULL );
and fill in it with the test data:
INSERT INTO vehicle (make, model, price) VALUES ('Toyota', 'Camry', 25560); INSERT INTO vehicle (make, model, price) VALUES ('Audi', 'A4', 42825); INSERT INTO vehicle (make, model, price) VALUES ('Acura', 'ILX', 30840); INSERT INTO vehicle (make, model, price) VALUES ('BMW', '5 Series ', 67470);
For verification let’s find how many vehicles have price less or equals to 30000$:
The output will look into the following way:
Return multiple rows from the function
Let’s assume we need a function which returns a list of vehicles that have price lower than or equals to desired price. Such function will look into the following way:
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION getCheapVehicles(desiredPrice INTEGER) RETURNS TABLE (id int, make VARCHAR(100), model VARCHAR(100), price NUMERIC(5)) AS $$ BEGIN RETURN QUERY SELECT * FROM vehicle v WHERE v.price <= desiredPrice; END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;
If we call the function
getCheapVehicles into the following way:
SELECT * FROM getCheapVehicles(40000);
We’ll get the following output:
In case when we call
getCheapVehicles function without
* FROM we’ll get the following output:
When we call a function which doesn’t return any result or we don’t need the returned result we may discard result by
More detailed information about functions in PostgreSQL could be found in official documentation here: CREATE FUNCTION.