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6.13. Miscellaneous Functions

Table 6-27 shows several functions that extract session and system information.

Table 6-27. Session Information Functions

Name Return Type Description
current_database() name name of current database
current_schema() name name of current schema
current_schemas(boolean) name[] names of schemas in search path optionally including implicit schemas
current_user name user name of current execution context
session_user name session user name
user name equivalent to current_user
version() text PostgreSQL version information

The session_user is the user that initiated a database connection; it is fixed for the duration of that connection. The current_user is the user identifier that is applicable for permission checking. Normally, it is equal to the session user, but it changes during the execution of functions with the attribute SECURITY DEFINER. In Unix parlance, the session user is the "real user" and the current user is the "effective user".

Note: current_user, session_user, and user have special syntactic status in SQL: they must be called without trailing parentheses.

current_schema returns the name of the schema that is at the front of the search path (or a null value if the search path is empty). This is the schema that will be used for any tables or other named objects that are created without specifying a target schema. current_schemas(boolean) returns an array of the names of all schemas presently in the search path. The boolean option determines whether or not implicitly included system schemas such as pg_catalog are included in the search path returned.

The search path may be altered by a run-time setting. The command to use is SET SEARCH_PATH 'schema'[,'schema']...

version() returns a string describing the PostgreSQL server's version.

Table 6-28 shows the functions available to query and alter run-time configuration parameters.

Table 6-28. Configuration Settings Information Functions

Name Return Type Description
current_setting(setting_name) text value of current setting
set_config(setting_name, new_value, is_local) text new value of current setting

The current_setting is used to obtain the current value of the setting_name setting, as a query result. It is the equivalent to the SQL SHOW command. For example:

select current_setting('DateStyle');
            current_setting
---------------------------------------
 ISO with US (NonEuropean) conventions
(1 row)

set_config allows the setting_name setting to be changed to new_value. If is_local is set to true, the new value will only apply to the current transaction. If you want the new value to apply for the current session, use false instead. It is the equivalent to the SQL SET command. For example:

select set_config('show_statement_stats','off','f');
 set_config
------------
 off
(1 row)

Table 6-29 lists functions that allow the user to query object access privileges programmatically. See Section 2.7 for more information about privileges.

Table 6-29. Access Privilege Inquiry Functions

Name Return Type Description
has_table_privilege(user, table, access) boolean does user have access to table
has_table_privilege(table, access) boolean does current user have access to table
has_database_privilege(user, database, access) boolean does user have access to database
has_database_privilege(database, access) boolean does current user have access to database
has_function_privilege(user, function, access) boolean does user have access to function
has_function_privilege(function, access) boolean does current user have access to function
has_language_privilege(user, language, access) boolean does user have access to language
has_language_privilege(language, access) boolean does current user have access to language
has_schema_privilege(user, schema, access) boolean does user have access to schema
has_schema_privilege(schema, access) boolean does current user have access to schema

has_table_privilege checks whether a user can access a table in a particular way. The user can be specified by name or by ID (pg_user.usesysid), or if the argument is omitted current_user is assumed. The table can be specified by name or by OID. (Thus, there are actually six variants of has_table_privilege, which can be distinguished by the number and types of their arguments.) When specifying by name, the name can be schema-qualified if necessary. The desired access type is specified by a text string, which must evaluate to one of the values SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, RULE, REFERENCES, or TRIGGER. (Case of the string is not significant, however.) An example is:

SELECT has_table_privilege('myschema.mytable', 'select');

has_database_privilege checks whether a user can access a database in a particular way. The possibilities for its arguments are analogous to has_table_privilege. The desired access type must evaluate to CREATE, TEMPORARY, or TEMP (which is equivalent to TEMPORARY).

has_function_privilege checks whether a user can access a function in a particular way. The possibilities for its arguments are analogous to has_table_privilege. When specifying a function by a text string rather than by OID, the allowed input is the same as for the regprocedure data type. The desired access type must currently evaluate to EXECUTE.

has_language_privilege checks whether a user can access a procedural language in a particular way. The possibilities for its arguments are analogous to has_table_privilege. The desired access type must currently evaluate to USAGE.

has_schema_privilege checks whether a user can access a schema in a particular way. The possibilities for its arguments are analogous to has_table_privilege. The desired access type must evaluate to CREATE or USAGE.

Table 6-30 shows functions that determine whether a certain object is visible in the current schema search path. A table is said to be visible if its containing schema is in the search path and no table of the same name appears earlier in the search path. This is equivalent to the statement that the table can be referenced by name without explicit schema qualification. For example, to list the names of all visible tables:

SELECT relname FROM pg_class WHERE pg_table_is_visible(oid);

Table 6-30. Schema Visibility Inquiry Functions

Name Return Type Description
pg_table_is_visible(tableOID) boolean is table visible in search path
pg_type_is_visible(typeOID) boolean is type visible in search path
pg_function_is_visible(functionOID) boolean is function visible in search path
pg_operator_is_visible(operatorOID) boolean is operator visible in search path
pg_opclass_is_visible(opclassOID) boolean is operator class visible in search path

pg_table_is_visible performs the check for tables (or views, or any other kind of pg_class entry). pg_type_is_visible, pg_function_is_visible, pg_operator_is_visible, and pg_opclass_is_visible perform the same sort of visibility check for types, functions, operators, and operator classes, respectively. For functions and operators, an object in the search path is visible if there is no object of the same name and argument data type(s) earlier in the path. For operator classes, both name and associated index access method are considered.

All these functions require object OIDs to identify the object to be checked. If you want to test an object by name, it is convenient to use the OID alias types (regclass, regtype, regprocedure, or regoperator), for example

SELECT pg_type_is_visible('myschema.widget'::regtype);

Note that it would not make much sense to test an unqualified name in this way --- if the name can be recognized at all, it must be visible.

Table 6-31 lists functions that extract information from the system catalogs. pg_get_viewdef(), pg_get_ruledef(), pg_get_indexdef(), and pg_get_constraintdef() respectively reconstruct the creating command for a view, rule, index, or constraint. (Note that this is a decompiled reconstruction, not the verbatim text of the command.) At present pg_get_constraintdef() only works for foreign-key constraints. pg_get_userbyid() extracts a user's name given a usesysid value.

Table 6-31. Catalog Information Functions

Name Return Type Description
pg_get_viewdef(viewname) text Get CREATE VIEW command for view (deprecated)
pg_get_viewdef(viewOID) text Get CREATE VIEW command for view
pg_get_ruledef(ruleOID) text Get CREATE RULE command for rule
pg_get_indexdef(indexOID) text Get CREATE INDEX command for index
pg_get_constraintdef(constraintOID) text Get definition of a constraint
pg_get_userbyid(userid) name Get user name with given ID

The function shown in Table 6-32 extract comments previously stored with the COMMENT command. A null value is returned if no comment can be found matching the specified parameters.

Table 6-32. Comment Information Functions

Name Return Type Description
obj_description(objectOID, tablename) text Get comment for a database object
obj_description(objectOID) text Get comment for a database object (deprecated)
col_description(tableOID, columnnumber) text Get comment for a table column

The two-parameter form of obj_description() returns the comment for a database object specified by its OID and the name of the containing system catalog. For example, obj_description(123456,'pg_class') would retrieve the comment for a table with OID 123456. The one-parameter form of obj_description() requires only the object OID. It is now deprecated since there is no guarantee that OIDs are unique across different system catalogs; therefore, the wrong comment could be returned.

col_description() returns the comment for a table column, which is specified by the OID of its table and its column number. obj_description() cannot be used for table columns since columns do not have OIDs of their own.

Comments


Jan. 21, 2003, 4:10 a.m.

To discover the SQL forms of the back-slash commands, start psql with the -E switch (Display queryies that internal commands generate). Then when you use a command like \dt psql will display the following:

SELECT c.relname as "Name",
CASE c.relkind WHEN 'r' THEN 'table' WHEN 'v' THEN 'view' WHEN 'i' THEN 'index' WHEN 'S' THEN 'sequence' WHEN 's' THEN 'special' END as "Type",
u.usename as "Owner"
FROM pg_class c LEFT JOIN pg_user u ON c.relowner = u.usesysid
WHERE c.relkind IN ('r','')
AND c.relname !~ '^pg_'
ORDER BY 1;

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