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50.2. Foreign Data Wrapper Callback Routines

The FDW handler function returns a palloc'd FdwRoutine struct containing pointers to the following callback functions:

FdwPlan *
PlanForeignScan (Oid foreigntableid,
                 PlannerInfo *root,
                 RelOptInfo *baserel);

Plan a scan on a foreign table. This is called when a query is planned. foreigntableid is the pg_class OID of the foreign table. root is the planner's global information about the query, and baserel is the planner's information about this table. The function must return a palloc'd struct that contains cost estimates plus any FDW-private information that is needed to execute the foreign scan at a later time. (Note that the private information must be represented in a form that copyObject knows how to copy.)

The information in root and baserel can be used to reduce the amount of information that has to be fetched from the foreign table (and therefore reduce the cost estimate). baserel->baserestrictinfo is particularly interesting, as it contains restriction quals (WHERE clauses) that can be used to filter the rows to be fetched. (The FDW is not required to enforce these quals, as the finished plan will recheck them anyway.) baserel->reltargetlist can be used to determine which columns need to be fetched.

In addition to returning cost estimates, the function should update baserel->rows to be the expected number of rows returned by the scan, after accounting for the filtering done by the restriction quals. The initial value of baserel->rows is just a constant default estimate, which should be replaced if at all possible. The function may also choose to update baserel->width if it can compute a better estimate of the average result row width.

void
ExplainForeignScan (ForeignScanState *node,
                    ExplainState *es);

Print additional EXPLAIN output for a foreign table scan. This can just return if there is no need to print anything. Otherwise, it should call ExplainPropertyText and related functions to add fields to the EXPLAIN output. The flag fields in es can be used to determine what to print, and the state of the ForeignScanState node can be inspected to provide runtime statistics in the EXPLAIN ANALYZE case.

void
BeginForeignScan (ForeignScanState *node,
                  int eflags);

Begin executing a foreign scan. This is called during executor startup. It should perform any initialization needed before the scan can start, but not start executing the actual scan (that should be done upon the first call to IterateForeignScan). The ForeignScanState node has already been created, but its fdw_state field is still NULL. Information about the table to scan is accessible through the ForeignScanState node (in particular, from the underlying ForeignScan plan node, which contains a pointer to the FdwPlan structure returned by PlanForeignScan).

Note that when (eflags & EXEC_FLAG_EXPLAIN_ONLY) is true, this function should not perform any externally-visible actions; it should only do the minimum required to make the node state valid for ExplainForeignScan and EndForeignScan.

TupleTableSlot *
IterateForeignScan (ForeignScanState *node);

Fetch one row from the foreign source, returning it in a tuple table slot (the node's ScanTupleSlot should be used for this purpose). Return NULL if no more rows are available. The tuple table slot infrastructure allows either a physical or virtual tuple to be returned; in most cases the latter choice is preferable from a performance standpoint. Note that this is called in a short-lived memory context that will be reset between invocations. Create a memory context in BeginForeignScan if you need longer-lived storage, or use the es_query_cxt of the node's EState.

The rows returned must match the column signature of the foreign table being scanned. If you choose to optimize away fetching columns that are not needed, you should insert nulls in those column positions.

Note that PostgreSQL's executor doesn't care whether the rows returned violate the NOT NULL constraints which were defined on the foreign table columns - but the planner does care, and may optimize queries incorrectly if NULL values are present in a column declared not to contain them. If a NULL value is encountered when the user has declared that none should be present, it may be appropriate to raise an error (just as you would need to do in the case of a data type mismatch).

void
ReScanForeignScan (ForeignScanState *node);

Restart the scan from the beginning. Note that any parameters the scan depends on may have changed value, so the new scan does not necessarily return exactly the same rows.

void
EndForeignScan (ForeignScanState *node);

End the scan and release resources. It is normally not important to release palloc'd memory, but for example open files and connections to remote servers should be cleaned up.

The FdwRoutine and FdwPlan struct types are declared in src/include/foreign/fdwapi.h, which see for additional details.

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