If you execute SQL commands in your trigger function, and these commands access the table that the trigger is for, then you need to be aware of the data visibility rules, because they determine whether these SQL commands will see the data change that the trigger is fired for. Briefly:
Statement-level triggers follow simple visibility rules: none of the changes made by a statement are visible to statement-level
BEFORE triggers, whereas all modifications are visible to statement-level
The data change (insertion, update, or deletion) causing the trigger to fire is naturally not visible to SQL commands executed in a row-level
BEFORE trigger, because it hasn't happened yet.
However, SQL commands executed in a row-level
BEFORE trigger will see the effects of data changes for rows previously processed in the same outer command. This requires caution, since the ordering of these change events is not in general predictable; an SQL command that affects multiple rows can visit the rows in any order.
Similarly, a row-level
INSTEAD OF trigger will see the effects of data changes made by previous firings of
INSTEAD OF triggers in the same outer command.
When a row-level
AFTER trigger is fired, all data changes made by the outer command are already complete, and are visible to the invoked trigger function.
If your trigger function is written in any of the standard procedural languages, then the above statements apply only if the function is declared
VOLATILE. Functions that are declared
IMMUTABLE will not see changes made by the calling command in any case.
Further information about data visibility rules can be found in Section 47.5. The example in Section 39.4 contains a demonstration of these rules.
If you see anything in the documentation that is not correct, does not match your experience with the particular feature or requires further clarification, please use this form to report a documentation issue.