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Chapter 12. Extending SQL: Functions

12.1. Introduction

As it turns out, part of defining a new type is the definition of functions that describe its behavior. Consequently, while it is possible to define a new function without defining a new type, the reverse is not true. We therefore describe how to add new functions to PostgreSQL before describing how to add new types.

PostgreSQL provides four kinds of functions:

  • query language functions (functions written in SQL)

  • procedural language functions (functions written in, for example, PL/Tcl or PL/pgSQL)

  • internal functions

  • C language functions

Every kind of function can take a base type, a composite type, or some combination as arguments (parameters). In addition, every kind of function can return a base type or a composite type. It's easiest to define SQL functions, so we'll start with those. Examples in this section can also be found in funcs.sql and funcs.c in the tutorial directory.

Throughout this chapter, it can be useful to look at the reference page of the CREATE FUNCTION command to understand the examples better.