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18.2. Installing Procedural Languages

A procedural language must be "installed" into each database where it is to be used. But procedural languages installed in the template1 database are automatically available in all subsequently created databases. So the database administrator can decide which languages are available in which databases, and can make some languages available by default if he chooses.

For the languages supplied with the standard distribution, the shell script createlang may be used instead of carrying out the details by hand. For example, to install PL/pgSQL into the template1 database, use

createlang plpgsql template1

The manual procedure described below is only recommended for installing custom languages that createlang does not know about.

Manual Procedural Language Installation

A procedural language is installed in the database in three steps, which must be carried out by a database superuser.

  1. The shared object for the language handler must be compiled and installed into an appropriate library directory. This works in the same way as building and installing modules with regular user-defined C functions does; see Section 9.5.8.

  2. The handler must be declared with the command

    CREATE FUNCTION handler_function_name ()
        'path-to-shared-object' LANGUAGE C;

    The special return type of LANGUAGE_HANDLER tells the database that this function does not return one of the defined SQL data types and is not directly usable in SQL statements.

  3. The PL must be declared with the command

        HANDLER handler_function_name;

    The optional key word TRUSTED tells whether ordinary database users that have no superuser privileges should be allowed to use this language to create functions and trigger procedures. Since PL functions are executed inside the database server, the TRUSTED flag should only be given for languages that do not allow access to database server internals or the file system. The languages PL/pgSQL, PL/Tcl, PL/Perl, and PL/Python are known to be trusted; the languages PL/TclU and PL/PerlU are designed to provide unlimited functionality should not be marked trusted.

In a default PostgreSQL installation, the handler for the PL/pgSQL language is built and installed into the "library" directory. If Tcl/Tk support is configured in, the handlers for PL/Tcl and PL/TclU are also built and installed in the same location. Likewise, the PL/Perl and PL/PerlU handlers are built and installed if Perl support is configured, and PL/Python is installed if Python support is configured. The createlang script automates step 2 and step 3 described above.

Example 18-1. Manual Installation of PL/pgSQL

The following command tells the database server where to find the shared object for the PL/pgSQL language's call handler function.

    '$libdir/plpgsql' LANGUAGE C;

The command

    HANDLER plpgsql_call_handler;

then defines that the previously declared call handler function should be invoked for functions and trigger procedures where the language attribute is plpgsql.