|PostgreSQL 8.1.23 Documentation|
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All expressions used in PL/pgSQL statements are processed using the server's regular SQL executor. In effect, a query like
is executed using the SPI manager. Before evaluation, occurrences of PL/pgSQL variable identifiers are replaced by parameters, and the actual values from the variables are passed to the executor in the parameter array. This allows the query plan for the SELECT to be prepared just once and then reused for subsequent evaluations.
The evaluation done by the PostgreSQL main parser has some side effects on the interpretation of constant values. In detail there is a difference between what these two functions do:
CREATE FUNCTION logfunc1(logtxt text) RETURNS timestamp AS $$ BEGIN INSERT INTO logtable VALUES (logtxt, 'now'); RETURN 'now'; END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;
CREATE FUNCTION logfunc2(logtxt text) RETURNS timestamp AS $$ DECLARE curtime timestamp; BEGIN curtime := 'now'; INSERT INTO logtable VALUES (logtxt, curtime); RETURN curtime; END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;
In the case of
PostgreSQL main parser knows
when preparing the plan for the INSERT
that the string 'now' should be
interpreted as timestamp because the target
logtable is of that
type. Thus, 'now' will be converted to a
constant when the INSERT is planned, and
then used in all invocations of
logfunc1 during the lifetime of the session.
Needless to say, this isn't what the programmer wanted.
In the case of
PostgreSQL main parser does not
know what type 'now' should become and
therefore it returns a data value of type text containing the string now. During the ensuing assignment to the local
variable curtime, the PL/pgSQL interpreter casts this string to
the timestamp type by calling the
timestamp_in functions for the conversion. So,
the computed time stamp is updated on each execution as the
The mutable nature of record variables presents a problem in this connection. When fields of a record variable are used in expressions or statements, the data types of the fields must not change between calls of one and the same expression, since the expression will be planned using the data type that is present when the expression is first reached. Keep this in mind when writing trigger procedures that handle events for more than one table. (EXECUTE can be used to get around this problem when necessary.)
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