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Re: ERROR: relation . . . does not exist

From: Christophe <xof(at)thebuild(dot)com>
To: PGSQL General <pgsql-general(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: ERROR: relation . . . does not exist
Date: 2008-08-30 16:19:14
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-general
On Aug 30, 2008, at 6:26 AM, Albretch Mueller wrote:
>  Well, then obviously there is the need for it and you were not
> successful enough at convincing these developers that they were
> "confusing postgresql with a spreadsheet program"

The behavior you are looking for is typical of a spreadsheet, because  
spreadsheet programs (generally; I'm sure there are exceptions) don't  
have the notion of a schema; each cell can hold its own particular  
type.  That being said, the automatic type-guessing that Excel, say,  
provides is far from foolproof; I've probably spent more time  
cleaning up Excel's bad guesses than would have been saved by my just  
specifying a type for each column.

As has been noted, text representation of values are extremely  
ambiguous as of which Postgres type they mean... and, of course, you  
could have user-defined domains and types as well.  It's true that it  
could take a wild guess, but that's not a traditional part of a  
database engine.

That being said, it would not be too hard to write a client that  
accepted a CSV or tab-delimited file, parsed the header into column  
names, and then scanned the values of the columns to take a  
reasonable guess as to the column type from a highly limited set of  
possibilities.  This is probably one of those classic "twenty lines  
of Perl" problems.

It doesn't seem as though COPY INTO is the right place for that,  
since the particular guesses and set of types that one would make  
strike me as very closely tied to your particular application domain.

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