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Incremental results from libpq

From: Scott Lamb <slamb(at)slamb(dot)org>
To: pgsql-interfaces(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Incremental results from libpq
Date: 2005-11-09 19:36:29
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-interfaces
I'm using libpq's asynchronous interface. I'd like to do the  
equivalent of setting fetchSize on the JDBC driver - get a chunk of  
results, handle them, free the memory they use, and then get another  
until I've handled an entire query.

I can do this at the SQL layer using "declare cursor ..." and "fetch  
forward n ..." but it seems like the lower level should be able to do  
this for me. It'd also let me have a more natural interface that (A)  
doesn't make the caller take a PostgreSQL-specific declare/fetch path  
for each query (B) can still use the JDBC-style "execute" that  
doesn't care if it's dealing with a row-returning statement.

I see that JDBC driver (at least in protocol version 3; I don't care  
about 2) does this by passing a maximum number of rows when sending  
Execute, then handling PortalSuspended and Execute again. I also see  
that libpq never sends a maximum number of rows or handles  

Still, I think it should be able to do what I want. The results are  
sent from the database in order. This message type would be necessary  
to ensure the database sends no more than N rows, but it's not  
necessary to ensure the client handles N rows as soon as it has them.

I had been retrieving results from a query in this fashion:

     while True:
         readfds = [PQsocket(conn)]
         writefds = []
         if PQflush(conn):
             writefds = readfds
         if PQconsumeInput(conn):
         if not PQisBusy(conn):
         poll(readfds, writefds)
     return PQgetResult(conn)

which the documentation recommends. But PQisBusy(conn) doesn't return  
false until the _entire_ resultset has been retrieved from the  
server. And if I skip PQisBusy(conn) and go straight for the  
PQgetResult(), it blocks internally until it can complete.

I looked inside libpq, and came up with this instead:

     while True:
         readfds = [PQsocket(conn)]
         writefds = []
         if PQflush(conn):
             writefds = readfds
         if PQconsumeInput(conn):
         if PQisBusy(conn):
         if conn->result != NULL and PQntuples(conn->result) >  
             return conn->result
         poll(readfds, writefds)
     last = True
     return PQgetResult(conn)

where "retrieved" is the number of rows I've examined so far, and  
"last" indicates that I shouldn't call again.

which is 1/3rd right:

- It does return results incrementally; good.
- It pokes inside libpq; ugh.
- It doesn't free any memory until the whole query's done. I suppose  
I could do that by changing conn->result myself, but...ugh. Is there  
a better way?

Scott Lamb <>


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Subject: Re: Incremental results from libpq
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