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Re: [HACKERS] Re: [INTERFACES] retrieving varchar size

From: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org, pgsql-interfaces(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: [HACKERS] Re: [INTERFACES] retrieving varchar size
Date: 1998-04-26 16:57:24
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackerspgsql-interfaces
Bruce Momjian <maillist(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us> writes:
> Oh.  That prevents us from changing the backend to ignore returning more
> than one result for multiple queries in a PQexec.  Perhaps we need a new
> return query protocol character like 'J' to denote query returns that
> are not the LAST return, so libpq can throw them away, and jdbc and
> process them as normal, but also figure out when it gets the last one.

That would require the code processing an individual command in the
backend to know whether it was the last one or not, which seems like
a very undesirable interaction.

Instead, I'd suggest we simply add a new BE->FE message that says
"I'm done processing your query and am returning to idle state".
This would be sent at the end of *every* query, correct or failing.
Trivial to implement: send it at the bottom of the main loop in

The more general question is whether we ought to redesign libpq's API
to permit multiple command responses to be returned from one query.
I think that would be a good idea, if we can do it in a way that doesn't
break existing applications for the single-command-per-query case.
(BTW, I'm defining "query" as "string handed to PQexec"; perhaps this
is backwards from the usual terminology?)

Maybe have libpq queue up the results and return the first one, then
provide a function to pull the rest from the queue:

	result = PQexec(conn, query);
	// process result, eventually free it with PQclear
	while ((result = PQnextResult(conn)) != NULL)
		// process result, eventually free it with PQclear
	// ready to send new query

An app that didn't use PQnextResult would still work as long as it
never sent multiple commands per query.  (Question: if the app sends
a multi-command query and doesn't call PQnextResult, the next PQexec
will know it because the result queue is nonempty.  Should PQexec
complain, or just silently clear the queue?)

One thing that likely would *not* work very nicely is copy in/out
as part of a multi-command query, since there is currently no provision
for PQendcopy to return result(s).  This is pretty braindead IMHO,
but I'm not sure we can change PQendcopy's API.  Any thoughts?  What
I'd really like to see is PQendcopy returning a PGresult that indicates
success or failure of the copy, and then additional results could be
queued up behind that for retrieval with PQnextResult.

>>>> Other front-end libraries reading this protocol will have to change
>>>> to accept this field.

And the end-of-query indicator.  I think now is the time to do it if
we're gonna do it.  Right now, it seems most code is using libpq rather
than seeing the protocol directly, so fixing these problems should be
pretty painless.  But wasn't there some discussion recently of running
the protocol directly from Tcl code?  If that gets popular it will
become much harder to change the protocol.

As long as we are opening up the issue, there are some other bits of
bad design in the FE/BE protocol:

1. 'B' and 'D' are used as message types for *both* result tuples and
StartCopyIn/StartCopyOut messages.  You can only distinguish them by
context, ie, have you seen a 'T' lately.  This is very bad.  It's not
like we have to do this because we're out of possible message types.

2. Copy In and Copy Out data ought to be part of the protocol, that
is every line of copy in/out data ought to be prefixed with a message
type code.  Fixing this might be more trouble than its worth however,
if there are any applications that don't go through PQgetline/PQputline.

BTW, I have made good progress with rewriting libpq in an asynchronous
style; the new code ran the regression tests on Friday.  But I haven't
tested any actual async behavior yet.

			regards, tom lane


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