Defining a Simple Data Type in PostgreSQL

Now that you understand the difference between internal and external forms, it should be obvious that PostgreSQL needs to convert values between these forms. When you define a new data type, you tell PostgreSQL how to convert a value from external form to internal form and from internal form to external form.

Let's create a simple type that mimics the built-in TEXT data type. Data type descriptions are stored in the pg_type system table. We are interested in three of the columns:

movies=# SELECT typinput, typoutput, typlen
movies-# FROM pg_type
movies-# WHERE typname = 'text';
 typinput | typoutput | typlen
----------+-----------+--------
 textin | textout | -1

The typinput column tells you the name of the function that PostgreSQL uses to convert a TEXT value from external form to internal form; in this case, the function is named textin. The typoutput column contains the name of the function (textout) that PostgreSQL uses to convert from internal to external form. Finally, typlen specifies how much space is required to hold the internal form of a TEXT value. TEXT values are of variable length, so the space required to hold the internal form is also variable (-1 in this column means variable length). If TEXT were a fixed-length type, the typlen column would contain the number of bytes required to hold the internal form.

Now you have enough information to create a new data type. Here is the command that you'll use to create a type named mytexttype:

movies=# CREATE TYPE mytexttype
movies-# (
movies-# INPUT=textin,
movies-# OUTPUT=textout,
movies-# INTERNALLENGTH=VARIABLE
movies-# );

The INPUT=textin clause tells PostgreSQL which function to call when it needs to convert a mytexttype value from external to internal form. The OUTPUT=textout clause tells PostgreSQL which function converts a mytexttype value from internal to external form. The final clause, INTERNALLENGTH=VARIABLE, tells PostgreSQL how much space is required to hold the internal form of a mytexttype value; you specify VARIABLE here to tell PostgreSQL that you are not defining a fixed length data type.

You have essentially cloned the TEXT[3] data type. Because you are using the same input and output functions as the TEXT type, the internal and external form of a mytexttype value is identical to the internal and external form of a TEXT value.

[3] You have created an extremely limited clone. At this point, you can enter and display mytexttype values, but you can't do anything else with them. You have not defined any operators that can manipulate mytexttype values.

After you execute this CREATE TYPE command, you can use the mytexttype data type to create new columns:

movies=# CREATE TABLE myTestTable
movies-# (
movies(# pkey INTEGER,
movies(# value mytexttype
movies(# );
CREATE

You can also enter mytexttype values. Because you borrowed the textin and textout functions, you have to enter values according to the rules for a TEXT value:

movies=# INSERT INTO myTestTable
movies-# VALUES ( 1, 'This is a mytexttype value in external form' );

Now, let's define a new data type from scratch.

Part I: General PostgreSQL Use

Introduction to PostgreSQL and SQL

Working with Data in PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL SQL Syntax and Use

Performance

Part II: Programming with PostgreSQL

Introduction to PostgreSQL Programming

Extending PostgreSQL

PL/pgSQL

The PostgreSQL C APIlibpq

A Simpler C APIlibpgeasy

The New PostgreSQL C++ APIlibpqxx

Embedding SQL Commands in C Programsecpg

Using PostgreSQL from an ODBC Client Application

Using PostgreSQL from a Java Client Application

Using PostgreSQL with Perl

Using PostgreSQL with PHP

Using PostgreSQL with Tcl and Tcl/Tk

Using PostgreSQL with Python

Npgsql: The .NET Data Provider

Other Useful Programming Tools

Part III: PostgreSQL Administration

Introduction to PostgreSQL Administration

PostgreSQL Administration

Internationalization and Localization

Security

Replicating PostgreSQL Data with Slony

Contributed Modules

Index



PostgreSQL(c) The comprehensive guide to building, programming, and administering PostgreSQL databases
PostgreSQL(c) The comprehensive guide to building, programming, and administering PostgreSQL databases
ISBN: 735712573
EAN: N/A
Year: 2004
Pages: 261

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