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PostgreSQL Reference Manual - Volume 2 - Programming Guide
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 408 pages
ISBN 0954612035
RRP £19.95 ($34.95)

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9.4.3 Row Types

name table_name%ROWTYPE;
name composite_type_name;

A variable of a composite type is called a row variable (or row-type variable). Such a variable can hold a whole row of a SELECT or FOR query result, so long as that query's column set matches the declared type of the variable. The individual fields of the row value are accessed using the usual dot notation, for example rowvar.field.

A row variable can be declared to have the same type as the rows of an existing table or view, by using the table_name%ROWTYPE notation; or it can be declared by giving a composite type's name. (Since every table has an associated composite type of the same name, it actually does not matter in PostgreSQL whether you write %ROWTYPE or not. But the form with %ROWTYPE is more portable.)

Parameters to a function can be composite types (complete table rows). In that case, the corresponding identifier $n will be a row variable, and fields can be selected from it, for example $1.user_id.

Only the user-defined columns of a table row are accessible in a row-type variable, not the OID or other system columns (because the row could be from a view). The fields of the row type inherit the table's field size or precision for data types such as char(n).

Here is an example of using composite types. table1 and table2 are existing tables having at least the mentioned fields:

CREATE FUNCTION merge_fields(t_row table1) RETURNS text AS $$
DECLARE
    t2_row table2%ROWTYPE;
BEGIN
    SELECT * INTO t2_row FROM table2 WHERE ... ;
    RETURN t_row.f1 || t2_row.f3 || t_row.f5 || t2_row.f7;
END;
$$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;

SELECT merge_fields(t.*) FROM table1 t WHERE ... ;
ISBN 0954612035PostgreSQL Reference Manual - Volume 2 - Programming GuideSee the print edition