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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language Reference
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 454 pages
ISBN 9781906966041
RRP £14.95 ($19.95)

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2.2.12 Row Constructors

A row constructor is an expression that builds a row value (also called a composite value) using values for its member fields. A row constructor consists of the key word ROW, a left parenthesis, zero or more expressions (separated by commas) for the row field values, and finally a right parenthesis. For example:

SELECT ROW(1,2.5,'this is a test');

The key word ROW is optional when there is more than one expression in the list.

A row constructor can include the syntax rowvalue.*, which will be expanded to a list of the elements of the row value, just as occurs when the .* syntax is used at the top level of a SELECT list. For example, if table t has columns f1 and f2, these are the same:

SELECT ROW(t.*, 42) FROM t;
SELECT ROW(t.f1, t.f2, 42) FROM t;

Note: Before PostgreSQL 8.2, the .* syntax was not expanded, so that writing ROW(t.*, 42) created a two-field row whose first field was another row value. The new behavior is usually more useful. If you need the old behavior of nested row values, write the inner row value without .*, for instance ROW(t, 42).

By default, the value created by a ROW expression is of an anonymous record type. If necessary, it can be cast to a named composite type--either the row type of a table, or a composite type created with CREATE TYPE AS. An explicit cast might be needed to avoid ambiguity. For example:

CREATE TABLE mytable(f1 int, f2 float, f3 text);

CREATE FUNCTION getf1(mytable) RETURNS int AS 'SELECT $1.f1' 
  LANGUAGE SQL;

-- No cast needed since only one getf1() exists
SELECT getf1(ROW(1,2.5,'this is a test'));
 getf1
-------
     1
(1 row)

CREATE TYPE myrowtype AS (f1 int, f2 text, f3 numeric);

CREATE FUNCTION getf1(myrowtype) RETURNS int AS 'SELECT 
  $1.f1' LANGUAGE SQL;

-- Now we need a cast to indicate which function to call:
SELECT getf1(ROW(1,2.5,'this is a test'));
ERROR:  function getf1(record) is not unique

SELECT getf1(ROW(1,2.5,'this is a test')::mytable);
 getf1
-------
     1
(1 row)

SELECT getf1(CAST(ROW(11,'this is a test',2.5) AS myrowtype));
 getf1
-------
    11
(1 row)

Row constructors can be used to build composite values to be stored in a composite-type table column, or to be passed to a function that accepts a composite parameter. Also, it is possible to compare two row values or test a row with IS NULL or IS NOT NULL, for example:

SELECT ROW(1,2.5,'this is a test') = ROW(1, 3, 'not the same');

SELECT ROW(table.*) IS NULL FROM table;  -- detect all-null rows

For more detail see section 7.21 Row and Array Comparisons. Row constructors can also be used in connection with subqueries, as discussed in section 7.20 Subquery Expressions.

ISBN 9781906966041The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language ReferenceSee the print edition