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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 2 - Programming Guide
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 478 pages
ISBN 9781906966065
RRP £14.95 ($19.95)

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9.3 Declarations

All variables used in a block must be declared in the declarations section of the block. (The only exceptions are that the loop variable of a FOR loop iterating over a range of integer values is automatically declared as an integer variable, and likewise the loop variable of a FOR loop iterating over a cursor's result is automatically declared as a record variable.)

PL/pgSQL variables can have any SQL data type, such as integer, varchar, and char.

Here are some examples of variable declarations:

user_id integer;
quantity numeric(5);
url varchar;
myrow tablename%ROWTYPE;
myfield tablename.columnname%TYPE;
arow RECORD;

The general syntax of a variable declaration is:

name [ CONSTANT ] type [ NOT NULL ] [ { DEFAULT | := }
 expression ];

The DEFAULT clause, if given, specifies the initial value assigned to the variable when the block is entered. If the DEFAULT clause is not given then the variable is initialized to the SQL null value. The CONSTANT option prevents the variable from being assigned to, so that its value will remain constant for the duration of the block. If NOT NULL is specified, an assignment of a null value results in a run-time error. All variables declared as NOT NULL must have a nonnull default value specified.

A variable's default value is evaluated and assigned to the variable each time the block is entered (not just once per function call). So, for example, assigning now() to a variable of type timestamp causes the variable to have the time of the current function call, not the time when the function was precompiled.


quantity integer DEFAULT 32;
url varchar := 'http://mysite.com';
user_id CONSTANT integer := 10;
ISBN 9781906966065The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 2 - Programming GuideSee the print edition