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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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1.8.3 Obsolete Functions for COPY

These functions represent older methods of handling COPY. Although they still work, they are deprecated due to poor error handling, inconvenient methods of detecting end-of-data, and lack of support for binary or nonblocking transfers.

Reads a newline-terminated line of characters (transmitted by the server) into a buffer string of size length.
int PQgetline(PGconn *conn,
              char *buffer,
              int length);
This function copies up to length-1 characters into the buffer and converts the terminating newline into a zero byte. PQgetline returns EOF at the end of input, 0 if the entire line has been read, and 1 if the buffer is full but the terminating newline has not yet been read. Note that the application must check to see if a new line consists of the two characters \., which indicates that the server has finished sending the results of the COPY command. If the application might receive lines that are more than length-1 characters long, care is needed to be sure it recognizes the \. line correctly (and does not, for example, mistake the end of a long data line for a terminator line).
Reads a row of COPY data (transmitted by the server) into a buffer without blocking.
int PQgetlineAsync(PGconn *conn,
                   char *buffer,
                   int bufsize);
This function is similar to PQgetline, but it can be used by applications that must read COPY data asynchronously, that is, without blocking. Having issued the COPY command and gotten a PGRES_COPY_OUT response, the application should call PQconsumeInput and PQgetlineAsync until the end-of-data signal is detected. Unlike PQgetline, this function takes responsibility for detecting end-of-data. On each call, PQgetlineAsync will return data if a complete data row is available in libpq's input buffer. Otherwise, no data is returned until the rest of the row arrives. The function returns -1 if the end-of-copy-data marker has been recognized, or 0 if no data is available, or a positive number giving the number of bytes of data returned. If -1 is returned, the caller must next call PQendcopy, and then return to normal processing. The data returned will not extend beyond a data-row boundary. If possible a whole row will be returned at one time. But if the buffer offered by the caller is too small to hold a row sent by the server, then a partial data row will be returned. With textual data this can be detected by testing whether the last returned byte is \n or not. (In a binary COPY, actual parsing of the COPY data format will be needed to make the equivalent determination.) The returned string is not null-terminated. (If you want to add a terminating null, be sure to pass a bufsize one smaller than the room actually available.)
Sends a null-terminated string to the server. Returns 0 if OK and EOF if unable to send the string.
int PQputline(PGconn *conn,
              const char *string);
The COPY data stream sent by a series of calls to PQputline has the same format as that returned by PQgetlineAsync, except that applications are not obliged to send exactly one data row per PQputline call; it is okay to send a partial line or multiple lines per call.

Note: Before PostgreSQL protocol 3.0, it was necessary for the application to explicitly send the two characters \. as a final line to indicate to the server that it had finished sending COPY data. While this still works, it is deprecated and the special meaning of \. can be expected to be removed in a future release. It is sufficient to call PQendcopy after having sent the actual data.

Sends a non-null-terminated string to the server. Returns 0 if OK and EOF if unable to send the string.
int PQputnbytes(PGconn *conn,
                const char *buffer,
                int nbytes);
This is exactly like PQputline, except that the data buffer need not be null-terminated since the number of bytes to send is specified directly. Use this procedure when sending binary data.
Synchronizes with the server.
int PQendcopy(PGconn *conn);
This function waits until the server has finished the copying. It should either be issued when the last string has been sent to the server using PQputline or when the last string has been received from the server using PGgetline. It must be issued or the server will get “out of sync” with the client. Upon return from this function, the server is ready to receive the next SQL command. The return value is 0 on successful completion, nonzero otherwise. (Use PQerrorMessage to retrieve details if the return value is nonzero.) When using PQgetResult, the application should respond to a PGRES_COPY_OUT result by executing PQgetline repeatedly, followed by PQendcopy after the terminator line is seen. It should then return to the PQgetResult loop until PQgetResult returns a null pointer. Similarly a PGRES_COPY_IN result is processed by a series of PQputline calls followed by PQendcopy, then return to the PQgetResult loop. This arrangement will ensure that a COPY command embedded in a series of SQL commands will be executed correctly. Older applications are likely to submit a COPY via PQexec and assume that the transaction is done after PQendcopy. This will work correctly only if the COPY is the only SQL command in the command string.
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