PostgreSQL tutorial for Beginners – PostgreSQL – Functions

PostgreSQL – Functions


PostgreSQL functions, also known as Stored Procedures, allow you to carry out operations that would normally take several queries and round trips in a single function within the database. Functions allow database reuse as other applications can interact directly with your stored procedures instead of a middle-tier or duplicating code.

Functions can be created in a language of your choice like SQL, PL/pgSQL, C, Python, etc.


The basic syntax to create a function is as follows −

CREATE [OR REPLACE] FUNCTION function_name (arguments) 
RETURNS return_datatype AS $variable_name$
      < function_body >
      RETURN { variable_name | value }
   END; LANGUAGE plpgsql;


  • function-name specifies the name of the function.
  • [OR REPLACE] option allows modifying an existing function.
  • The function must contain a return statement.
  • RETURN clause specifies that data type you are going to return from the function. The return_datatype can be a base, composite, or domain type, or can reference the type of a table column.
  • function-body contains the executable part.
  • The AS keyword is used for creating a standalone function.
  • plpgsql is the name of the language that the function is implemented in. Here, we use this option for PostgreSQL, it Can be SQL, C, internal, or the name of a user-defined procedural language. For backward compatibility, the name can be enclosed by single quotes.



The following example illustrates creating and calling a standalone function. This function returns the total number of records in the COMPANY table. We will use the COMPANY table, which has the following records −

testdb# select * from COMPANY;
 id | name  | age | address   | salary
  1 | Paul  |  32 | California|  20000
  2 | Allen |  25 | Texas     |  15000
  3 | Teddy |  23 | Norway    |  20000
  4 | Mark  |  25 | Rich-Mond |  65000
  5 | David |  27 | Texas     |  85000
  6 | Kim   |  22 | South-Hall|  45000
  7 | James |  24 | Houston   |  10000
(7 rows)

Function totalRecords() is as follows −

RETURNS integer AS $total$
	total integer;
   SELECT count(*) into total FROM COMPANY;
   RETURN total;
$total$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;

When the above query is executed, the result would be −


Now, let us execute a call to this function and check the records in the COMPANY table

testdb=# select totalRecords();

When the above query is executed, the result would be −

(1 row)


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