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  5. Functions and Operators
  6. Set Returning Functions

Set Returning Functions

Series Generating Functions

  • generate_series(start, stop)

    Description: Generates a series of values, from start to stop with a step size of one.

    Parameter type: int or bigint

    Return type: setof int or setof bigint (same as the argument type)

  • generate_series(start, stop, step)

    Description: Generates a series of values, from start to stop with a step size of step.

    Parameter type: int or bigint

    Return type: setof int or setof bigint (same as the argument type)

  • generate_series(start, stop, step interval)

    Description: Generates a series of values, from start to stop with a step size of step.

    Parameter type: timestamp or timestamp with time zone

    Return type: setof timestamp or setof timestamp with time zone (same as argument type)

When step is positive, zero rows are returned if start is greater than stop. Conversely, when step is negative, zero rows are returned if start is less than stop. Zero rows are also returned for NULL inputs. It is an error for step to be zero.

For example:

SELECT * FROM generate_series(2,4);
 generate_series
-----------------
               2
               3
               4
(3 rows)

SELECT * FROM generate_series(5,1,-2);
 generate_series
-----------------
               5
               3
               1
(3 rows)

SELECT * FROM generate_series(4,3);
 generate_series
-----------------
(0 rows)

-- this example relies on the date-plus-integer operator
SELECT current_date + s.a AS dates FROM generate_series(0,14,7) AS s(a);
   dates
------------
 2017-06-02
 2017-06-09
 2017-06-16
(3 rows)

SELECT * FROM generate_series('2008-03-01 00:00'::timestamp, '2008-03-04 12:00', '10 hours');
   generate_series   
---------------------
 2008-03-01 00:00:00
 2008-03-01 10:00:00
 2008-03-01 20:00:00
 2008-03-02 06:00:00
 2008-03-02 16:00:00
 2008-03-03 02:00:00
 2008-03-03 12:00:00
 2008-03-03 22:00:00
 2008-03-04 08:00:00
(9 rows)

Subscript Generating Functions

  • generate_subscripts(array anyarray, dim int)

    Description: Generates a series comprising the given array's subscripts.

    Return type: setof int

  • generate_subscripts(array anyarray, dim int, reverse boolean)

    Description: Generates a series comprising the given array's subscripts. When reverse is true, the series is returned in reverse order.

    Return type: setof int

generate_subscripts is a function that generates the set of valid subscripts for the specified dimension of the given array. Zero rows are returned for arrays that do not have the requested dimension, or for NULL arrays (but valid subscripts are returned for NULL array elements). For example:

-- basic usage
SELECT generate_subscripts('{NULL,1,NULL,2}'::int[], 1) AS s;
 s 
---
 1
 2
 3
 4
(4 rows)
-- unnest a 2D array
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION unnest2(anyarray)
RETURNS SETOF anyelement AS $$
SELECT $1[i][j]
   FROM generate_subscripts($1,1) g1(i),
        generate_subscripts($1,2) g2(j);
$$ LANGUAGE sql IMMUTABLE;

SELECT * FROM unnest2(ARRAY[[1,2],[3,4]]);
 unnest2 
---------
       1
       2
       3
       4
(4 rows)

-- Delete the function:
DROP FUNCTION unnest2;