S-SQL and Postgresql Arrays

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Summary

Postmodern/s-sql can be used to insert common lisp arrays into postgresql databases, pull postgresql database arrays out of databases into a common lisp array, and generally engage in all the ways that sql can use postgresql arrays. Postgresql arrays are documented at https://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/arrays.html and https://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/functions-array.html.

This page will go into more detail on how to use the available operators and functions in s-sql.

Use cases for arrays in a database

General Usage

Arrays are a first class datatype within postgresql. The contents can only be of a single datatype and postgresql will enforce that typing. You can either use arrays as a datatype stored in the database or there may be reasons why you want to use them as an intermediate datatype in a query.

There is a bit of controversy over the use of the array datatype in a database. There are those who adamantly oppose it, claiming that it is a violation of 1NF form (normalization). It is easy to use arrays for the wrong reason in a database and there can be other consequences which need to be taken into consideration - loss of referential integrity, updating one slot in the array will require re-reading the entire array, and some other lost search flexibility immediately come to mind. Like any design process decision, there are reasons when you should design a database that is fully normalized and use cases when denormalization can lead to speed and memory savings. You can read some of the points at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4415754. Another article suggests that yould should not use arrays if you are going to have to keep accessing items in the array by position for types that are variable in length (hstores, jsonb, varchars, text). In such a case postgresql has to scan the array to find the nth element because it stores variable length items as arrays of values, not as an array of pointers to values. The article does not discuss using GIN indexes on the array. It does suggest using the postgresql unnest sql function to resolve some of these issues since it parses an array and returns a set of sets of entries (one entry per row (the subset) and the total as the superset. An example of using unnest in s-sql is set out below.

I would agree with Dimitri Fontaine who points out that "arrays can be used to denormalize data and avoid lookup tables. A good rule of thumb for using them is you mostly use the array as a whole, even if you might at times search for elements in the array." As he notes, "..heavier processing is going to be more complex than a lookup table." https://tapoueh.org/blog/2018/04/postgresql-data-types-arrays/

Another way of saying it is to use arrays if you are storing "lists" of things, not if you are storing lists of "things".

It really depends on your use case. If you need speed and very simple lookups, then arrays might be what you want because your physical storage looking at fewer table pages. If it is not a really simple lookup, use many-to-many tables because the lookup will take more time with an array than the physical storage seeking cost.

At the same time, do not forget that you can use postgresql arrays in an intermediate step in a query or as the result of the query. They can be used in ways other than database table storage.

The postgresql documentation provides an employee pay example where the pay-by-quarter is a one-dimensional array and the schedule is a two dimensional array.

CREATE TABLE sal_emp (
    name            text,
    pay_by_quarter  integer[],
    schedule        text[][]
);

I have seen suggestions that arrays can replace separate many-to-many tables in relationships, e.g.

CREATE TABLE posts (
    title TEXT,
    tags TEXT[]
);

-- Select all posts with tag 'kitty'
SELECT * FROM posts WHERE tags @> '{kitty}';

THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS PUTTING FOREIGN KEYS INTO THE ARRAY! DO NOT DO THAT! Part of the reason for using an ACID database is to ensure integrity and putting foreign keys into an array prevents the database from enforcing the integrity of the foreign keys.

One very interesting write-up took a slightly different approach. Instead of putting the one-to-many relationship directly in the posts table, it replaced a many-to-many table (linking a document table with a tag table) with a tags-array table (linking to the document table) and compared the size and speed metrics with the normal m-t-m table. See:

http://www.databasesoup.com/2015/01/tag-all-things.html, http://www.databasesoup.com/2015/01/tag-all-things-part-2.html, http://www.databasesoup.com/2015/01/tag-all-things-part-3.html

In this case, it found searching for documents using the tag array approach to be much faster than the normal normalized approach, as well as having a smaller storage size.

The s-sql version for creating the table currently requires a separate create table and two separate create index commands

(query (:create-table documents
                      ((doc-id :type integer :constraint 'dockey-id :primary-key 't :unique)
                       (text :type text))))

(query (:create-table doc-tags-array ((doc-id :type integer :references ((documents doc-id)))
                                      (tags :type text[] :default "{}"))))


(query (:create-unique-index 'doc-tags-id-doc-id :on "doc-tags-array"  :fields 'doc-id))

(query (:create-index 'doc-tags-id-tags :on "doc-tags-array" :using gin :fields 'tags))

And then the corresponding searches for one tag and two (or more) tags would be:

(query (:limit
        (:order-by
         (:select 'doc-id
                  :from 'doc-tags-array
                  :where (:@> 'tags (:array[] "math")))
         'doc-id)
        25 0))

(query (:limit
        (:order-by
         (:select 'doc-id
                  :from 'doc-tags-array
                  :where (:@> 'tags (:array[] "math" "physics")))
         'doc-id)
        25))

Note that is was a one-to-many relationship. If you need a many-to-many (mtm or m-t-m) relationship, you would need two sets of arrays.

A similar approach was examined in https://medium.com/@leshchuk/mtm-on-arrays-in-postgresql-a97f3c50b8c6 which concluded that if you do not need referential integrity in the one-to-many or many-to-many relationship, the array length is in the tens rather than hundreds or thousands, and you use a GIN index, there is a speed and memory benefit to using an array to contain the relationship ids compared to a mtm table. This is particularly the case if the relations are disproportionate - e.g. 1 million documents and 100 tags. In those tests, the cost of joins exceeded the indexed access speed of using arrays.

One use case is to reduce the number of columns in a table where you are using the array as an atomic data unit. If you discover that you are doing a lot of searches and joins on array slots, this is likely to be a bad design.

Another use case is to store machine learning model weights which are a 2d array of numbers.

The MADlib advanced statistical and machine learning addon extension for postgresql and greenplum uses arrays for intputs into its algorithms.

Sidenote: The greenplum massively parallel database project is a fork from postgresql and is a bit behind on the standard postgresql functionality.

In any case, s-sql may have available calls to postgresql functions which are not in the database version you are programming to.

See also https://www.compose.com/articles/take-a-dip-into-postgresql-arrays/

Rules of Thumb - Do Not Use Arrays If:

  • Do not use arrays where you need to maintain integrity for foreign relationships. That is what

foreign keys are for.

  • Do not use arrays if you have to change the items in the array frequently.
  • Do not use arrays if you rely on an ORM unless you have ensured

that the ORM can utilize arrays.

Data Type Enforcement

Compared to jsonb, postgresql arrays allow you to enforce the data type. This can be critical in both maintaining the integrity of your data as well as optimization in your appliction code. This database enforeced type safety does not, however, enforce the dimensionality of the array.

Indices on Arrays

It is highly recommended that you use GIN or GIST indexes to search for items in array column. You should remember that GIST indices are lossy while GIN indices are lossless.

S-SQL Array Support

S-sql can feel a little messy with respect to arrays but that is in large part because (a) sql dealing with arrays is messy and (b) postgresql has both an array[] constructor and an array function.

If you are just translating between a lisp array and a postgresql array, then postmodern handles the data type translation fairly easily as can be seen in the examples below.

Generally speaking, there are three base s-sql array operators to know:

:array (used inside a query calling a subquery, selecting into an array)

The format of the call is:

(:array (query))

Example:

(query (:order-by
        (:select 'r.rolename
                 (:as (:array
                       (:select 'b.rolename
                                :from (:as 'pg_catalog.pg-auth-members 'm)
                                :inner-join (:as 'pg-catalog.pg-roles 'b)
                                :on (:= 'm.roleid 'b.oid)
                                :where (:= 'm.member 'r.oid )))
                      'memberof)
                 :from (:as 'pg-catalog.pg-roles 'r))
        1))

:array[] (declares an array and returns an array

The format of the call is:

(:array[] (&rest args))

Examples:

(query (:select (:array[] 2 6))
       :single)
#(2 6)

(query (:select (:array[] (:/ 15 3) (:pi) 6))
       :single)

#(5.0d0 3.141592653589793d0 6.0d0)

Note that in the second example, the value of 6 is returned as a float because the entire array must be the same type.

:[] (used when you want a slice of an array

The format of the call is:

(:[] (form start &optional end))

Example:

(let ((arry1 #(2 6 7 12)))
     (query (:select (:[] arry1 2 3))
            :single))

#(6 7)

General Usage Examples

Just to make these usage examples really simple, we will use the simplest use case version discussed above, with a tags array in a table with the name of the item. In this case the name is the name of a receipe and the tags are ingredients that either go in the receipe or accompany the receipe.

First to create the table and the indexes. The index on 'name is the default B-tree index. The index on the tags is a GIN index.

(query (:create-table receipes
                       ((name :type text)
                        (tags :type text[] :default "{}"))))

(query (:create-unique-index 'receipe-tags-id-name
                              :on "receipes"
                              :fields 'name))

(query (:create-index 'receipe-tags-id-tags
                       :on "receipes"
                       :using gin
                       :fields 'tags))

Now use :insert-rows-into to populate the table. Notice we are actually passing in lisp arrays and it is automatically inserted in the table as a postgresql array.

(query (:insert-rows-into
        'receipes
        :columns 'name 'tags
        :values
        '(("Fattoush" #("greens" "pita bread" "olive oil" "garlic" "lemon" "salt" "spices"))
          ("Shawarma" #("meat" "tahini sauce" "pita bread"))
          ("Baba Ghanoush" #("pita bread" "olive oil" "eggplant" "tahini sauce"))
          ("Shish Taouk" #("chicken" "lemon juice" "garlic" "paprika" "yogurt" "tomato paste" "pita bread"))
          ("Kibbe nayeh" #("raw meat" "bulgur" "onion" "spices" "pita bread"))
          ("Manakeesh" #("meat" "cheese" "zaatar" "kishik" "tomatoes" "cucumbers" "mint leaves" "olives"))
          ("Fakafek" #("chickpeas" "pita bread" "tahini sauce"))
          ("Tabbouleh" #("bulgur" "tomatoes" "onions" "parsley"))
          ("Kofta" #("minced meat" "parsley" "spices" "onions"))
          ("Kunafeh" #("cheese" "sugar syrup" "pistachios"))
          ("Baklava" #("filo dough" "honey" "nuts")))))

This will automatically insert the required square brackets into the sql statement being passed to postgresql. This automatic translation between lisp and postgresql arrays does not work where you need a postgresql function in a query. (The database function is not going to be in a lisp array.) For that you need to use the :array[] sql-op. E.g.

Sample desired sql statement:

(SELECT ARRAY[(1 / 2)]::FLOATS[]);

S-sql version

(query (:select (:type (:array[] (:/ 1 2)) float[])))

First we can start by checking for records that have a specific tag

(query (:select 'receipe-id 'tags
                :from 'receipe-tags-array
                :where (:@> 'tags
                            (:array[] "bulgur"))))
(("Tabbouleh" #("bulgur" "tomatoes" "onions" "parsley"))
 ("Kibbe nayeh" #("raw meat" "bulgur" "onions" "spices" "pita bread")))

We should look at this return a bit closer. As you might expect in postmodern, this query returns list of lists and each sublist contains the string name. What may be unexpected is that the second item in each sublist is actually a lisp array.

Extending this to checking for items with two specific tags:

(query (:select 'receipe-id 'tags
                :from 'receipe-tags-array
                :where (:@> 'tags
                            (:array[] "bulgur" "parsley"))))

(("Tabbouleh" #("bulgur" "tomatoes" "onions" "parsley")))

As you should expect, we can also pass in a lisp variable which is an array, in this case we are using the :&& operator which acts as an 'or' logical test:

(let ((tst-arry #("parsley" "cheese")))
  (query (:order-by (:select '*
                             :from 'receipes
                             :where (:&& 'tags tst-arry))
                    'name)))
'(("Manakeesh"
   #("meat" "cheese" "zaatar" "kishik" "tomatoes" "cucumbers" "mint leaves"
     "olives"))
  ("Tabbouleh" #("bulgur" "tomatoes" "onions" "parsley"))
  ("Kofta" #("minced meat" "parsley" "spices" "onions"))
  ("Kunafeh" #("cheese" "sugar syrup" "pistachios")))

Validating that this is returning a vector:

(type-of (query (:select 'tags
                         :from 'receipes
                         :where (:= 'name "Manakeesh"))
                :single))

'(SIMPLE-VECTOR 8)

We can also check the length of the array or cardinality:

(query (:select (:cardinality 'tags)
                :from 'receipes
                :where (:= 'name "Manakeesh"))
       :single)

Updating the array can be done either explicitly:

;;; Update array with an lisp array (changing onion to onions in the one row where it is singular
(query (:update 'receipes
                :set 'tags #("raw meat" "bulgur" "onions" "spices" "pita bread")
                :where (:= 'name "Kibbe nayeh")))

or passing in a lisp variable:

;;; checking passing a lisp array as a variable
(let ((lisp-arry #("wine" "garlic" "soy sauce")))
  (query (:update 'receipes
                  :set 'tags '$1
                  :where (:= 'name 11))
         lisp-arry))

If you are selecting a slice of a postgresql array, then use :[]. At this point it is a good reminder that postgresql arrays start at 1, not at 0. The first parameter following the field name is the starting point of the slice to return. The second parameter is the end point of the slice to return (defaulting to the starting point).

(query (:select (:[] 'tags 2)
                :from 'receipes
                :where (:= 'name 3)))

'(("olive oil"))

(query (:select (:[] 'tags 2 3)
                :from 'receipes
                :where (:= 'name 3)))

'((#("olive oil" "eggplant")))

If you are sub-selecting into a postgresql array, postgresql switches from square brackets to parens, so in s-sql you need to use :array. E.g.

Sample desired sql statement:

SELECT r.rolname,
  ARRAY(SELECT b.rolname
        FROM pg_catalog.pg_auth_members m
        JOIN pg_catalog.pg_roles b ON (m.roleid = b.oid)
        WHERE m.member = r.oid) as memberof
FROM pg_catalog.pg_roles r
ORDER BY 1;
**************************

And now the s-sql version. Here, because we are selecting into an array, we need to use just :array

(query (:order-by
        (:select 'r.rolename
                 (:as (:array
                       (:select 'b.rolename
                                :from (:as 'pg_catalog.pg-auth-members 'm)
                                :inner-join (:as 'pg-catalog.pg-roles 'b)
                                :on (:= 'm.roleid 'b.oid)
                                :where (:= 'm.member 'r.oid )))
                      'memberof)
                 :from (:as 'pg-catalog.pg-roles 'r))
        1))

The postgresql unnest function (:unnest ..) expands every array entry into a separate row. In the following select, we pull out all the distinct tags in a list of lists where every list has a single tag entry.

(query (:order-by
        (:select (:as (:unnest 'tags) 'tag) :distinct
                 :from 'receipes)
        'tag))

'(("bulgur") ("cheese") ("chicken") ("chickpeas") ("cucumbers") ("eggplant")
  ("filo dough") ("garlic") ("greens") ("honey") ("kishik") ("lemon")
  ("lemon juice") ("meat") ("minced meat") ("mint leaves") ("nuts")
  ("olive oil") ("olives") ("onions") ("paprika") ("parsley")
  ("pistachios") ("pita bread") ("raw meat") ("salt") ("spices") ("sugar syrup")
  ("tahini sauce") ("tomatoes") ("tomato paste") ("yogurt") ("zaatar"))

We can use with and group-by operators to count the unique tags:

(query (:order-by
        (:with
         (:as 'p
              (:select (:as (:unnest 'tags) 'tag)
                       :from 'receipes))
         (:select 'tag (:as (:count 'tag) 'cnt)
                  :from 'p
                  :group-by 'tag))
        (:desc 'cnt) 'tag))
'(("pita bread" 6) ("onions" 3) ("spices" 3) ("tahini sauce" 3) ("bulgur" 2)
  ("cheese" 2) ("garlic" 2) ("meat" 2) ("olive oil" 2) ("parsley" 2)
  ("tomatoes" 2) ("chicken" 1) ("chickpeas" 1) ("cucumbers" 1) ("eggplant" 1)
  ("filo dough" 1) ("greens" 1) ("honey" 1) ("kishik" 1) ("lemon" 1)
  ("lemon juice" 1) ("minced meat" 1) ("mint leaves" 1) ("nuts" 1) ("olives" 1)
  ("paprika" 1) ("pistachios" 1) ("raw meat" 1) ("salt" 1) ("sugar syrup" 1)
  ("tomato paste" 1) ("yogurt" 1) ("zaatar" 1))

Yes, there are array-append, array-replace etc operators

(query (:update 'receipes
                :set 'tags (:array-append 'tags "appended-items")
                :where (:= 'name "Kibbe nayeh")))

(query (:update 'receipes
                :set 'tags (:array-replace 'tags "spices" "chocolate")))

The above two versions checked all the row, even those without the target string, effectively the equivalent of not using the index.

You can use a different operator that more effectively uses the GIN index and just touches the rows with the targeted string in the array:

(query (:update 'receipes
                :set 'tags (:array-replace 'tags  "chocolate" "spices")
                :where (:<@ "{\"chocolate\"}" 'tags)))

The use of the :any* operator needs to be considered as a special case. Quoting Marijn Haverbeke here,"Postgres has both a function-call-style any and an infix any, and S-SQL's syntax doesn't allow them to be distinguished." As a result, s-sql has a regular :any sql-op and a :any* sql-op, which expand slightly differently.

To show the difference, look at the sql statements that are generated by the two operators :any* and :any

(sql (:select '*
                :from 'receipes
                :where (:= "chicken" (:any* 'tags ))))

"(SELECT * FROM receipes WHERE (E'chicken' = ANY(tags)))"

(sql (:select '*
                :from 'receipes
                :where (:= "chicken" (:any 'tags ))))

"(SELECT * FROM receipes WHERE (E'chicken' = ANY tags))"

In the following two cases we want to use ':any*'. In the first simple query, we are looking for everything in the rows where the name of the receipe is in the lisp array we passed in.

In the second query we look for all the rows where the string "chicken" appears in any of the tag arrays.

(query (:select '*
                :from 'receipes
                :where (:= 'name (:any* '$1)))
       #("Trout" "Shish Taouk" "Hamburger"))

'(("Shish Taouk"
   #("chicken" "lemon juice" "garlic" "paprika" "yogurt" "tomato paste"
     "pita bread")))

(query (:select '*
                :from 'receipes
                :where (:= '$1 (:any* 'tags )))
       "chicken")

'(("Shish Taouk"
   #("chicken" "lemon juice" "garlic" "paprika" "yogurt" "tomato paste"
     "pita bread")))

We can look for rows where x or y is found in the tags array. This uses the or operator which looks like :&&.

(query (:order-by
        (:select '*
                 :from 'receipes
                 :where (:&& 'tags (:array[] '$1 '$2)))
        'name)
       "parsley" "cheese")
'(("Manakeesh"
   #("meat" "cheese" "zaatar" "kishik" "tomatoes" "cucumbers" "mint leaves"
     "olives"))
  ("Tabbouleh" #("bulgur" "tomatoes" "onions" "parsley"))
  ("Kofta" #("minced meat" "parsley" "spices" "onions"))
  ("Kunafeh" #("cheese" "sugar syrup" "pistachios")))

There are also specific operators for "contains" (:@>) and "contained-by" (:<@). This comparison is done on an element by element basis, so is easily thought of as whether the elements in array1 are a subset of the elements in array2 or vice versa.

The following examples should be easy to follow.

In the first example we are looking for rows where the elements of an array composed of the two strings passed in as parameters is contained by the row in the database.

In the second example, we have flipped the parameters and operator around. We are looking for rows from the database table which contain the elements of an array composed of the two strings passed in as parameters.

(query (:order-by
        (:select '* :from 'receipes
                 :where (:<@ (:array[] '$1 '$2)
                             'tags))
        'name)
       "tomatoes" "cheese")

'(("Manakeesh"
   #("meat" "cheese" "zaatar" "kishik" "tomatoes" "cucumbers" "mint leaves"
     "olives")))

(query (:order-by
        (:select '* :from 'receipes
                 :where (:@> 'tags
                             (:array[] '$1 '$2)))
        'name)
       "tomatoes" "cheese")

'(("Manakeesh"
   #("meat" "cheese" "zaatar" "kishik" "tomatoes" "cucumbers" "mint leaves"
     "olives")))

In the following two examples, we do something similar, but we are looking to see if the tags array in any row in the database table is a subset of the small two element array we are passing in. The answer is nil.

(query (:order-by
        (:select '* :from 'receipes
                 :where (:@> (:array[] '$1 '$2)
                             'tags))
        'name)
       "tomatoes" "cheese")

nil

(query (:order-by
        (:select '* :from 'receipes
                 :where (:<@ 'tags
                             (:array[] '$1 '$2)))
        'name)
       "tomatoes" "cheese")

nil

Array Operators

Array Comparison Operators

Per postgresql documentation array comparisons compare the array contents element-by-element, using the default B-tree comparison function for the element data type. In multidimensional arrays the elements are visited in row-major order (last subscript varies most rapidly). If the contents of two arrays are equal but the dimensionality is different, the first difference in the dimensionality information determines the sort order.

Form is (:operator array1 array2)

:= Equality Comparison (Are two arrays equal on an element by element basis)

(query (:select (:= (:array[] 1 2 3) (:array[] 1 2 3)))
       :single)
T

(query (:select (:= (:array[] "a" "b" "c") (:array[] "a" "b" "c")))
       :single)
T

(query (:select (:= (:type (:array[] 1 2 3) integer[]) (:array[] 1 2 3)))
       :single)
T

(query (:select (:= (:array[] 1 2 3) (:array[] 1 4 3)))
       :single)
nil

(query (:select (:= (:type (:array[] 1 2 3) integer[]) (:array[] 1 2 3 5)))
       :single)

nil

(let ((arry1 #(1 2 3)) (arry2 #(1 2 3)))
  (query (:select (:= arry1 arry2))
         :single))
T

:<> Not Equal Comparison

(query (:select (:<> (:array[] 1 2 3) (:array[] 1 2 4)))
       :single)
T

:< Less Than Comparison

(query (:select (:< (:array[] 1 2 3) (:array[] 1 2 4)))
       :single)
T

:> Greater Than Comparison

(query (:select (:> (:array[] 1 4 3) (:array[] 1 2 4)))
       :single)
T

:>= Greater Than or Equal to Comparison

(query (:select (:>= (:array[] 1 4 3) (:array[] 1 4 3)))
       :single)
T

:<= Less Than or Equal To Comparison

(query (:select (:<= (:array[] 1 2 3) (:array[] 1 2 3)))
       :single)
T

:@> Contains Comparison

(query (:select (:@> (:array[] 1 4 3) (:array[] 3 1)))
       :single)
T

(query (:select (:@> (:array[] 1 4 73) (:array[] 3 0)))
       :single)
nil

:<@ Is Contained By Comparison

(query (:select (:<@ (:array[] 2 7) (:array[] 1 7 4 2 6)))
        :single)
T

(query (:select (:<@ (:array[] 1 4 3) (:array[] 3 1)))
       :single)
nil

:&& Has Elements in Common Comparison

(query (:select (:&& (:array[] 1 4 3) (:array[] 3 1)))
       :single)
T

Array Concatenation Operators

Form (:|| item1 item2 …)

:|| Concatentation Arrays and Elements

(query (:select (:|| 3 (:array[] 4 5 6)))
       :single)

#(3 4 5 6)

(query (:select (:|| (:array[] 4 5 6) 7))
       :single)

#(4 5 6 7)

(query (:select (:|| (:array[] 1 2) (:array[] 3 4)))
       :single)

#(1 2 3 4)

(query (:select (:|| 1 (:type "[0:1]={2,3}" int[])))
       :single)

#(1 2 3)

(query (:select (:|| 3 (:array[] 4 5 6) (:array[] 7 8 9) 10))
       :single)
#(3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10)

:|| Concatenation with Multi-Dimensional Arrays

(query (:select (:|| (:array[] 1 2 3) (:array[] (:array[] 4 5 6) (:array[] 7 8 9))))
       :single)

#2A((1 2 3) (4 5 6) (7 8 9))

Array functions

Array-prepend

Form: (:array-prepend (array1 element)) Appends an element to the beginning of an array

(query (:select (:array-prepend 1 (:array[] 2 3)))
       :single)

#(1 2 3)

array-append

Form: (:array-append (array1 element)) Appends an element to the end of an array.

(query (:select (:array-append (:array[] 4 5 6) 7))
       :single)

#(4 5 6 7)

array-cat

Form: (:array-cat (array1 array2)) Concatenates two arrays. No more, no less. Both arrays need to have the same data type. They do not need to be the same length.

(query (:select (:array-cat (:array[] 1 2) (:array[] 3 4)))
       :single)

#(1 2 3 4)

(query (:select (:array-cat (:array[] (:array[] 1 2) (:array[] 3 4)) (:array[] 5 6)))
       :single)

#2A((1 2) (3 4) (5 6))

(query (:select (:array-cat (:array[] 1 2) (:array[] 3 4 5)))
       :single)

#(1 2 3 4 5)

array-ndims

Form: (:array-ndims (array)) Array-ndims returns the number of dimensions of an array.

(query (:select (:array-ndims (:array[] (:array[] 1 2 3) (:array[] 4 5 6))))
       :single)
2

array-dims

Form: (:array-dims (array1)) Array-dims returns a text representation of an array's dimensions.

(query (:select (:array-dims (:array[] (:array[] 1 2 3) (:array[] 4 5 6))))
       :single)
"[1:2][1:3]"

array-fill

Form: (:array-fill (value array-dimension)) Array-fill returns an array initialized with supplied value and length. This only works with one dimensional arrays


(query (:select (:array-fill 7 (:array[] 3))) :single)

#(7 7 7)

array-length

Form: (:array-length (array1 array-dimension)) Returns the length of the requested array dimension. In the following example, we request the first array dimension.

(query (:select (:array-length (:array[] 1 2 3) 1 ))
       :single)
3

(query (:select (:array-length (:array[] #(#(1 2 3)#(4 5 6))) 1)) :single)

1

(query (:select (:array-length (:array[] #(#(1 2 3)#(4 5 6))) 2)) :single)

2

array-lower

Form: (:array-lower (&rest args)) Array-lower returns the lower bound of the requested array dimension.

(query (:select (:array-lower (:type "[0:2]={1,2,3}" integer[]) 1))
       :single)
0

array-position

Form: (:array-position (array element starting-point-if-not-one)) Array-position returns the subscript of the first occurrence of the second argument in the array, starting at the element indicated by the third argument or at the first element. The array must be one-dimensional. Requires postgresql version 9.5 or newer.

(query (:select (:array-position (:array[] "sun" "mon" "tue" "wed" "thu" "fri" "sat") "mon"))
       :single)
2

array-positions

Form: (:array-positions (array element)) Array-positions (note the plural) returns an array of subscripts of all occurrences of the second argument in the array given as the first argument. The array must be one-dimensional. Requires postgresql version 9.5 or newer.

(query (:select (:array-positions (:array[] "A" "A" "B" "A") "A"))
       :single)

#(1 2 4)

array-remove

Form: (:array-remove (array element)) Array-remove removes all elements equal to the given value from the array (array must be one-dimensional). Requires postgresql 9.3 or newer.

(query (:select (:array-remove (:array[] "A" "A" "B" "A") "B"))
       :single)

#("A" "A" "A")

Obviously inside a selection query array-remove only removes the elements from the returning set and does not change the underlying data..

array-replace

Form: (:array-replace (array element-to-be-replaced element-used-as-replacement)) Array-replaces replaces each array element equal to the given value with a new value. Requires postgresql 9.3 or newer.

(query (:select (:array-replace (:array[] 1 2 5 4) 5 3))
       :single)

#(1 2 3 4)

array-to-string

Form: (:array-to-string (array delimiter optional-null-string)) Array-to-string concatenates array elements using supplied delimiter and optional null string.

(query (:select (:array-to-string (:array[] 1 2 3 :NULL 5) "," "*"))
       :single)

"1,2,3,*,5"

array-upper

Form: (:array-upper (array int)) Array-upper returns upper bound of the requested array dimension.

(query (:select (:array-upper (:array[] 1 8 3 7) 1))
       :single)
4

cardinality

Form: (:cardinality (array)) Returns the total number of elements in the array or 0 if the array is empty. Requires postgresql 9.4 or newer.

(query (:select (:array-length (:array[] 1 2 3) 1 ))
       :single)
3

string-to-array

Form: (:string-to-array (text delimiter optional-null-string)) String-to-array splits a string into array elements using the supplied delimiter and optional null string.

(query (:select (:string-to-array "xx~^~yy~^~zz" "~^~" "yy"))
       :single)

#("xx" :NULL "zz")

unnest

Form: (:unnest (array)) Unnest expands an array to a set of rows.

(query (:select (:unnest (:array[] 1 2))))

'((1) (2))

It is possible to call unnest with multiple arrays, but this is only allowed in the from clause of the query. See https://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/queries-table-expressions.html#QUERIES-TABLEFUNCTIONS

array-agg

Form: (:array-agg (expression)) Array-agg returns the result in an array (both sql and, in postmodern, a lisp array).

Note the fourth example (available only in postgresql versions 9.4 or newer) filters out null values.

Like all the aggregate functions, you can pass :filter, :distinct or :order-by (in that order) as additional parameters.

(query (:select (:array-agg 'name) :from 'receipes) :single)

#("Fattoush" "Shawarma" "Baba Ghanoush" "Shish Taouk" "Kibbe nayeh" "Manakeesh"
  "Fakafek" "Tabbouleh" "Kofta" "Kunafeh" "Baklava")

(query (:select (:array-agg 'city :distinct)
        :from 'employee)
  :single)

#("New York" "Toronto" "Vancouver")

(query (:select (:array-agg 'city :distinct :order-by (:desc 'city))
        :from 'employee)
  :single)

#("Vancouver" "Toronto" "New York")

(query (:select 'city (:array-agg 'salary :filter (:< 'salary 50000))
        :from 'employee
        :group-by 'city))

(("Vancouver" #(14420 26020)) ("New York" #(40420 40620)) ("Toronto" #(24020)))

NULL and nil

An empty array will be returned by postmodern as nil.

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