Scalar SQL UDF

A scalar SQL UDF is a user-defined function that returns a single value, such as the sum of a group of values. Scalar UDFs are different than table-value functions, which return a result set in the form of a table.


The following example shows the correct syntax for simple scalar SQL UDF’s returning the type name:

$ create_function_statement ::=
$     CREATE [ OR REPLACE ] FUNCTION function_name (argument_list)
$     RETURNS return_type
$     AS $$
$     { function_body }
$     ;
$ function_name ::= identifier
$ argument_list :: = { value_name type_name [, ...] }
$ value_name ::= identifier
$ return_type ::= type_name
$ function_body ::= A valid SQL statement


Support for Different Syntax

Scalar SQL UDF supports standard functionality even when different syntax is used.

In the example below, the syntax dateadd is used instead of add_months, although the function of each is identical. In addition, the operation works correctly even though the order of the expressions in add_months (dt, datetime, and n int) is different than MONTH, n, and dt in dateadd.

$ CREATE or replace FUNCTION add_months(dt datetime,n int)
$ RETURNS datetime
$ AS $$
$ SELECT  dateadd(MONTH ,n,dt)

Manipulating Strings

The Scalar SQL UDF can be used to manipulate strings.

The following example shows the correct syntax for converting a TEXT date to the DATE type:

$ CREATE or replace FUNCTION  STR_TO_DATE(f text)
$ RETURNS date
$ AS $$
$ select (substring(f,1,4)||'-'||substring(f,5,2)||'-'||substring(f,7,2))::date

Manually Building Functionality

You can use the Scalar SQL UDF to manually build functionality for otherwise unsupported operations.

$ CREATE OR REPLACE function "least_sq" (a float, b float) -- Replace the LEAST(from hql) function
$ returns float as
$ $$select case
$            when a <= b then a
$            when b < a then b
$            when a is null then b
$            when b is null then a
$            else null
$          end;
$ $$
$ language sql;

Usage Notes

  • During this stage, the SQL embedded in the function body must be of the type SELECT expr;. Creating a UDF with invalid SQL, or with valid SQL of any other type, results in an error.

  • As with Python UDFs, the argument list can be left empty.

  • A function cannot (directly or indirectly) reference itself (such as by referencing another function that references it).

Since SQL UDF’s are one type of supported UDFs, the following Python UDF characteristics apply:


  • Simple scalar SQL UDF’s cannot currently reference other UDFs.

  • Like Python UDF’s, Sqream does not support overloading.