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plv8x helps you manage functions and packages in plv8, postgresql's javascript procedural language support.

Quick start with docker

Using the docker-based postgresql with plv8js enabled:

% docker run -p 5433:5432 -d --name postgres clkao/postgres-plv8:9.4

% createdb -U postgres -h -p 5433 test
% export PLV8XDB=postgres://postgres@

% plv8x --list
plv8x: 392.25 kB

# import the qs package from npm
% npm i qs; plv8x -i qs; plv8x --list
plv8x: 392.25 kB
qs: 9.37 kB

# this is now evaluated inside postgresql
% plv8x -e 'require("qs").parse("foo=bar&baz=1")'
{ foo: 'bar', baz: '1' }

# .. which  is actually equivalent to:
% psql $PLV8DB -c 'select |> $$ require("qs").parse("foo=bar&baz=1") $$'
(1 row)

Install plv8js

Note: Requires postgresql 9.0 or later.

postgresql PGDG apt respository now ships plv8js extension:

wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install postgresql-9.2-plv8

Or you can install with pgxnclient:

sudo easy_install pgxnclient
sudo pgxn install plv8

Install LiveScript (pre-requisite)

% npm i -g LiveScript

Install plv8x

% git clone git://; cd plv8x
% npm i -g .

Quick start

Enable plv8x for your database:

% createdb test
% plv8x -d test -l
plv8x: 491425 bytes

We support synonymous PLV8XDB and PLV8XCONN environment variables, so there's no need to type -d over and over again on the command line:

% export PLV8XDB=test

To connect with ident (local Unix user) authentication, specify the path to the socket directory with -d:

% plv8x -d /var/run/postgresql -l
plv8x: 491425 bytes

Now create some test data with json columns: (example table from Postgres 9.3 feature highlight: JSON operators)

% psql test
test=# CREATE TABLE aa (a int, b json);
test=# INSERT INTO aa VALUES (1, '{"f1":1,"f2":true,"f3":"Hi I''m \"Daisy\""}');
test=# INSERT INTO aa VALUES (2, '{"f1":{"f11":11,"f12":12},"f2":2}');
test=# INSERT INTO aa VALUES (3, '{"f1":[1,"Robert \"M\"",true],"f2":[2,"Kevin \"K\"",false]}');

Instead of b->'f1', we use b~>'this.f1', which means bind b as this and evaluate the right hand side (this.f1):

test=# SELECT b~>'this.f1' AS f1, b~>'this.f3' AS f3 FROM aa WHERE a = 1;
 f1 |         f3
 1  | "Hi I'm \"Daisy\""

If you like coffee, @ works too:

test=# SELECT b~>'@f1' AS f1, b~>'@f3' AS f3 FROM aa WHERE a = 1;
 f1 |         f3
 1  | "Hi I'm \"Daisy\""

For multiple keys, you can of course do b~>'@f1'~>'@f12', but single expression will do:

test=# SELECT b~>'@f1'~>'@f12' AS f12_long, b~>'@f1.f12' AS f12 FROM aa WHERE a = 2;
 f12_long | f12
 12       | 12

Ditto for arrays:

postgres=# SELECT b~>'@f1[0]' as f1_0 FROM aa WHERE a = 3;

Unary ~> for just evaluating the expression:

test=# SELECT ~>'[1 to 10]' AS f1

~> is actually a shorthand for |> '~>...'. Using raw |> for plain old javascript:

test=# SELECT '{"foo": [1,2,3]}'::json |> 'function() { return[1] }';

Expression works too:

test=# SELECT '{"foo": [1,2,3]}'::json |> 'return[1]';


test=# SELECT '{"foo": [1,2,3]}'::json |> '@foo[1]';

<| is |> reversed:

test=# SELECT '@foo.1 * 5' <| '{"foo": [1,2,3]}'::json

|> as unary operator:

test=# SELECT |> '~> plv8x.require "LiveScript" .compile "-> \Hello" {+bare}';
 "(function(){\n  return Hello;\n});"

Importing nodejs modules and creating user functions

Let's try reusing some existing npm modules:

% npm i -g qs
% plv8x -i qs # same as: plv8x -i qs:/path/to/qs/package.json
% psql test

# parse a query string
test=# SELECT |>'require("qs").parse("foo=bar&baz=1")' AS qs;

# actually use the parsed query string as json
test=# SELECT qs~>'@foo' AS foo FROM  (SELECT ~>'require("qs").parse("foo=bar&baz=1")' AS qs) a;

# create a user function from qs so we don't have to require it:
% plv8x -f 'plv8x.json parse_qs(text)=qs:parse'
ok plv8x.json parse_qs(text)
# Now parse_qs is a postgresql function:
test=# SELECT parse_qs('foo=bar&baz=1') AS qs;

Calling conventions for user functions

We support both synchronous and async functions, as well as bare functions defined in module.exports.

By default, the first two arguments to an async (back-call) function is taken to be error and result respectively:

% plv8x -f 'fn(text):text=pkg:'           # out = pkg(x)
% plv8x -f 'fn(text):text=pkg:method'     # out = pkg.method(in)
% plv8x -f 'fn(text):text=pkg:<-'         # pkg(x, cb(err, out))
% plv8x -f 'fn(text):text=pkg:<-method'   # pkg.method(x, cb(err, out))

Using an underscore, one can specify exactly which async callback parameter to expect from the lifted function:

% plv8x -f 'fn(text):text=pkg:<-'         # pkg(x, cb(err, out))
% plv8x -f 'fn(text):text=pkg:_<-'        # pkg(x, cb(out))
% plv8x -f 'fn(text):text=pkg:,_<-'       # pkg(x, cb(_0, out))
% plv8x -f 'fn(text):text=pkg:,,_<-'      # pkg(x, cb(_0, _1, out))