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pgScript Scripting Language Reference


pgScript is composed of pgScript commands:
pgScript command
    : Regular PostgreSQL SQL Command (SELECT INSERT CREATE ...)
    | Variable declaration or assignment (DECLARE SET)
    | Control-of-flow structure (IF WHILE)
Command names (SELECTIFSET, ...) are case-insensitive and must be ended with a semi-column ;. Identifiers are case-sensitive.


Batch table creations

DECLARE @I, @T; -- Variable names begin with a @
SET @I = 0; -- @I is an integer
WHILE @I < 20
   SET @T = 'table' + CAST (@I AS STRING); -- Casts @I
   CREATE TABLE @T (id integer primary key, data text);

   SET @I = @I + 1;

Insert random data

DECLARE @I, @J, @T, @G;
SET @I = 0;
SET @G1 = INTEGER(10, 29, 1); /* Random integer generator
                             Unique numbers between 10 and 29 */
SET @G2 = STRING(10, 20, 3); /* Random string generator
                             3 words between 10 and 20 characters */
WHILE @I < 20
    SET @T = 'table' + CAST (@I AS STRING);

SET @J = 0;
    WHILE @J < 20
        INSERT INTO @T VALUES (@G1, '@G2');
        SET @J = @J + 1;

SET @I = @I + 1;

Batch table deletions

DECLARE @I, @T; -- Declaring is optional
SET @I = 0;
WHILE 1 -- Always true
    IF @I >= 20
      BREAK; -- Exit the loop if @I > 20

 SET @T = 'table' + CAST (@I AS STRING);

 SET @I = @I + 1;

SQL Commands

You can run ANY PostgreSQL query from a pgScript EXCEPT those ones:
This is because BEGIN and END are used for delimiting blocks. Instead use:


There are two main types of variables : simple variables and records (result sets composed of lines and columns).
Variable names begin with a @ and can be composed of letters, digits, _#@.
Variable type is guessed automatically according to the kind of value it contains. This can be one of: number (real or integer), string, record.

Simple variables

Simple variable declaration

Declaring simple variable is optional:

Simple variable affectation

This is done with the SET command. The variable type depends on the value assigned to this variable:
SET @A = 1000, @B = 2000;   -- @A and @B are <strong>integer numbers**
SET @C = 10e1, @D = 1.5;    -- @C and @D are <strong>real numbers**
SET @E = 'ab', @F = 'a''b'; -- @E and @F are <strong>strings**
SET @G = "ab", @H = "a\"b"; -- @G and @H are <strong>strings**
An uninitialized variable defaults to an empty string. It is possible to override variables as many times as wanted:
PRINT @A;      -- Prints an empty string
SET @A = 1000; -- @A is initialized an integer
PRINT @A;      -- Prints 1000
SET @A = 'ab'; -- @A becomes a string
PRINT @A;      -- Prints ab

Data generators

Data generators allows users to generate random values. There are various types of generators, each one producing different type of data. A variable initialized with a data generator behaves like a regular simple variable except that it has a different value each time it is used:
SET @A = INTEGER(100, 200);
PRINT @A; -- Prints an integer between 100 and 200
PRINT @A; -- Prints another integer between 100 and 200
A variable can contain a generator but its type is one of: number (real or integer), string. For a list of available generators and their associated type, see generators.


Record declaration

Declaring a record is required. A name for each column must be specified even if they will not be used anymore afterwards:
DECLARE @R1 { @A, @B }, @R2 { @A, @C }; -- Two records with two  columns
DECLARE @R3 { @A, @B, @C, @D };         -- One record  with four columns
The number of lines is dynamic: see the next section.

Record affectation

To access a specific location in a record, one must use the line number (starts at 0) and can use either the column name (between quotes) or the column number (starts at 0). This specific location behaves like a simple variable. Note that a record cannot contain a record:
SET @R1[0]['@A'] = 1; -- First line &amp; first column
SET @R1[0][0] = 1;    -- Same location
SET @R1[4]['@B'] = 1; -- Fifth line &amp; second column
SET @R1[0][1] = 1;    -- Same location
In the above example, three empty lines are automatically inserted between the first and the fifth. Using an invalid column number or name results in an exception.
Specific location can be used as right values as well. A specific line can also be used as right value:
SET @R1[0][0] = @R3[0][1], @A = @R2[0][0]; -- Behaves like simple variables
SET @A = @R1[1]; -- @A becomes a record which is the first line of @R1
Remember that SET @R1[0][0] = @R2 is impossible because a record cannot contain a record.
It is possible to assign a record to a variable, in this case the variable does not need to be declared:
SET @A = @R3; -- @A becomes a record because it is assigned a record

SQL queries

Any SQL query executed returns a record. If the query is a SELECT query then it returns the results of the query. If it is something else then it returns a one-line record (true) if this is a success otherwise a zero-line record (false):
SET @A = SELECT * FROM table;   -- @A is a record with the results of the query
SET @B = INSERT INTO table ...; -- @B is a one-line record if the query succeeds

Record functions

See function2.


It is possible to convert a variable from one type to another with the cast function:
When a record is converted to a string, it is converted to its flat representation. When converted to a number, the record is first converted to a string and then to a number (see string conversion for more details).
When a number is converted to a string, it is converted to its string representation. When converted to a record, it is converted to a one-line-one-column record whose value is the number.
When a string is converted to a number, if the string represents a number then this number is returned else an exception is thrown. When converted to a record, either the program can find a record pattern in the string or it converts it to a one-line-one-column record whose value is the string. A record pattern is:
SET @B = '(1, "abc", "ab\\"")(1, "abc", "ab\\"")'; -- @B is a string
SET @B = CAST (@B AS RECORD); @B becomes a two-line-three-column record
Remember a string is surrounded by simple quotes. Strings composing a record must be surrounded by double quotes which are escaped with \\ (we double the slash because it is already a special character for the enclosing simple quotes).


Operations can only be performed between operands of the same type. Cast values in order to conform to this criterion.
Comparisons result in a number which is 0 or 1.


Comparisons: = <> > < <= >= AND OR
Concatenation: +
SET @B = @A + 'abcdef'; -- @A must be a string and @B will be a string
Boolean value: non-empty string is true, empty string is false
Inverse boolean value: NOT
Case-insensitive comparison: ~=


Comparisons: = <> > < <= >= AND OR
Arithmetic: + - * / %
SET @A = CAST ('10' AS INTEGER) + 5; -- '10' string is converted to a number
Boolean value: 0 is false, anything else is true
Inverse boolean value: NOT (note that NOT NOT 10 = 1)
An arithmetic operation involving at least one real number gives a real number as a result:
SET @A = 10 / 4.; -- 4. is a real so real division: @A = 2.5
SET @A = 10 / 4;  -- 4 is an integer so integer division: @A = 2


Comparisons: = <> > < <= >= AND OR
Boolean value: zero-line record is false, anything else is true
Inverse boolean value: NOT
Comparisons for records are about inclusion and exclusion. Order of lines does not matter. <= means that each row in the left operand has a match in the right operand. >= means the opposite. = means that <= and >= are both true at the same time...
Comparisons are performed on strings: even if a record contains numbers like 10 and 1e1 we will have '10' <> '1e1'.

Control-of-flow structures

Conditional structure

IF condition
    pgScript commands
    pgScript commands
pgScript commands are optional. BEGIN and END keywords are optional if there is only one pgScript command.

Loop structure

WHILE condition
    pgScript commands
pgScript commands are optional. BEGIN and END keywords are optional if there is only one pgScript command.
BREAK ends the enclosing WHILE loop, while CONTINUE causes the next iteration of the loop to execute. RETURN behaves like BREAK:
WHILE condition1
    IF condition2


Conditions are in fact results of operations. For example the string comparison 'ab' = 'ac' will result in a number which is false (the equality is not true):
IF 'ab' ~= 'AB' -- Case-insensitive comparison which result in 1 (true) which is true
    -- This happens

IF 0 -- false
    -- This does **not** happen
    -- This happens

    -- Infinite loop: use BREAK for exiting
It is possible to the result of a SQL SELECT query directly as a condition. The query needs to be surrounded by parenthesis:
IF (SELECT 1 FROM table)
    -- This means that table exists otherwise the condition would be false

Additional functions and procedures


Procedures do not return a result. They must be used alone on a line and cannot be assigned to a variable.


Prints an expression on the screen:
PRINT 'The value of @A is' + CAST (@A AS STRING);


Throws an exception if the expression evaluated is false:
ASSERT 5 &gt; 3 AND 'a' = 'a';

Remove line

Removes the specified line of a record:
RMLINE(@R[1]); -- Removes @R second line


Functions do return a result. Their return value can be assigned to a variable, like the CAST operation.


Removes extra spaces surrounding a string:
SET @A = TRIM(' a '); -- @A = 'a'</pre>


Gives the number of lines in a record:
IF LINES(@R) &gt; 0
    -- Process


Gives the number of columns in a record:
IF COLUMNS(@R) &gt; 0
    -- Process

Random data generators

Overview of the generators

One can assign a variable (SET) with a random data generators. This means each time the variable will be used it will have a different value.
However the variable is still used as usual:
SET @G = STRING(10, 20, 2);
SET @A = @G; -- @A will hold a random string
SET @B = @G; -- @B will hold another random string
PRINT @G,    -- This will print another third random string

Sequence and seeding

Common parameters for data generators are sequence and seed.
sequence means that a sequence of values is generated in a random order, in other words each value appears only once before the sequence starts again: this is useful for columns with a UNIQUE constraint. For example, this generator:
SET @G = INTEGER(10, 15, 1); -- 1 means generate a sequence
It can generate such values:
14 12 10 13 11 15 14 12 10 13 11
Where each number appears once before the sequence starts repeating.
sequence parameter must be an integer: if it is 0 then no sequence is generated (default) and if something other than 0 then generate a sequence.
seed is an integer value for initializing a generator: two generators with the same parameters and the same seed will generate exactly the same values.
seed must be an integer: it is used directly to initialize the random data generator.

Data generators

Optional parameters are put into brackets:
 : INTEGER ( min, max, [sequence], [seed] );
 | REAL ( min, max, precision, [sequence], [seed] );
 | DATE ( min, max, [sequence], [seed] );
 | TIME ( min, max, [sequence], [seed] );
 | DATETIME ( min, max, [sequence], [seed] );
 | STRING ( min, max, [nb], [seed] );
 | REGEX ( regex, [seed] );
 | FILE ( path, [sequence], [seed], [encoding] );
 | REFERENCE ( table, column, [sequence], [seed] );

Integer numbers

INTEGER ( min, max, [sequence], [seed] );
INTEGER ( -10, 10, 1, 123456 );
min is an integer, max is an integer, sequence is an integer and seed is an integer.

Real numbers

REAL ( min, max, precision, [sequence], [seed] );
REAL ( 1.5, 1.8, 2, 1 );
min is a number, max is a number, precision is an integer that indicates the number of decimals (should be less than 30), sequence is an integer and seed is an integer.


DATE ( min, max, [sequence], [seed] );
DATE ( '2008-05-01', '2008-05-05', 0 );
min is a string representing a date, max is a string representing a date, sequence is an integer and seed is an integer.


TIME ( min, max, [sequence], [seed] );
TIME ( '00:30:00', '00:30:15', 0 );
min is a string representing a time, max is a string representing a time, sequence is an integer and seed is an integer.

Timestamps (date/times)

DATETIME ( min, max, [sequence], [seed] );
DATETIME ( '2008-05-01 14:00:00', '2008-05-05 15:00:00', 1 );
min is a string representing a timestamp, max is a string representing a timestamp, sequence is an integer and seed is an integer.


STRING ( min, max, [nb], [seed] );
STRING ( 10, 20, 5 );
min is an integer representing the minimum length of a word, max is an integer representing the maximum length of a word, nb is an integer representing the number of words (default: 1) and seed is an integer.
In the above example we generate 5 words (separated with a space) whose size is between 10 and 20 characters.

Strings from regular expressions

REGEX ( regex, [seed] );
REGEX ( '[a-z]{1,3}@[0-9]{3}' );
regex is a string representing a simplified regular expressions and seed is an integer.
Simplified regular expressions are composed of:
  • Sets of possible characters like [a-z_.] for characters between a and z + _ and .
  • Single characters
It is possible to specify the minimum and maximum length of the preceding set or single character:
  • {min, max} like {1,3} which stands for length between 1 and 3
  • {min} like {3} which stands for length of 3
  • Default (when nothing is specified) is length of 1
Note: be careful with spaces because 'a {3}' means one a followed by three spaces because the 3 is about the last character or set of characters which is a space in this example.
If you need to use [ ] \ { or }, they must be escaped because they are special characters. Remember to use double backslash'\\[{3}' for three [.

Strings from dictionary files

FILE ( path, [sequence], [seed], [encoding] );
FILE ( 'file.txt', 0, 54321, 'utf-8' );
path is a string representing the path to a text file, sequence is an integer, seed is an integer and encoding is a string representing the file character set (default is system encoding).
This generates a random integer between 1 and the number of lines in the file and then returns that line. If the file does not exist then an exception is thrown.
encoding supports the most known encoding like utf-8, utf-16le, utf-16be, iso-8859-1, ...

Reference to another field

REFERENCE ( table, column, [sequence], [seed] );
REFERENCE ( 'tab', 'col', 1 );
table is a string representing a table, column is a string representing a column of the table, sequence is an integer and seed is an integer.
This is useful for generating data to put into foreign-key-constrained columns.


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