pg.lisp -- socket level interface to the PostgreSQL RDBMS for Common Lisp
Author: Eric Marsden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Copyright (C) 1999,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005,2006 Eric Marsden
This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU Library General Public
License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU
Library General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU Library General Public
License along with this library; if not, write to the Free
Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
For download information, mailing lists for suggestions and bug
== Overview =========================================================
This module lets you access the PostgreSQL object-relational DBMS
from Common Lisp. The code implements the client part of the
socket-level frontend/backend protocol, rather than providing a
wrapper around the libpq library. The module is capable of type
coercions from a range of SQL types to the equivalent Lisp type.
The only non portable code is the use of 'socket-connect' and
(optional) some way of accessing the Unix crypt() function.
Works with CMUCL, SBCL, CLISP, OpenMCL, ABCL, ACL, Lispworks, and MCL.
CormanLisp has socket support but not for binary I/O.
== Entry points =======================================================
(with-pg-connection ((con &rest open-args) &body body)
A macro which opens a connection to database DBNAME, executes the
BODY forms then disconnects. See function `pg-connect' for details
of the connection arguments OPEN-ARGS.
(with-pg-transaction con &body body)
A macro which executes the BODY forms wrapped in an SQL transaction.
CON is a connection to the database. If an error occurs during the
execution of the forms, a ROLLBACK instruction is executed.
(pg-connect dbname user &key password host port) -> connection
Connect to the database DBNAME on HOST (defaults to localhost) at
PORT (defaults to 5432), and log in as USER. If HOST designates
an absolute pathname (its first character is #\/), attempt to
connect to the localhost using a Unix domain socket that resides
in that directory (for example "/var/run/postgresql/"); otherwise
HOST designates a hostname and the connection is established
using TCP/IP. Connections to unix sockets are not supported on
all implementations. If the database requires a password, send
PASSWORD (as clear text unless the backend demands crypt()
authentication). Set the output date type to 'ISO', and
initialize our type parser tables.
(pg-exec connection &rest sql) -> pgresult
Concatenate the SQL strings and send to the backend. Retrieve
all the information returned by the database and return it in
an opaque record PGRESULT.
(pg-result pgresult what &rest args) -> info
Extract information from the PGRESULT. WHAT can be one of
* :tuple tupleNumber
`connection' allows you to retrieve the database connection.
`status' is a string returned by the backend to indicate the
status of the command; it is normally "SELECT" for a select
command, "DELETE 1" if the deletion affected a single row, etc.
`attributes' is a list of tuples providing metadata: the first
component of each tuple is the attribute's name as a string,
the second an integer representing its PostgreSQL type, and the
third an integer representing the size of that type. `tuples'
returns all the data retrieved from the database, as a list of
lists, each list corresponding to one row of data returned by
the backend. `tuple num' can be used to extract a specific
tuple. `oid' allows you to retrieve the OID returned by the
backend if the command was an insertion; the OID is a unique
identifier for that row in the database (this is
PostgreSQL-specific, please refer to the documentation for more
(pg-for-each connection select-form callback)
Calls CALLBACK on each tuple returned by SELECT-FORM. Declares
a cursor for SELECT-FORM, then fetches tuples using repeated
executions of FETCH 1, until no results are left. The cursor is
then closed. The work is performed within a transaction. When
you have a large amount of data to handle, this usage is more
efficient than fetching all the tuples in one go.
(pg-disconnect connection &key abort) -> nil
Close the database connection. If the keyword argument ABORT is
non-NIL, the database connection is closed immediately, without
first attempting to send a disconnect packet to the PostgreSQL
=== Support for prepared statements ====================================
(pg-supports-pbe conn) -> boolean
Returns T iff the connection to the database is able to support
prepared statements. This is only true of connections using
version 3 of the frontend/backend protocol.
(pg-prepare conn statement-name sql &optional parameter-types)
Prepares an execution plan for a query (a prepared statement).
The prepared statement may contain arguments that are refered to
as $1, $2 etc; if arguments are present their types must be
declared via the list PARAMETER-TYPES. Each element of
PARAMETER-TYPES should be a string that defines the type of its
corresponding parameter (see PG::*TYPE-PARSERS* for examples of
type names used by PostgreSQL).
Using execution plans is more efficient than multiple calls to
PG-EXEC, since the parsing and query optimizing phase only occurs
once, at preparation time. It also helps to protect against "SQL
injection" attacks, by ensuring that arguments to an SQL query
cannot be interpreted as a part of the SQL request.
(pg-bind conn portal-name statement-name typed-arguments)
Binds the execution plan that was previously prepared as
STATEMENT-NAME to PORTAL-NAME, with TYPED-ARGUMENTS.
TYPED-ARGUMENTS is a list of tuples of the form '(type value),
where TYPE is one of :char, :byte, :int16, :int32, :string.
(pg-execute conn portal-name &optional maximal-return-rows)
Executes the execution plan that was previously bound to
PORTAL-NAME. Optionally returns up to MAXIMAL-RETURN-ROWS rows
(0 means an unlimited number of rows).
(pg-close-statement conn statement-name)
Releases the command execution plan (prepared statement)
STATEMENT-NAME. This also releases any open portals for that
(pg-close-portal conn portal-name)
Releases the portal PORTAL-NAME.
Example using prepared statements:
(defun delete-item (db-connection int-value string-value)
(pg-prepare db-connection "delete-statement"
"DELETE FROM items WHERE int_column = $1 AND string_column = $2"
(progn (pg-bind db-connection "delete-portal" "delete-statement"
`((:int32 ,int-value) (:string ,string-value)))
(pg-execute db-connection "delete-portal"))
;; NB: portal is closed automatically when statement is closed
(pg-close-statement db-connection "delete-statement")))
=== Introspection support ==============================================
(pg-databases connection) -> list of strings
Return a list of the databases available at this site (a
database is a set of tables; in a virgin PostgreSQL
installation there is a single database named "template1").
(pg-tables connection) -> list of strings
Return a list of the tables present in the database to which we
are currently connected. Only include user tables: system
tables are excluded.
(pg-columns connection table) -> list of strings
Return a list of the columns (or attributes) in TABLE, which
must be a table in the database to which we are currently
connected. We only include the column names; if you want more
detailed information (attribute types, for example), it can be
obtained from `pg-result' on a SELECT statement for that table.
=== Support for large objects (BLOBs) =================================
(pglo-create conn . args) -> oid
Create a new large object (BLOB, or binary large object in
other DBMSes parlance) in the database to which we are
connected via CONN. Returns an OID (which is represented as an
integer) which will allow you to use the large object.
Optional ARGS are a Unix-style mode string which determines the
permissions of the newly created large object, one of "r" for
read-only permission, "w" for write-only, "rw" for read+write.
Default is "r".
Large-object functions MUST be used within a transaction (see
the macro `with-pg-transaction').
(pglo-open conn oid . args) -> fd
Open a large object whose unique identifier is OID (an integer)
in the database to which we are connected via CONN. Optional ARGS
is a Unix-style mode string as for pglo-create; which defaults to
"r" read-only permissions. Returns a file descriptor (an integer)
which can be used in other large-object functions.
(pglo-close conn fd)
Close the file descriptor FD which was associated with a large
object. Note that this does not delete the large object; use
PGLO-UNLINK for that.
(pglo-read conn fd bytes) -> string
Read BYTES from the file descriptor FD which is associated with a
large object. Return a string which should be BYTES characters
(pglo-write connection fd buf)
Write the bytes contained in the string BUF to the large object
associated with the file descriptor FD.
(pglo-lseek conn fd offset whence)
Do the equivalent of a lseek(2) on the file descriptor FD which
is associated with a large object; ie reposition the read/write
file offset for that large object to OFFSET (an integer). WHENCE
has the same significance as in lseek(); it should be one of
SEEK_SET (set the offset to the absolute position), SEEK_CUR (set
the offset relative to the current offset) or SEEK_END (set the
offset relative to the end of the file). WHENCE should be an
integer whose values can be obtained from the header file
<unistd.h> (probably 0, 1 and 2 respectively).
(pglo-tell conn oid) -> integer
Do the equivalent of an ftell(3) on the file associated with
the large object whose unique identifier is OID. Returns the
current position of the file offset for the object's associated
file descriptor, as an integer.
(pglo-unlink conn oid)
Remove the large object whose unique identifier is OID from the
system (in the current implementation of large objects in
PostgreSQL, each large object is associated with an object in
(pglo-import conn filename) -> oid
Create a new large object and initialize it to the data contained
in the file whose name is FILENAME. Returns an OID (as an
integer). Note that is operation is only syntactic sugar around
the basic large-object operations listed above.
(pglo-export conn oid filename)
Create a new file named FILENAME and fill it with the contents
of the large object whose unique identifier is OID. This
operation is also syntactic sugar.
Boolean variable `*PG-DISABLE-TYPE-COERCION*' which can be set to
non-nil (before initiating a connection) to disable the library's
type coercion facility. Default is t.
SECURITY NOTE: please note that your postmaster has to be started
with the `-i' option in order for it to accept TCP/IP connections
(typically this is not the default setting). See the PostgreSQL
documentation at <URL:http://www.PostgreSQL.org/> for more
Setting up PostgreSQL to accept TCP/IP connections has security
implications; please consult the documentation for details. You can
connect to the database using Unix domain sockets if you wish to
avoid setting up PostgreSQL to listen on a TCP socket.
pg.lisp is able to use the crypt authentication method to avoid
sending the password in cleartext over the wire (this assumes access
to the `crypt' function via the FFI -- see sysdep.lisp). It can also
use md5 passwords (which are used with the WITH ENCRYPTED PASSWORD
form of the CREATE USER command), thanks to Pierre Mai's portable md5
library. It does not support the Kerberos authentication method, nor
OpenSSL connections (though this should not be difficult if your
Common Lisp implementation is able to open SSL streams).
It is also possible to use the port forwarding capabilities of ssh to
establish a connection to the backend over TCP/IP, which provides
both a secure authentication mechanism and encryption (and optionally
compression) of data passing through the tunnel. Here's how to do it
(thanks to Gene Selkov, Jr. <email@example.com> for the
1. Establish a tunnel to the backend machine, like this:
ssh -L 3333:backend.dom:5432 firstname.lastname@example.org
The first number in the -L argument, 3333, is the port number of
your end of the tunnel. The second number, 5432, is the remote
end of the tunnel -- the port number your backend is using. The
name or the address in between the port numbers belongs to the
server machine, as does the last argument to ssh that also includes
the optional user name. Without the user name, ssh will try the
name you are currently logged on as on the client machine. You can
use any user name the server machine will accept, not necessarily
those related to postgres.
2. Now that you have a running ssh session, you can point pg.lisp to
the local host at the port number which you specified in step 1.
(pg-connect "dbname" "user" :port 3333)
You can omit the port argument if you chose 5432 as the local
end of the tunnel, since pg.lisp defaults to this value.
At various times, this code has been tested or reported to work with
* CMUCL 18d, 18e, 19a, 19c on Solaris/SPARC and Linux/x86
* SBCL 0.9.2 to 0.9.16 on Linux/x86
* CLISP 2.30 on LinuxPPC and SPARC
* OpenMCL 0.13.x and 0.14.x on LinuxPPC
* Armed Bear Common Lisp
* ACL 6.1 trial/x86
* Lispworks 4.3 on Linux and Windows
* PostgreSQL versions 6.5, 7.0, 7.1.2, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 8.0, 8.1
You may be interested in using "pg-psql" by Harley Gorrell, which
provides a psql-like listener interface to PostgreSQL (together with
tabulated output), on top of this library. See