43.4. Global Data in PL/Tcl

Sometimes it is useful to have some global data that is held between two calls to a function or is shared between different functions. This is easily done in PL/Tcl, but there are some restrictions that must be understood.

For security reasons, PL/Tcl executes functions called by any one SQL role in a separate Tcl interpreter for that role. This prevents accidental or malicious interference by one user with the behavior of another user's PL/Tcl functions. Each such interpreter will have its own values for any “global” Tcl variables. Thus, two PL/Tcl functions will share the same global variables if and only if they are executed by the same SQL role. In an application wherein a single session executes code under multiple SQL roles (via SECURITY DEFINER functions, use of SET ROLE , etc) you may need to take explicit steps to ensure that PL/Tcl functions can share data. To do that, make sure that functions that should communicate are owned by the same user, and mark them SECURITY DEFINER . You must of course take care that such functions can't be used to do anything unintended.

All PL/TclU functions used in a session execute in the same Tcl interpreter, which of course is distinct from the interpreter(s) used for PL/Tcl functions. So global data is automatically shared between PL/TclU functions. This is not considered a security risk because all PL/TclU functions execute at the same trust level, namely that of a database superuser.

To help protect PL/Tcl functions from unintentionally interfering with each other, a global array is made available to each function via the upvar command. The global name of this variable is the function's internal name, and the local name is GD . It is recommended that GD be used for persistent private data of a function. Use regular Tcl global variables only for values that you specifically intend to be shared among multiple functions. (Note that the GD arrays are only global within a particular interpreter, so they do not bypass the security restrictions mentioned above.)

An example of using GD appears in the spi_execp example below.