Chapter 46. Server Programming Interface

Table of Contents

The Server Programming Interface (SPI) gives writers of user-defined C functions the ability to run SQL commands inside their functions. SPI is a set of interface functions to simplify access to the parser, planner, and executor. SPI also does some memory management.


The available procedural languages provide various means to execute SQL commands from procedures. Most of these facilities are based on SPI, so this documentation might be of use for users of those languages as well.

To avoid misunderstanding we'll use the term “function” when we speak of SPI interface functions and “procedure” for a user-defined C-function that is using SPI.

Note that if a command invoked via SPI fails, then control will not be returned to your procedure. Rather, the transaction or subtransaction in which your procedure executes will be rolled back. (This might seem surprising given that the SPI functions mostly have documented error-return conventions. Those conventions only apply for errors detected within the SPI functions themselves, however.) It is possible to recover control after an error by establishing your own subtransaction surrounding SPI calls that might fail.

SPI functions return a nonnegative result on success (either via a returned integer value or in the global variable SPI_result , as described below). On error, a negative result or NULL will be returned.

Source code files that use SPI must include the header file executor/spi.h .