Interaction with the Trigger Manager

16.2. Interaction with the Trigger Manager

This section describes the low-level details of the interface to a trigger function. This information is only needed when writing a trigger function in C. If you are using a higher-level function language then these details are handled for you.

Note: The interface described here applies for PostgreSQL 7.1 and later. Earlier versions passed the TriggerData pointer in a global variable CurrentTriggerData.

When a function is called by the trigger manager, it is not passed any normal parameters, but it is passed a "context" pointer pointing to a TriggerData structure. C functions can check whether they were called from the trigger manager or not by executing the macro CALLED_AS_TRIGGER(fcinfo), which expands to

((fcinfo)->context != NULL && IsA((fcinfo)->context, TriggerData))

If this returns true, then it is safe to cast fcinfo->context to type TriggerData * and make use of the pointed-to TriggerData structure. The function must not alter the TriggerData structure or any of the data it points to.

struct TriggerData is defined in commands/trigger.h:

typedef struct TriggerData
    NodeTag       type;
    TriggerEvent  tg_event;
    Relation      tg_relation;
    HeapTuple     tg_trigtuple;
    HeapTuple     tg_newtuple;
    Trigger      *tg_trigger;
} TriggerData;

where the members are defined as follows:


Always T_TriggerData if this is a trigger event.


describes the event for which the function is called. You may use the following macros to examine tg_event:


returns TRUE if trigger fired BEFORE.


Returns TRUE if trigger fired AFTER.


Returns TRUE if trigger fired for a ROW-level event.


Returns TRUE if trigger fired for STATEMENT-level event.


Returns TRUE if trigger fired by INSERT.


Returns TRUE if trigger fired by DELETE.


Returns TRUE if trigger fired by UPDATE.


is a pointer to structure describing the triggered relation. Look at utils/rel.h for details about this structure. The most interesting things are tg_relation->rd_att (descriptor of the relation tuples) and tg_relation->rd_rel->relname (relation's name. This is not char*, but NameData. Use SPI_getrelname(tg_relation) to get char* if you need a copy of the name).


is a pointer to the tuple for which the trigger is fired. This is the tuple being inserted (if INSERT), deleted (if DELETE) or updated (if UPDATE). If INSERT/DELETE then this is what you are to return to Executor if you don't want to replace tuple with another one (INSERT) or skip the operation.


is a pointer to the new version of tuple if UPDATE and NULL if this is for an INSERT or a DELETE. This is what you are to return to Executor if UPDATE and you don't want to replace this tuple with another one or skip the operation.


is pointer to structure Trigger defined in utils/rel.h:

typedef struct Trigger
    Oid         tgoid;
    char       *tgname;
    Oid         tgfoid;
    int16       tgtype;
    bool        tgenabled;
    bool        tgisconstraint;
    Oid         tgconstrrelid;
    bool        tgdeferrable;
    bool        tginitdeferred;
    int16       tgnargs;
    int16       tgattr[FUNC_MAX_ARGS];
    char      **tgargs;
} Trigger;

where tgname is the trigger's name, tgnargs is number of arguments in tgargs, tgargs is an array of pointers to the arguments specified in the CREATE TRIGGER statement. Other members are for internal use only.

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