There are two special features of operator classes that we have
not discussed yet, mainly because they are not very useful
with the default B-tree index access method.
Normally, declaring an operator as a member of an operator class means
that the index access method can retrieve exactly the set of rows
that satisfy a WHERE condition using the operator. For example,
SELECT * FROM table WHERE integer_column < 4;
can be satisfied exactly by a B-tree index on the integer column.
But there are cases where an index is useful as an inexact guide to
the matching rows. For example, if an R-tree index stores only
bounding boxes for objects, then it cannot exactly satisfy a WHERE
condition that tests overlap between nonrectangular objects such as
polygons. Yet we could use the index to find objects whose bounding
box overlaps the bounding box of the target object, and then do the
exact overlap test only on the objects found by the index. If this
scenario applies, the index is said to be "lossy" for the
operator, and we add RECHECK to the OPERATOR clause
in the CREATE OPERATOR CLASS command.
RECHECK is valid if the index is guaranteed to return
all the required tuples, plus perhaps some additional tuples, which
can be eliminated by performing the original operator comparison.
Consider again the situation where we are storing in the index only
the bounding box of a complex object such as a polygon. In this
case there's not much value in storing the whole polygon in the index
entry --- we may as well store just a simpler object of type
box. This situation is expressed by the STORAGE
option in CREATE OPERATOR CLASS: we'd write something like
CREATE OPERATOR CLASS polygon_ops
DEFAULT FOR TYPE polygon USING gist AS
At present, only the GiST access method supports a
STORAGE type that's different from the column data type.
The GiST compress and decompress support
routines must deal with data-type conversion when STORAGE