Generating Create Foreign Table Statements for postgres_fdw

In PostgreSQL 9.3 Postgres_FDW: A Test Drive we talked about taking Postgres Foreign Data Wrapper for a test drive. One downside of the Postgres FDW and actually most PostgreSQL FDWs is that the foreign table structure can't be inspected from the source and the fields have to be explicitly stated in the foreign table definition. If you have a lot of tables to script, this can quickly become tedious. For our planned used cases, we plan to script Foreign tables from a source database for tables that are bulky and rarely change and then build materialized views against those for faster performance where needed. To help in this end, we wrote a quick SQL function that you install on the source database and when run will generate foreign table creation statements to install on a target database.

One thing that was important to us was that the function properly handle views and typmod types since PostGIS now uses typmod heavily and many of our databases have spatial data and complex views we'd like to link in as foreign tables.

Function to generate Foreign table create statements

The function script is shown here and should be installed on the database that you want to script the tables as foreign tables for future use on a target server.

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION script_foreign_tables(param_server text
 , param_schema_search text
 , param_table_search text, param_ft_prefix text) RETURNS SETOF text
-- params: param_server: name of foreign data server
--        param_schema_search: wildcard search on schema use % for non-exact
--        param_ft_prefix: prefix to give new table in target database 
--                        include schema name if not default schema
-- example usage: SELECT script_foreign_tables('prod_server', 'ch01', '%', 'ch01.ft_');
  WITH cols AS 
   ( SELECT cl.relname As table_name, na.nspname As table_schema, att.attname As column_name
    , format_type(ty.oid,att.atttypmod) AS column_type
    , attnum As ordinal_position
      FROM pg_attribute att
      JOIN pg_type ty ON ty.oid=atttypid
      JOIN pg_namespace tn ON tn.oid=ty.typnamespace
      JOIN pg_class cl ON cl.oid=att.attrelid
      JOIN pg_namespace na ON na.oid=cl.relnamespace
      LEFT OUTER JOIN pg_type et ON et.oid=ty.typelem
      LEFT OUTER JOIN pg_attrdef def ON adrelid=att.attrelid AND adnum=att.attnum
     -- only consider non-materialized views and concrete tables (relations)
     cl.relkind IN('v','r') 
      AND na.nspname LIKE $2 AND cl.relname LIKE $3 
       AND cl.relname NOT IN('spatial_ref_sys', 'geometry_columns'
          , 'geography_columns', 'raster_columns')
       AND att.attnum > 0
       AND NOT att.attisdropped 
     ORDER BY att.attnum )
        SELECT 'CREATE FOREIGN TABLE ' || $4  || table_name || ' ('
         || string_agg(quote_ident(column_name) || ' ' || column_type 
           , ', ' ORDER BY ordinal_position)
         || ')  
   SERVER ' || quote_ident($1) || '  OPTIONS (schema_name ''' || quote_ident(table_schema) 
     || ''', table_name ''' || quote_ident(table_name) || '''); ' As result        
FROM cols
  GROUP BY table_schema, table_name
$$ language 'sql';

Setting up the Target database with postgres_fdw

The first step is to have a database with a postgres_fdw server and user setup. Basic steps are:

--script to run on target server --
CREATE EXTENSION postgres_fdw;
CREATE SERVER book_server
  OPTIONS (host 'localhost', port '5432', dbname 'postgis_in_action');
  OPTIONS (user 'book_guest', password 'whatever');

Script tables and views as foreign tables

The next step is to run the function we described on the source server. For this exercise, we just want to script one schema and we want to give the tables a different name in case we want to create materialized views against these that have the original name.

SELECT script_foreign_tables('book_server', 'ch01', '%', 'ch01.ft_');

The output of the above query looks like this:

CREATE FOREIGN TABLE ch01.ft_highways (gid integer, feature character varying(80), name character varying(120)
 , state character varying(2), geom geometry(MultiLineString,2163))  
	 SERVER book_server  OPTIONS (schema_name 'ch01', table_name 'highways'); 

CREATE FOREIGN TABLE ch01.ft_lu_franchises (id character(3), franchise character varying(30))  
	 SERVER book_server  OPTIONS (schema_name 'ch01', table_name 'lu_franchises');
CREATE FOREIGN TABLE ch01.ft_restaurants (id integer, franchise character(3), geom geometry(Point,2163))  
	 SERVER book_server  OPTIONS (schema_name 'ch01', table_name 'restaurants'); 
There was a bug in PostGIS 2.1.0 and PostGIS 2.0 < 2.0.5 that prevented foreign tables and materialized views from being output in geometry_columns and geography_columns views. This is fixed in upcoming PostGIS 2.1.1 and PostGIS 2.0.5.