13.7.3.1 CREATE FUNCTION Syntax for User-Defined Functions

CREATE [AGGREGATE] FUNCTION function_name RETURNS {STRING|INTEGER|REAL|DECIMAL}
    SONAME shared_library_name

A user-defined function (UDF) is a way to extend MySQL with a new function that works like a native (built-in) MySQL function such as ABS() or CONCAT().

function_name is the name that should be used in SQL statements to invoke the function. The RETURNS clause indicates the type of the function's return value. DECIMAL is a legal value after RETURNS, but currently DECIMAL functions return string values and should be written like STRING functions.

shared_library_name is the basename of the shared object file that contains the code that implements the function. The file must be located in the plugin directory. This directory is given by the value of the plugin_dir system variable.

Note

This is a change in MySQL 5.1. For earlier versions of MySQL, the shared object can be located in any directory that is searched by your system's dynamic linker. For more information, see Section 22.3.2.5, “Compiling and Installing User-Defined Functions”.

To create a function, you must have the INSERT privilege for the mysql database. This is necessary because CREATE FUNCTION adds a row to the mysql.func system table that records the function's name, type, and shared library name. If you do not have this table, you should run the mysql_upgrade command to create it. See Section 4.4.8, “mysql_upgrade — Check and Upgrade MySQL Tables”.

An active function is one that has been loaded with CREATE FUNCTION and not removed with DROP FUNCTION. All active functions are reloaded each time the server starts, unless you start mysqld with the --skip-grant-tables option. In this case, UDF initialization is skipped and UDFs are unavailable.

For instructions on writing user-defined functions, see Section 22.3.2, “Adding a New User-Defined Function”. For the UDF mechanism to work, functions must be written in C or C++ (or another language that can use C calling conventions), your operating system must support dynamic loading and you must have compiled mysqld dynamically (not statically).

An AGGREGATE function works exactly like a native MySQL aggregate (summary) function such as SUM or COUNT(). For AGGREGATE to work, your mysql.func table must contain a type column. If your mysql.func table does not have this column, you should run the mysql_upgrade program to create it (see Section 4.4.8, “mysql_upgrade — Check and Upgrade MySQL Tables”).

Note

To upgrade the shared library associated with a UDF, issue a DROP FUNCTION statement, upgrade the shared library, and then issue a CREATE FUNCTION statement. If you upgrade the shared library first and then use DROP FUNCTION, the server may crash.