ZomboDB Documentation

Official guides and reference documentation for ZomboDB.


This document explains the various methods you can use to create a ZomboDB index.

For all these examples below, lets assume we have a table defined as:

CREATE TABLE products (
    name text NOT NULL,
    keywords varchar(64)[],
    short_summary text,
    long_description zdb.fulltext, 
    price bigint,
    inventory_count integer,
    discontinued boolean default false,
    availability_date date,
    manufacturer_id bigint

You'll also want some familiarity with ZomboDB's documentation/TYPE-MAPPING support along with its various WITH options.

Indexing All Columns

The simplest way to create a ZomboDB index is to simply index all the columns in the table. Indexing all columns allows you to query any of them in Elasticsearch queries and also use any of them in ZomboDB's aggregate functions.

CREATE INDEX idxproducts 
          ON products 
       USING zombodb ((products.*));

Indexing Specific Columns

If you only wish to index, and as such only be able to query/aggregate, specific columns, you can use the Postgres ROW() constructor in a custom function to return a custom type that represents the shape of the row you wish to index. Be warned: this function must be a one-argument function that takes the table row type (other types are not allowed!) as its only argument and returns whatever your custom type is.

First however, you must define a custom Postgres composite data type in which to cast the columns you wish to index.\ This is necessary to - define the field names you'll use for searching - change data types if you wish.

-- our custom type
-- note we've changed the type of 'name' from "text" to "varchar" to have it indexed as a keyword
CREATE TYPE products_idx_type AS (
    id bigint, 
    name varchar, 
    description text

-- package up what we want to index as a ROW returned by a custom function
CREATE FUNCTION products_idx_func(products) RETURNS products_idx_type IMMUTABLE STRICT LANGUAGE sql AS $$
           COALESCE($1.short_summary, '') || ' ' || COALESCE($1.long_description, '')

-- create a USING zombodb index which uses the above function
CREATE INDEX idxproducts 
          ON products 
       USING zombodb ((products_idx_func(products.*)));

-- and now, whenever we query, we need to reference our function
SELECT * FROM products WHERE products_idx_func(products) ==> 'box'

With this form, you'll only be able to search, using ZomboDB, the id, name, and description fields (which come from the products_idx_type type. You'll also notice that the name column's type has been changed from text to varchar, which (if you read the documentation/TYPE-MAPPING documentation, will cause it be indexed as a keyword in Elasticsearch.

Additionally, we concatenate the short_summary and long_description columns (guarding against NULL values COALESCE and separating with a space) into the field named description.

Advanced Functional Indexing

If you want to build more complex indices than the above options allow, the process is similar to the above (including the constraints described above on the signature of the function that returns your custom type).

For this example, lets assume we also have a table called manufacturer:

CREATE TABLE manufacturer (
    name text NOT NULL,
    address1 text,
    address2 text,
    city varchar,
    state varchar(2),
    zip_code varchar,
    phone varchar,
    fax varchar,
    support_email varchar

And lets say when we create our ZomboDB index on products we want to include the product's manufacturer data with each row.

CREATE TYPE products_idx_type AS (
    id bigint, 
    name varchar, 
    short_summary text,
    manufacturer jsonb

Now we create a function that will convert the related manufacturer information for each product into a jsonb blob:

CREATE FUNCTION products_with_manufacturer(products) RETURNS products_idx_type IMMUTABLE STRICT LANGUAGE SQL AS $$
    SELECT ROW($1.id, $1.name, $1.short_summary, (SELECT row_to_json(m) FROM manufacturer m WHERE m.id = $1.manufacturer_id))::products_idx_type;

And finally, we can create the ZomboDB index:

CREATE INDEX idxproducts 
          ON products 
       USING zombodb (products_with_manufacturer(products));

With this, the backing Elasticsearch index will have a nested_object field named manufacturer that can be queried:

SELECT * FROM products WHERE products_with_manufacturer(products) ==> 'manufacturer.name:Sears';

It's important to understand that with this example, INSERTs/UPDATEs/DELETEs to the manufacturer table WILL NOT be reflected in the ZomboDB index on products until the corresponding row(s) in products are later modified in some way.

You can manually solve this situation by applying ON INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE triggers on manufacturer that somehow "touch" all the rows in products that match on manufacturer.id = products.manufacturer_id.


  • the function you create can be implemented in any supported Postgres LANGUAGE, not just SQL -- it could be implemented in PLPGSQL, PLPERLU, etc.
  • in order for Postgres to decide to use the functional index, it must be referenced in the query's WHERE clause
  • changes to the function's implementation (via CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION) will require that the index be reindexed using Postgres' REINDEX INDEX statement.


These are just some simple examples. It's up to you to decide what you want to index/query, and how.

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