(This is a new documentation chapter from the PG project.)


In JDBC, arrays have always been a pain. Every time you want to pass an array to the database or read it back, you’ve got to wrap your data with various Java classes, extend protocols, and multimethods. We do it in each project, and it doesn’t have to be like this.

The recent release of PG ships a significant feature: arrays. You can pass an array to a query and read it back as easily as they were native Clojure vectors. No more ceremonies with classes, manual parsing, etc.


Reading a trivial array of integers:

(pg/execute conn "select '{1,2,3}'::int[] as array")

;; [{:array [1 2 3]}]

Reading an array of strings. Pay attention that the second item is NULL:

(pg/execute conn "select '{foo,null,baz}'::text[] as array")

[{:array ["foo" nil "baz"]}]

Multi-dimensional arrays of any sub-type work as well. Below, we read a 2x2 array of dates:

(pg/execute conn "select '{{2020-01-01,2021-12-31},{2099-11-03,1301-01-23}}'::date[][] as array")
  [[#.j.t.LocalDate "2020-01-01"
    #.j.t.LocalDate "2021-12-31"]
   [#.j.t.LocalDate "2099-11-03"
    #.j.t.LocalDate "1301-01-23"]]}]

The same 2x2 array of UUIDs:

(pg/execute conn "select '{{887dfa2b-ab88-47d6-ab2f-83b66685063e,9ae401db-95ee-4612-880c-011ad15cdacf},{2f15d54b-836d-426a-9389-b878f6b0aa18,88991362-20ff-4217-96d5-20bd70166916}}'::uuid[][] as array")

  [[#uuid "887dfa2b-ab88-47d6-ab2f-83b66685063e"
    #uuid "9ae401db-95ee-4612-880c-011ad15cdacf"]
   [#uuid "2f15d54b-836d-426a-9389-b878f6b0aa18"
    #uuid "88991362-20ff-4217-96d5-20bd70166916"]]}]

To pass an array into a query, use a plain vector, a list, or a sequence:

(pg/execute conn "select 2 = ANY ($1) as in_array" [[1 2 3]])
[{:in_array true}]


  • In both reading and writing, arrays are represented with vectors. If more precisely, encoding logic relies on the clojure.lang.Sequential interface. It means lists, sets, and lazy sequences are supported as well. You can pass into a vector the result of map, filter, etc.

  • Arrays might be multidimensional. Nested arrays are represented with vectors/lists as well.

  • Arrays support both binary and text Postgres Wire protocols.

  • Unlike JDBC, arrays might be of any type: timestamp(tz), UUID, numeric, text.