9.27.1. Create Aggregate Statement
CREATE AGGREGATE aggregate_name (parameter, parameter ...) [ RETURNS data_type ] FROM init_procedure, acc_procedure, final_function [, merge_procedure ] parameter : parameter_type name data_type parameter_type : IN | INOUT
The create aggregate statement forces the SQL compiler to treat any call of the declared aggregate_name as special routine similar to one used for built-in aggregate functions, so the call produces a single value for resultset instead of a separate value for every row of the resultset.
Every occurrence of the aggregate_name in a select statement creates an invisible "accumulator" column in resultset. The value of "accumulator" is calculated by init_procedure, then every row of data causes a call of acc_procedure that may modify the "accumulator" then the call of final_function should get data from "accumulator" and return the total result.
The init_procedure must have one inout parameter and return nothing. It should set the parameter to the required initial value of the "accumulator". (The SQL query compiler will use the declared data type of the parameter as the data type of the "accumulator" so no casting problem may occur) equal to
The acc_procedure must have at least one inout parameter, one or more parameters of any sort and must return nothing. It should get the previously calculated value of the "accumulator" from its first parameter, calculate a new value and set the result back to the first parameter.
The final_function must have one in or inout parameter and return a value. It should get the value of the "accumulator" from its parameter and return the calculated result.
The optional merge_procedure must have two inout parameters that accept values of two "accumulators". If defined, it may be used by SQL optimizer to split the table scan into two or more scans through parts of the table. When every 'children' scan iterates some part of the table, a separate "accumulators" is used for every part. merge_procedure gets two accumulators and adds the content of the second accumulator to the content of the first. If merge_procedure is not defined, no such tricky optimization is used. This optimization is never tried if the database resides on less than four disks, if the number of CPUs is less than four and if the query contains any call of user-defined aggregate with no merge_procedure defined; thus you will probably never need to write such a function.
The declaration of aggregate is persistent. If create aggregate statement is successful the text is stored into the SYS_PROCEDURES table. This table is read at startup so user-defined aggregates are thus always available for use and need be defined only once.