I am migrating some data to another server while dropping all sequences/functions/views. When I try to do simply

DROP VIEW | SEQUENCE | FUNCTION | AGGREGATE without CASCADE, errors are thrown to indicate dependencies. The goal is that if no data (=tables?) will be affected by using CASCADE, then I can use it.

Assumption: if no table is dependent on views/functions/sequences, then no table will be affected by using CASCADE.

Then I guess using CASCADE for views will be fine since they always depend on some base tables.

For functions and sequences I am not very sure. I haven't written that many of sql functions myself and I don't know if the data in a table are generated by some function, whether it means the table depends on the function.

For sequences, it seems that a sequence will be generated automatically by postgres if I use serial as column type. My first guess would be that in this case, the table that is using serial depends on the sequence. However, by testing on a dummy database on my laptop, I found that the data seems to be unaffected. (I just use SELECT COUNT(*) FROM TABLE_NAME after dropping the sequence)

1 Answer 1


I am quite certain that no table would be dropped if you remove views, sequences and functions with the CASCADE option.

But parts of a table may vanish:

  • Indexes, triggers, rules, column defaults, check constraints and in PostgreSQL v12 generated columns may vanish if you drop the functions and operators used in them.

  • Column defaults will vanish with the sequences used in them.

Dropping views should not affect tables at all.

Disclaimer: I have probably forgotten one or two cases.

Why don't you just selectively dump the parts of the database that you need with the -l and -L options of pg_restore?

  • Does that mean if I don't specify my column value of serial type, it will be NULL? But in my case the column using serial also has the PRIMARY KEY constraint, so will it still have a default value at all?
    – ark
    Jul 19, 2019 at 19:54
  • By the way, I didn't find the option -l or -L in the documentation of pg_dump
    – ark
    Jul 19, 2019 at 19:54
  • No, the primary key column won't have a default value then. Sorry about the -l, I meant pg_restore (fixed in the answer). Jul 19, 2019 at 19:56
  • Thank you! I didn't know -l and -L can be that useful. However, actually I am migrating the whole cluster, and there are too many datasets to inspect and filter manually. That's why I look for a more automatic solution (which yet probably does not lead to the best result)
    – ark
    Jul 19, 2019 at 20:03

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