I am thinking of storing the user's OID in the "owner" column of a table, so I don't have to do anything if they change their username.

I understand one can use pg_has_role() with OIDs, so that's good.

Is there a fast and easy way to get the current user's OID without just matching it against one of the system tables?


The fastest way I know of is a lookup in the system catalog view pg_roles:

SELECT * FROM pg_roles WHERE rolname = 'postgres';

Strictly speaking, it would be even slightly faster to use the underlying table pg_authid, but access to it is restricted to superusers for good reasons.

There is no object identifier type like for tables or types, which would allow a simple cast like 'mytable'::regclass.

Be aware though, that OIDs are not stable across a dump / restore cycle. So, the OID is no good for the use case!

In some databases I have a separate login table with a serial primary key that I use for similar purposes. Maintained manually. And functions using it are prepared to occasionally not find a user in this table. A very basic and fast table:

CREATE TABLE users.login (
  login_id serial PRIMARY KEY 
 ,username text NOT NULL UNIQUE

When creating new users I use a plpgsql function that creates the new user in the system and enters it into my table at the same time. And I use this login_id in many places. For instance I keep track of who made the last change to a row in most tables. I use this simple function:

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION public.f_login_id()
SELECT COALESCE((SELECT login_id FROM users.login
                 WHERE  username = session_user::text), 0::int)

No foreign key constraints so to keep things fast and simple. Obviously, I don't need strict referential integrity ...

  • Darn it. Thanks anyways. Can you describe your login table / system a little? – Neil McGuigan Jan 9 '14 at 23:27
  • 1
    @NeilMcGuigan: I added the basic layout of my very simple design. – Erwin Brandstetter Jan 9 '14 at 23:40

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