libpqxx  7.0.6

Most of the time it's fine to retrieve data from the database using SELECT queries, and store data using INSERT. But for those cases where efficiency matters, there are two classes to help you do this better: stream_from and stream_to. They're less flexible than SQL queries, but you get speed and memory efficiencies in return.


Use stream_from to read data directly from a database table. It's likely to be faster than a SELECT, but also, you won't need to keep your full result set in memory. That can really matter with larger data sets.

So, use stream_from when you need to...

  • read all rows in a table,
  • in an arbitrary order,
  • without any computation done on them.

You can select which columns you want though, and in which order.

Every row is converted to a tuple type of your choice as you read it. You stream into the tuple:

pqxx::stream_from stream{
    std::vector<std::string>{"name", "points"}};
std::tuple<std::string, int> row;
while (stream >> row)

As the stream reads each row, it converts that row's data to your tuple, and then promptly forgets it. This means you can easily read more data than will fit in memory.


Use stream_to to write data directly to a database table. This saves you having to perform an INSERT for every row, and so it can be significantly faster for larger insertions.

As with stream_from, you can specify the table and the columns, and not much else. You insert tuple-like objects of your choice:

pqxx::stream_to stream{
    std::vector<std::string>{"name", "points"}};
for (auto const &entry: scores)
    stream << entry;

Each row is processed as you provide it, and not retained in memory after that.

The call to complete() is more important here than it is for stream_from. It's a lot like a "commit" or "abort" at the end of a transaction. If you omit it, it will be done automatically during the stream's destructor. But since destructors can't throw exceptions, any failures at that stage won't be visible in your code. So, always call complete() on a stream_to to close it off properly!