Q Language - Functional Queries


Functional (Dynamic) queries allow specifying column names as symbols to typical q-sql select/exec/delete columns. It comes very handy when we want to specify column names dynamically.

The functional forms are −

?[t;c;b;a]    / for select
![t;c;b;a]    / for update


  • t is a table;

  • a is a dictionary of aggregates;

  • b the by-phrase; and

  • c is a list of constraints.

Note −

  • All q entities in a, b, and c must be referenced by name, meaning as symbols containing the entity names.

  • The syntactic forms of select and update are parsed into their equivalent functional forms by the q interpreter, so there is no performance difference between the two forms.

Functional select

The following code block shows how to use functional select

q)t:([]n:`ibm`msft`samsung`apple;p:40 38 45 54)


    n       p
   ibm     40
   msft    38
 samsung   45
  apple    54

q)select m:max p,s:sum p by name:n from t where p>36, n in `ibm`msft`apple

  name |   m   s
------ | ---------
 apple |  54  54
 ibm   |  40  40
 msft  |  38  38

Example 1

Let’s start with the easiest case, the functional version of “select from t” will look like −

q)?[t;();0b;()]     / select from t

    n      p
   ibm    40
   msft   38
 samsung  45
  apple   54

Example 2

In the following example, we use the enlist function to create singletons to ensure that appropriate entities are lists.

q)wherecon: enlist (>;`p;40)

q)?[`t;wherecon;0b;()] / select from t where p > 40

    n      p
 samsung  45
  apple   54

Example 3

q)groupby: enlist[`p] ! enlist `p

q)selcols: enlist [`n]!enlist `n

q)?[ `t;(); groupby;selcols]        / select n by p from t

   p  |    n
----- | -------
  38  |  msft
  40  |  ibm
  45  | samsung
  54  | apple

Functional Exec

The functional form of exec is a simplified form of select.

q)?[t;();();`n]                / exec n from t (functional form of exec)

q)?[t;();`n;`p]                / exec p by n from t (functional exec)

apple   | 54
ibm     | 40
msft    | 38
samsung | 45

Functional Update

The functional form of update is completely analogous to that of select. In the following example, the use of enlist is to create singletons, to ensure that input entities are lists.

q)c:enlist (>;`p;0)

q)b: (enlist `n)!enlist `n

q)a: (enlist `p) ! enlist (max;`p)


   n      p
  ibm    40
  msft   38
 samsung 45
 apple   54

Functional delete

Functional delete is a simplified form of functional update. Its syntax is as follows −

![t;c;0b;a]        / t is a table, c is a list of where constraints, a is a
                   / list of column names

Let us now take an example to show how functional delete work −

q)![t; enlist (=;`p; 40); 0b;`symbol$()]
                                          / delete from t where p = 40
   n       p
  msft    38
 samsung  45
  apple   54