How to diagnose and fix the 38000 external_routine_exception error code in Postgres.

The 38000 error code in PostgreSQL, known as external_routine_exception, indicates that an exception has occurred in an external routine. This could be a result of various issues, such as problems loading an external library or an external function not being found. To diagnose and fix this error, you should consider the following steps:

  1. Check Library or Function Availability: Ensure that the external library or function you are trying to use is installed and available in your PostgreSQL environment. You might encounter this error if the library or function is not found or cannot be loaded. For example, if you’re using a shared library, verify that it’s in the correct directory (typically lib or lib64 on Unix systems) and that PostgreSQL has the permissions to access it.
  2. Review Permissions: Sometimes, the issue might be due to insufficient permissions. Make sure that the user running the PostgreSQL server has the necessary permissions to access and execute the external routine.
  3. Examine the Function Definition: If you are calling a user-defined function that relies on an external routine, check the function definition to ensure it is correct. The function should be defined with the proper language and link to the correct external routine.
  4. Check for Typos and Syntax Errors: A simple typo or syntax error in the function name or parameters can cause this error. Double-check the spelling and syntax of the external routine call in your SQL code.
  5. Consult PostgreSQL Logs: The PostgreSQL server logs may contain more detailed information about the error, which can help you pinpoint the exact cause. Look for any messages that precede the external_routine_exception error code for clues.
  6. Update or Reinstall the Extension: If the external routine is part of an extension, it may be necessary to update or reinstall the extension to ensure that all components are compatible and functioning correctly.

Here are a couple of sample scenarios and how you might address them:

  • Scenario 1: A missing shared library.
  CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION my_external_function()
  RETURNS void AS '$libdir/my_missing_library', 'my_function'

In this case, ensure that my_missing_library is correctly installed in the $libdir directory and that it is named correctly.

  • Scenario 2: Incorrect function definition.
  CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION my_external_function()
  RETURNS void AS 'my_library', 'my_function_that_does_not_exist'

Verify that the function my_function_that_does_not_exist actually exists in my_library and correct the function name if necessary.

Remember, when diagnosing and fixing issues like the 38000 error code, it’s crucial to carefully review all error messages and logs, verify the external routine’s configuration and dependencies, and ensure that all necessary permissions are in place. If the problem persists after checking these areas, consulting the official PostgreSQL Error Codes documentation or seeking help from the PostgreSQL community can also be beneficial.

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