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The SET statement is the syntax that specifies custom variables and the method that you can use to save values.

You can create custom variables in two ways. One is to use the SET statement and the other is to use the assignment statement of custom variables within SQL statements. You can delete the custom variables that you defined with the DEALLOCATE or the DROP statements.

Custom variables are also called session variables as they are used for maintaining connections within one application. Custom variables are used within the part of a connection session, and the custom variables defined by an application can not be accessed by other applications. When an application terminates connections, all variables will be removed automatically. Custom variables are limited to twenty per connection session for an application. If you already have twenty custom variables and want to define a new custom variable, you must remove some variables with the DROP VARIABLE statement.

You can use custom variables in most SQL statements. If you define custom variables and refer to them in one statement, the sequence is not guaranteed. That is, if you refer to the variables specified in the SELECT list of the HAVING, GROUP BY or ORDER BY clause, you may not get the values in the sequence you expect. You can not also use custom variables as identifiers, such as column names or table names within SQL statements

Custom variables are not case-sensitive. The custom variable type can be one of the SHORT, INTEGER, BIGINT, FLOAT, DOUBLE, NUMERIC, CHAR, VARCHAR, NCHAR, VARNCHAR, BIT and BIT VARYING. Other types will be converted to the VARCHAR type.

SET @v1 = 1, @v2=CAST(1 AS BIGINT), @v3 = '123', @v4 = DATE'2010-01-01';


SELECT typeof(@v1), typeof(@v2), typeof(@v3), typeof(@v4);


   typeof(@v1)         typeof(@v2)         typeof(@v3)         typeof(@v4)


  'integer'           'bigint'            'character var'     'character varying (10)'

Custom variables can be changed when you define values.

SELECT @v := 1, typeof(@v1), @v1:='1', typeof(@v1);


  @v := 1                typeof(@v1)          @v1 := '1'             typeof(@v1)


  1                     'integer'             '1'                   'character (1)'



        : <set_statement>, <udf_assignment>

        | SET <udv_assignment>




        : @<name> = <expression>

        | @<name> := <expression>



{DEALLOCATE|DROP} VARIABLE <variable_name_list>


       : <variable_name_list> ',' @<name>

  • You must define custom variable names with alphanumeric characters and underscores (_).
  • When you define custom variables within SQL statements, you should use the ':=' operator.

Define a custom variable, 'a' and assign a value, 1 to it.

SET @a = 1;







Use the custom variable to count the number of rows in the SELECT statement.


INSERT INTO t(i) VALUES(2),(4),(6),(8);


SET @a = 0;


SELECT @a := @a+1 AS row_no, i FROM t;


  row_no                          i


  1                               2

  2                               4

  3                               6

  4                               8

4 ROWS selected.

Use the custom variable as the input of the bind parameter defined in the prepared statement.

SET @a:=3;








Use the ':=' operator to define a custom variable.

SELECT @a := 1, @user_defined_variable := 'user defined variable';

UPDATE t SET i = (@var := 1);

Delete the custom variable a and user_defined_variable.

DEALLOCATE VARIABLE @a, @user_defined_variable;

DROP VARIABLE @a, @user_defined_variable;


The custom variables that are defined by the SET statement are started by connecting an application to a server and will be maintained until the application terminates the connection. The connection maintained during this period is called a session. When an application terminates the connection or when there are no requests for a certain period of time, the session will expire, and the custom variables will be deleted as a result. You can set the session time with the session_state_timeout parameter of cubrid.conf; the default value is 21600 seconds (=6 hours).

The data managed by the session includes PREPARE statements, custom variables, the last ID inserted(LAST_INSERT_ID) and the number of rows affected by the statement that you execute at the end(ROW_COUNT).