So I was hacking away at supporting variadic aggregates (per an internal
request at Salesforce), and had it pretty much working, when I came across
this old comment in opr_sanity.sql:
-- Check that there are not aggregates with the same name and different
-- numbers of arguments. While not technically wrong, we have a project policy
-- to avoid this because it opens the door for confusion in connection with
-- ORDER BY: novices frequently put the ORDER BY in the wrong place.
-- See the fate of the single-argument form of string_agg() for history.
-- The only aggregates that should show up here are count(x) and count(*).
While a variadic-using aggregate doesn't actually trip the associated test
query, it surely violates the spirit of this policy: if you put ORDER BY
in the wrong place the parser will be unable to detect that that wasn't
what you meant.
For context see the thread starting here:
In that thread we agreed that this "policy" might be rather squishy,
but we should at least think hard about whether it would be wise to create
built-in aggregates with the same name and different numbers of arguments.
So the question I'm now wondering about is whether this consideration
makes variadic aggregates a bad idea all around, even if we don't have
any built-in ones. Is the risk of user confusion (in the use of their
own aggregate) sufficient reason to reject such a feature?
regards, tom lane