Control Flow Statements

The GSQL Query Language includes a comprehensive set of control flow statements to empower sophisticated graph traversal and data computation: IF/ELSE, CASE, WHILE, and FOREACH.

Differences in Block Syntax

Note that any of these statements can be used as a query-body statement or as a DML-sub level statement.

The "Statement Types" subsection in the Chapter on "CREATE / INSTALL / RUN / SHOW / DROP QUERY" has a more detailed general example of the difference between queryBodyStmts and DMLSUbStmts.

IF Statement

The IF statement provides conditional branching: execute a block of statements ( queryBodyStmts or DMLSubStmtList ) only if a given condition is true. The IF statement allows for zero or more ELSE-IF clauses, followed by an optional ELSE clause. The IF statement can be used either at the query-body level or at the DML-sub-statement level. (See the note about differences in block syntax .)

If a particular IF condition is not true, then the flow proceeds to the next ELSE IF condition. When a true condition is encountered, its corresponding block of statements is executed, and then the IF statement terminates (skipping any remaining ELSE-IF or ELSE clauses). If an ELSE-clause is present, its block of statements are executed if none of the preceding conditions are true. Overall, the functionality can be summarized as "execute the first block of statements whose conditional test is true."

CASE Statement

The CASE statement provides conditional branching: execute a block of statements only if a given condition is true. CASE statements can be used as query-body statements or DML-sub-statements. (See the note about differences in block syntax .)

One CASE statement contains one or more WHEN-THEN clauses, each WHEN presenting one expression. The CASE statement may also have one ELSE clause whose statements are executed if none of the preceding conditions are true.

There are two syntaxes of the CASE statement: one equivalent to an if-else statement, and the other is structured like a switch statement. The if-else version evaluates the boolean condition within each WHEN-clause and executes the first block of statements whose condition is true. The optional concluding ELSE-clause is executed only if all WHEN-clause conditions are false.

The switch version evaluates the expression following the keyword WHEN and compares its value to the expression immediately following the keyword CASE. These expressions do not need to be boolean; the CASE statement compares pairs of expressions to see if their values are equal. The first WHEN-THEN clause to have an expression value equal to the CASE expression value is executed; the remaining clauses are skipped. The optional ELSE-clause is executed only if no WHEN-clause expression has a value matching the CASE value.

WHILE Statement

The WHILE statement provides unbounded iteration over a block of statements. WHILE statements can be used as query-body statements or DML-sub-statements. (See the note about differences in block syntax .)

The WHILE statement iterates over its body ( queryBodyStmts or DMLSubStmtList ) until the condition evaluates to false or until the iteration limit is met. A condition is any expression that evaluates to a boolean. The condition is evaluated before each iteration. CONTINUE statements can be used to change the control flow within the while block. BREAK statements can be used to exit the while loop.

A WHILE statement may have an optional LIMIT clause. LIMIT clauses has a constant positive integer value or integer variable to constrain the maximum number of loop iterations. The example below demonstrates how the LIMIT behaves.

Below are a number of examples that demonstrate the use of WHILE statements.

FOREACH Statement

The FOREACH statement provides bounded iteration over a block of statements. FOREACH statements can be used as query-body statements or DML-sub-statements. (See the note about differences in block syntax .)

The formal syntax for forEachControl appears complex. It can be broken down into the following cases:

  • name IN setBagExpr

  • tuple IN setBagExpr

  • name IN RANGE [ expr, expr ]

  • name IN RANGE [ expr, expr ].STEP ( expr )

Note that setBagExpr includes container accumulators and explicit sets.

FOREACH ... IN RANGE

The FOREACH statement has an optional RANGE clause RANGE[expr, expr], which can be used to define the iteration collection. Optionally, the range may specify a step size: RANGE[expr, expr].STEP(expr)

Each expr must evaluate to an integer. Any of the integers may be negative, but the step expr may not be 0.

The clause RANGE[a,b].STEP(c) produces the sequence of integers from a to b, inclusive, with step size c. That is, (a, a+c, a+2*c, a+3*c, ... a+k*c), where k = the largest integer such that |k*c| ≤ |b-a|.

If the .STEP method is not given, then the step size c = 1.

The step value can be positive for an ascending range or negative for a descending range. If the step has the wrong polarity, then the loop has zero iterations; that is, the exit condition is already satisfied.

Query-body-level FOREACH Examples

DML-sub FOREACH Examples

CONTINUE and BREAK Statements

The CONTINUE and BREAK statements can only be used within a block of a WHILE or FOREACH statement. The CONTINUE statement branches control flow to the end of the loop, skipping any remaining statements in the current iteration, and proceeding to the next iteration. That is, everything in the loop block after the CONTINUE statement will be skipped, and then the loop will continue as normal.

The BREAK statement branches control flow out of the loop, i.e., it will exit the loop and stop iteration.

Below are a number of examples that demonstrate the use of BREAK and CONTINUE.