Add a User-defined Token Function

In GSQL’s Data Definition and Loading (DDL) language, users can define their own token functions if the built-in token functions do not meet their needs.

Token functions are written in C++ and stored in a file named tokenbank.cpp.

There are two ways to modify this file to add token functions to GSQL:

  • Store the file in a GitHub repository, and configure GSQL to read from the repository.

  • Use GET and PUT commands to download, modify, and store the file locally.

This section first explains how to define a token function, then how to integrate token functions into GSQL.

Define a token function in C++

Token functions can either return a value that is used for an attribute expression or used in a WHERE clause as a condition expression. Depending on the return type of the function, the signature of the function must match the allowed format.

If your token function is used to return an attribute expression, the signature of the function must follow the format specified in the table below depending on the attribute type.

Attribute type Function signature Function return type


extern "C" void funcName (const char* const iToken[], uint32_t iTokenLen[], uint32_t iTokenNum, char* const oToken, uint32_t& oTokenLen)

void. The value of oToken will be returned in GSQL


extern "C" bool funcName (const char* const iToken[], uint32_t iTokenLen[], uint32_t iTokenNum)



extern "C" uint64_t funcName (const char* const iToken[], uint32_t iTokenLen[], uint32_t iTokenNum)



extern "C" int64_t funcName (const char* const iToken[], uint32_t iTokenLen[], uint32_t iTokenNum)



extern "C" float funcName (const char* const iToken[], uint32_t iTokenLen[], uint32_t iTokenNum)



extern "C" double funcName (const char* const iToken[], uint32_t iTokenLen[], uint32_t iTokenNum)


The parameters iToken, iTokenLen, and iTokenNum must be named exactly as such, and are used to describe the input tokens:

  • iToken is an array of the string tokens

  • iTokenLen is an array of the lengths of the string tokens

  • iTokenNum is the number of tokens

Token functions for attribute types STRING or STRING COMPRESS have a C++ function return type of void. Use the parameter oToken to store the string you want returned, and in GSQL the token function will return the string stored in oToken:

  • oToken is the returned string value

  • oTokenLen is the length of the return string

Note that the input tokens are always in string (char*) format. If necessary, convert them to other types inside the function.


The built-in token function gsql_concat is used in the following example. It takes multiple token parameters and returns a string.

extern "C" void gsql_concat(const char* const iToken[], uint32_t iTokenLen[], uint32_t iTokenNum, char* const oToken, uint32_t& oTokenLen) {
  int k = 0;
  for (int i=0; i < iTokenNum; i++) {
    for (int j =0; j < iTokenLen[i]; j++) {
           oToken[k++] = iToken[i][j];
  oTokenLen = k;

User-defined Token Functions for WHERE Clause

User-defined token functions (described above) can also be used to construct the boolean conditional expression in the WHERE clause. However, there are some restrictions in the WHERE clause:

In the clause WHERE <conditions>,

  • The only user-defined token functions allowed are those that return a boolean value.

  • If a user-defined token function is used in a WHERE clause, then it must constitute the entire condition; it cannot be combined with another function or operator to produce a subsequent value. However, the arguments of the token function can include other functions.

The source code for the built-in token function gsql_token_equal is used as an example for how to write a user-defined token function.

extern "C" bool gsql_token_equal(const char* const iToken[], uint32_t iTokenLen[], uint32_t iTokenNum) {
  if (iTokenNum != 2) {
    return false;
  if (iTokenLen[0] != iTokenLen[1]) {
    return false;
  for (int i =0; i < iTokenLen[0]; i++) {
    if (iToken[0][i] != iToken[1][i]) {
      return false;
  return true;

Use GitHub to store token functions

You can configure GSQL to read from a GitHub repository for tokenbank.cpp.

If GitHub access is configured, GSQL will retrieve user source code files from GitHub before files added via PUT, so long as the files exist.

TigerGraph only allows one TokenBank file at a time. Files on GitHub take priority. If GitHub is connected but files are missing, TigerGraph will look for a TokenBank file added via PUT.

New additions to the files in the GitHub repository are instantly available in GSQL.

You can retrieve the TokenBank from AppRoot/dev/gdk/gsql/src/TokenBank/TokenBank.cpp and copy it to a Git repository of your choice.

The file name must remain TokenBank.cpp on GitHub. This is in contrast to the PUT method, where the file could have any file name.

The gadmin configuration parameters for setting up the connection to GitHub are as follows:

Table 1. Parameters for GitHub
Parameter Description Example


The credential used to access the repository



The user and repository where the files are held



The branch to access



Path to the directory in the repository that has TokenBank.cpp



Optional parameter used for GitHub Enterprise

Use the gadmin config set command to configure the aforementioned parameters to connect GSQL to the GitHub repository hosting your files.

Below is an example configuration. Remember to run gadmin config apply after changing the parameters. If GSQL is already running, you will need to run gadmin restart all to restart GSQL before the token functions become available.

gadmin config set GSQL.GithubUserAcessToken anonymous
gadmin config set GSQL.GithubRepository tigergraph/ecosys
gadmin config set GSQL.GithubBranch demo_github
gadmin config set GSQL.GithubPath sample_code/src
gadmin config apply

After the parameters are successfully configured, you can access your user-defined token functions right away.

Store token functions locally

Step 1: Modify the current TokenBank file

Use the GET TokenBank command in GSQL to download the current UDF file to any location on your machine. The path after the keyword TO specifies the path where the file will be output to.

The file and the directories will be created if they do not exist, and the file must end with the file extension .cpp.

GSQL > GET TokenBank TO "/home/tigergraph/TokenBank.cpp"
GET TokenBank successfully.

If you only supply a directory but not a filename, the file will be created with the default filename TokenBank.cpp.

Step 2: Define your token function

Write your function in TokenBank.cpp.

If any code in TokenBank.cpp causes a compilation error, GSQL will be unable to run any loading jobs, whether containing user-defined token functions or not.

Step 3: Store the modified TokenBank.cpp file

After defining the token function, use the PUT TokenBank command to store the file so that GSQL can read it. The path after the keyword FROM is the absolute path to the TokenBank.cpp file.

GSQL > PUT TokenBank FROM "/home/tigergraph/TokenBank.cpp"
PUT TokenBank successfully.

The PUT command will automatically store the files in all nodes in a cluster, overwriting any existing files that contain token functions. Once the file is stored, you will be able to call the user-defined token function the next time GSQL is executed. This includes the next time you start the GSQL shell or execute GSQL scripts from a bash shell.