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PostgreSQL IN versus ANY

I still feel rather new to PostgreSQL, and a few times now in Go I’ve tried to do something along the lines of:

type pgdb struct {
	db *sql.DB

func (db *pgdb) getEntityByID(ctx context.Context, ids []string) ([]Entity, error) {
	query := "SELECT * FROM entities WHERE entities.id IN ($1)"

	rows, err := db.db.QueryContext(ctx, query, pq.StringArray(ids))
	/// ...

But the query would always fail or retrieve no rows. I’ve always fixed it by switching the IN $1 for a = ANY($1), but never quite understood why.

Researching this a bit more today, I realized that the IN function takes a list of literals, whereas ANY is an array function that takes a single array literal. Thus, when I’m passing a pq.StringArray, it only works with the array function.

I found this out going through lib/pq’s issues, finding this issue with this comment explaining the difference quite well, which also pointed to a simpler case where this comment cleared things up for me.

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