Today I Learned

Use PostgreSQL table as queue skipping locked rows

This command only works in PG 9.5

First, are you sure you shouldn't be using some in-memory queue? Or some message broker? Or Redis?

If you are really convinced that you want this sort of behaviour on top of the goo'old PostgreSQL you can achieve a queue-like access pattern by locking and skipping locked rows.

One way to ensure that only one database client can modify a set of rows is to select the rows for update as in

BEGIN;
SELECT * FROM queue ORDER BY priority DESC LIMIT 1 FOR UPDATE;
...

This will block any other UPDATE or SELECT .. FOR UPDATE until the above transaction is finished. Now if you want concurrent database clients to fetch the next row available in the priority list just use:

BEGIN;
SELECT * FROM queue ORDER BY priority DESC LIMIT 1 FOR UPDATE SKIP LOCKED;
...

The above command could be interpreted as select the next row from queue that nobody has yet locked.