Sunday, 15 May 2011

SQL Constraints

SQL Constraints

Constraints are used to limit the type of data that can go into a table.
Constraints can be specified when a table is created (with the CREATE TABLE statement) or after the table is created (with the ALTER TABLE statement).
We will focus on the following constraints:

• NOT NULL
• UNIQUE
• PRIMARY KEY
• FOREIGN KEY
• CHECK
• DEFAULT

SQL NOT NULL Constraint

The NOT NULL constraint enforces a column to NOT accept NULL values.
The NOT NULL constraint enforces a field to always contain a value. This means that you cannot insert a new record, or update a record without adding a value to this field.

The following SQL enforces the "P_Id" column and the "LastName" column to not accept NULL values:

CREATE TABLE Persons
(
P_Id int NOT NULL,
LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
FirstName varchar(255),
Address varchar(255),
City varchar(255)
)

SQL UNIQUE Constraint

The UNIQUE constraint uniquely identifies each record in a database table.
The UNIQUE and PRIMARY KEY constraints both provide a guarantee for uniqueness for a column or set of columns.

A PRIMARY KEY constraint automatically has a UNIQUE constraint defined on it.
Note that you can have many UNIQUE constraints per table, but only one PRIMARY KEY constraint per table.

SQL UNIQUE Constraint on CREATE TABLE

The following SQL creates a UNIQUE constraint on the "P_Id" column when the "Persons" table is created:

MySQL:

CREATE TABLE Persons
(
P_Id int NOT NULL,
LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
FirstName varchar(255),
Address varchar(255),
City varchar(255),
UNIQUE (P_Id)
)

SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

CREATE TABLE Persons
(
P_Id int NOT NULL UNIQUE,
LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
FirstName varchar(255),
Address varchar(255),
City varchar(255)
)

To allow naming of a UNIQUE constraint, and for defining a UNIQUE constraint on multiple columns, use the following SQL syntax:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

CREATE TABLE Persons
(
P_Id int NOT NULL,
LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
FirstName varchar(255),
Address varchar(255),
City varchar(255),
CONSTRAINT uc_PersonID UNIQUE (P_Id,LastName)
)

SQL UNIQUE Constraint on ALTER TABLE

To create a UNIQUE constraint on the "P_Id" column when the table is already created, use the following SQL:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
ADD UNIQUE (P_Id)

To allow naming of a UNIQUE constraint, and for defining a UNIQUE constraint on multiple columns, use the following SQL syntax:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
ADD CONSTRAINT uc_PersonID UNIQUE (P_Id,LastName)


To DROP a UNIQUE Constraint

To drop a UNIQUE constraint, use the following SQL:

MySQL:

ALTER TABLE Persons
DROP INDEX uc_PersonID

SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
DROP CONSTRAINT uc_PersonID


SQL PRIMARY KEY Constraint

The PRIMARY KEY constraint uniquely identifies each record in a database table.

Primary keys must contain unique values.

A primary key column cannot contain NULL values.

Each table should have a primary key, and each table can have only ONE primary key.

SQL PRIMARY KEY Constraint on CREATE TABLE

The following SQL creates a PRIMARY KEY on the "P_Id" column when the "Persons" table is created:

MySQL:

CREATE TABLE Persons
(
P_Id int NOT NULL,
LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
FirstName varchar(255),
Address varchar(255),
City varchar(255),
PRIMARY KEY (P_Id)
)

SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

CREATE TABLE Persons
(
P_Id int NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY,
LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
FirstName varchar(255),
Address varchar(255),
City varchar(255)
)

To allow naming of a PRIMARY KEY constraint, and for defining a PRIMARY KEY constraint on multiple columns, use the following SQL syntax:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

CREATE TABLE Persons
(
P_Id int NOT NULL,
LastName varchar(255) NOT NULL,
FirstName varchar(255),
Address varchar(255),
City varchar(255),
CONSTRAINT pk_PersonID PRIMARY KEY (P_Id,LastName)
)


SQL PRIMARY KEY Constraint on ALTER TABLE

To create a PRIMARY KEY constraint on the "P_Id" column when the table is already created, use the following SQL:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
ADD PRIMARY KEY (P_Id)

To allow naming of a PRIMARY KEY constraint, and for defining a PRIMARY KEY constraint on multiple columns, use the following SQL syntax:

MySQL / SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
ADD CONSTRAINT pk_PersonID PRIMARY KEY (P_Id,LastName)

Note: If you use the ALTER TABLE statement to add a primary key, the primary key column(s) must already have been declared to not contain NULL values (when the table was first created).

To DROP a PRIMARY KEY Constraint

To drop a PRIMARY KEY constraint, use the following SQL:

MySQL:

ALTER TABLE Persons
DROP PRIMARY KEY

SQL Server / Oracle / MS Access:

ALTER TABLE Persons
DROP CONSTRAINT pk_PersonID

SQL FOREIGN KEY Constraint

A FOREIGN KEY in one table points to a PRIMARY KEY in another table.

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