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IDENTITY columns as foreign keys

P: n/a
So we're trying to decide if it's better to use IDENTITY columns or
sequences to create a surrogate key as the primary key for our tables. I
kind of like the identity column, because it's more 'tightly integrated' in
to the table. With a sequence you have to make sure that each application
that inserts records uses the same sequence. (Probably not likely that it
wouldn't, but...)

One thing where it seems like a SEQUENCE would be better is when you insert
a row in to a table, and then insert more than one row in to another table,
where the PK from the first table is an FK in to the second.

For example:

INSERT INTO test.accounts (account_id, appl_code, appl_id, branch_number)
VALUES (NEXT VALUE FOR test.accounts_seq, 'DDA', 1239876543, 543);

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
PREVIOUS VALUE FOR test.accounts_seq
, 123456789
, 'EN'
);

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
PREVIOUS VALUE FOR test.accounts_seq
, 987654321
, 'JP'
);

There seem to be various ways to handle this for an identity column. You
can use IDENTITY_VAL_LOCAL():

INSERT INTO test.accounts (appl_code, appl_id, branch_number)
VALUES ('DDA', 1239876543, 543);

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
IDENTITY_VAL_LOCAL()
, 123456789
, 'EN'
);

But that will not work, in this case, for the second insert in to
account_relationships, because IDENTITY_VAL_LOCAL() would return the
identity of the previous insert into account_relationships, rather than the
one in to accounts.

Of course you could retrieve IDENTITY_VAL_LOCAL() in to a host variable
after the insert in to accounts, but that's an extra trip to the database.

There's also this:
SELECT account_id
INTO :account-id
FROM FINAL TABLE (
INSERT INTO test.accounts (appl_code, appl_id, branch_number)
VALUES ('DDA', 1239876543, 543)
);

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
:account-id
, 123456789
, 'EN'
);

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
:account-id
, 987654321
, 'JP'
);

I'm not sure if this actually creates an extra trip to the database. In any
case, my client (DB2 for VSE) does not appear to be able to handle this type
of statement, so I can't use it.

Another thing that does work for my particular example is using a select
inside the values clause, ie:

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
(SELECT account_id
FROM test.accounts
WHERE appl_code = 'DDA'
AND appl_id = 1239876543)
, 123456789
, 'EN'
);

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
(SELECT account_id
FROM test.accounts
WHERE appl_code = 'DDA'
AND appl_id = 1239876543)
, 987654321
, 'JP'
);

This works in my case because of a UNIQUE (appl_code, appl_id) constraint.
I don't like the fact that it does the SELECT for each insert in to
account_relationships, but that does not appear to add too much overhead
since the predicate uses the index for the UNIQUE constraint.

Have I missed any options for how to do this when using an IDENTITY column?

Seems to me it would be nice to extend the IDENTITY_VAL_LOCAL() function to
allow an input parameter naming the table that you want to retrieve it from.
For instance:

INSERT INTO test.accounts (appl_code, appl_id, branch_number)
VALUES ('DDA', 1239876543, 543);

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
IDENTITY_VAL_LOCAL(test.accounts)
, 123456789
, 'EN'
);

INSERT INTO test.account_relationships (account_id, cif_number,
relationship_ind)
VALUES (
IDENTITY_VAL_LOCAL(test.accounts)
, 987654321
, 'JP'
);

But since that does not appear to be available...

Here's all of the relevant DDL for all of the above examples:

CREATE TABLE test.accounts (
account_id INTEGER NOT NULL GENERATED BY DEFAULT AS IDENTITY (START WITH
+1)
, CONSTRAINT accounts_pk PRIMARY KEY (account_id)
, appl_code CHAR(3) NOT NULL
, appl_id DEC(16) NOT NULL
, branch_number DEC(3) NOT NULL
, address_key DEC(3) NOT NULL DEFAULT 1
, category_code CHAR(1) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'N'
, open_date DATE NOT NULL DEFAULT
, closed_date DATE
, pmt_appl_code CHAR(3)
, pmt_appl_id DEC(16)
, last_mtce_date DATE
, last_update TIMESTAMP NOT NULL
GENERATED ALWAYS FOR EACH ROW ON UPDATE AS ROW
CHANGE TIMESTAMP
, CONSTRAINT account_unique UNIQUE (appl_code, appl_id)

)
@

CREATE TABLE test.account_relationships (
account_rel_id INTEGER NOT NULL GENERATED ALWAYS AS IDENTITY (START WITH
+1)
, CONSTRAINT account_rel_pk PRIMARY KEY (account_rel_id)
, account_id INTEGER NOT NULL
, CONSTRAINT account_rel_fk1 FOREIGN KEY (account_id) REFERENCES
test.accounts (account_id)
ON DELETE CASCADE ON UPDATE NO ACTION
ENFORCED
ENABLE QUERY OPTIMIZATION
, cif_number DECIMAL(9) NOT NULL --need to add foreign key...
, relationship_ind CHAR(4) NOT NULL
, added_date DATE NOT NULL DEFAULT
, last_update TIMESTAMP NOT NULL
GENERATED ALWAYS FOR EACH ROW ON UPDATE AS ROW
CHANGE TIMESTAMP
, CONSTRAINT account_rel_unique UNIQUE (cif_number, relationship_ind)
)
@

CREATE SEQUENCE test.accounts_seq AS INTEGER
START WITH +9999
@

Thanks,
Frank

Jun 27 '08 #1
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