470,560 Members | 1,793 Online
Bytes | Developer Community
New Post

Home Posts Topics Members FAQ

Post your question to a community of 470,560 developers. It's quick & easy.

Syntax to add records if primary key = list

I am new to SQL administration.
From a list of IDs that are the primary key in one table (i.e. Customer

Table), I want to make changes in tables that use those IDs as a
foreign key.

Basically I want to say:

If fk_ID is in list [1,2,3,4,5] then
do these statements to that record
End if

Where do I begin?

Thanks for help with this low-level view of SQL programming.


Sep 21 '05 #1
8 4128
> I am new to SQL administration.
From a list of IDs that are the primary key in one table (i.e. Customer

Table), I want to make changes in tables that use those IDs as a
foreign key.

Basically I want to say:

If fk_ID is in list [1,2,3,4,5] then
do these statements to that record
End if

Where do I begin?

Thanks for help with this low-level view of SQL programming.

Let's try a simple example

Customers table has a field cust_id, orders table has field ord_freight and
ord_custId which is FK.
When you want to update ord_freight for known customer ids you can execute:

UPDATE orders SET ord_freight = 15 WHERE ord_custId IN (1,2,3,4,5)

but let's assume that you know only names of cusomers - then you can use
joins and filter orders using using names and relations between tables.
I think that the best place to start reading are MS SQL Server books
online - look for topic: update (described) - there are some examples etc.
You can use cursors as well and process records on a one by one basis, but I
think that update will solve many of your problems.
I hope this helps

Sep 21 '05 #2
tom (to*********@hotmail.com) writes:
From a list of IDs that are the primary key in one table (i.e. Customer
Table), I want to make changes in tables that use those IDs as a
foreign key.

Basically I want to say:

If fk_ID is in list [1,2,3,4,5] then
do these statements to that record
End if

Where do I begin?

Thanks for help with this low-level view of SQL programming.

IF EXISTS (SELECT * FROM tbl WRE fk_ID IN (1, 2,3, 4, 5))

Although I'm really certain that I understood exactly what you want to
do, so you maybe you need t clarify.
Erland Sommarskog, SQL Server MVP, es****@sommarskog.se

Books Online for SQL Server SP3 at

Sep 21 '05 #3
>UPDATE orders SET ord_freight = 15 WHERE ord_custId IN (1,2,3,4,5)

It seems you got it there - the IN (range) works. I, however, need to
add records, so presumably I will just use the Insert statement in
place of the update.

Thanks for your help.


Sep 21 '05 #4
>> Where do I begin? <<

Begin with the basics. Rows are not records; fields are not columns;
tables are not files. We do not write procedural code in SQL; it is a
HIGH LEVEL, declarative language. If you want to change things, you use
an UPDATE statement:

SET ...
WHERE foo_id IN (1,2,3,4,5);

Please post DDL, so that people do not have to guess what the keys,
constraints, Declarative Referential Integrity, data types, etc. in
your schema are. Sample data is also a good idea, along with clear
specifications. It is very hard to debug code when you do not let us
see it.

Please go to a site with SQL lessons; a newsgroup is a bad place to
learn SQL.

Sep 22 '05 #5
> Rows are not records; fields are not columns

Rows ARE records, fields ARE columns . . . etc. I am not working on a
thesis here, I am implementing solutions to problems. Give it a break.
a newsgroup is a bad place to learn SQL.

I was able to learn quite a bit from a single newsgroup post.

Yours, however, was the only posting I learned nothing from.


Sep 23 '05 #6
>> Rows ARE records, fields ARE columns . . . etc. I am not working on a thesis here, I am implementing solutions to problems. Give it a break. <<

Do you want a break (read: Kludge) or to learn something? What you are
working with is a mental model that is keeping you from understanding
SQL and RDBMS. Like most new ideas, the hard part of understanding
what the relational model is comes in un-learning what you know about
file systems. As Artemus Ward (William Graham Sumner, 1840-1910) put
it, "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into
trouble. It's the things we know that just ain't so."

If you already have a background in data processing with traditional
file systems, the first things to un-learn are:

(0) Databases are not file sets.
(1) Tables are not files.
(2) Rows are not records.
(3) Columns are not fields.

Modern data processing began with punch cards, or Hollerith cards used
by the Bureau of the Census. Their original size was that of a United
States Dollar bill. This was set by their inventor, Herman Hollerith,
because he could get furniture to store the cards from the United
States Treasury Department, just across the street. Likewise, physical
constraints limited each card to 80 columns of holes in which to record
a symbol.

The influence of the punch card lingered on long after the invention of
magnetic tapes and disk for data storage. This is why early video
display terminals were 80 columns across. Even today, files which
were migrated from cards to magnetic tape files or disk storage still
use 80 column records.

But the influence was not just on the physical side of data processing.
The methods for handling data from the prior media were imitated in
the new media.

Data processing first consisted of sorting and merging decks of punch
cards (later, sequential magnetic tape files) in a series of distinct
steps. The result of each step feed into the next step in the process.
Relational databases do not work that way. Each user connects to the
entire database all at once, not to one file at time in a sequence of
steps. The users might not all have the same database access rights
once they are connected, however. Magnetic tapes could not be shared
among users at the same time, but shared data is the point of a

Tables versus Files

A file is closely related to its physical storage media. A table may
or may not be a physical file. DB2 from IBM uses one file per table,
while Sybase puts several entire databases inside one file. A table is
a <i>set<i> of rows of the same kind of thing. A set has no ordering
and it makes no sense to ask for the first or last row.

A deck of punch cards is sequential, and so are magnetic tape files.
Therefore, a <i>physical<i> file of ordered sequential records also
became the <i>mental<i> model for data processing and it is still hard
to shake. Anytime you look at data, it is in some physical ordering.

The various access methods for disk storage system came later, but even
these access methods could not shake the mental model.

Another conceptual difference is that a file is usually data that deals
with a whole business process. A file has to have enough data in
itself to support applications for that business process. Files tend
to be "mixed" data which can be described by the name of the business
process, such as "The Payroll file" or something like that.

Tables can be either entities or relationships within a business
process. This means that the data which was held in one file is often
put into several tables. Tables tend to be "pure" data which can be
described by single words. The payroll would now have separate tables
for timecards, employees, projects and so forth.

Tables as Entities

An entity is physical or conceptual "thing" which has meaning be
itself. A person, a sale or a product would be an example. In a
relational database, an entity is defined by its attributes, which are
shown as values in columns in rows in a table.

To remind users that tables are sets of entities, I like to use plural
or collective nouns that describe the function of the entities within
the system for the names of tables. Thus "Employee" is a bad name
because it is singular; "Employees" is a better name because it is
plural; "Personnel" is best because it is collective and does not
summon up a mental picture of individual persons.

If you have tables with exactly the same structure, then they are sets
of the same kind of elements. But you should have only one set for
each kind of data element! Files, on the other hand, were PHYSICALLY
separate units of storage which coudl be alike -- each tape or disk
file represents a step in the PROCEDURE , such as moving from raw data,
to edited data, and finally to archived data. In SQL, this should be a
status flag in a table.

Tables as Relationships

A relationship is shown in a table by columns which reference one or
more entity tables. Without the entities, the relationship has no
meaning, but the relationship can have attributes of its own. For
example, a show business contract might have an agent, an employer and
a talent. The method of payment is an attribute of the contract
itself, and not of any of the three parties.

Rows versus Records

Rows are not records. A record is defined in the application program
which reads it; a row is defined in the database schema and not by a
program at all. The name of the field in the READ or INPUT statements
of the application; a row is named in the database schema.

All empty files look alike; they are a directory entry in the operating
system with a name and a length of zero bytes of storage. Empty tables
still have columns, constraints, security privileges and other
structures, even tho they have no rows.

This is in keeping with the set theoretical model, in which the empty
set is a perfectly good set. The difference between SQL's set model
and standard mathematical set theory is that set theory has only one
empty set, but in SQL each table has a different structure, so they
cannot be used in places where non-empty versions of themselves could
not be used.

Another characteristic of rows in a table is that they are all alike in
structure and they are all the "same kind of thing" in the model. In a
file system, records can vary in size, datatypes and structure by
having flags in the data stream that tell the program reading the data
how to interpret it. The most common examples are Pascal's variant
record, C's struct syntax and Cobol's OCCURS clause.

The OCCURS keyword in Cobol and the Variant records in Pascal have a
number which tells the program how many time a record structure is to
be repeated in the current record.

Unions in 'C' are not variant records, but variant mappings for the
same physical memory. For example:

union x {int ival; char j[4];} myStuff;

defines myStuff to be either an integer (which are 4 bytes on most
modern C compilers, but this code is non-portable) or an array of 4
bytes, depending on whether you say myStuff.ival or myStuff.j[0];

But even more than that, files often contained records which were
summaries of subsets of the other records -- so called control break
reports. There is no requirement that the records in a file be related
in any way -- they are literally a stream of binary data whose meaning
is assigned by the program reading them.

Columns versus Fields

A field within a record is defined by the application program that
reads it. A column in a row in a table is defined by the database
schema. The datatypes in a column are always scalar.

The order of the application program variables in the READ or INPUT
statements is important because the values are read into the program
variables in that order. In SQL, columns are referenced only by their
names. Yes, there are shorthands like the SELECT * clause and INSERT
INTO <table name> statements which expand into a list of column names
in the physical order in which the column names appear within their
table declaration, but these are shorthands which resolve to named

The use of NULLs in SQL is also unique to the language. Fields do not
support a missing data marker as part of the field, record or file
itself. Nor do fields have constraints which can be added to them in
the record, like the DEFAULT and CHECK() clauses in SQL.

Relationships among tables within a database

Files are pretty passive creatures and will take whatever an
application program throws at them without much objection. Files are
also independent of each other simply because they are connected to one
application program at a time and therefore have no idea what other
files looks like.

A database actively seeks to maintain the correctness of all its data.
The methods used are triggers, constraints and declarative referential

Declarative referential integrity (DRI) says, in effect, that data in
one table has a particular relationship with data in a second (possibly
the same) table. It is also possible to have the database change
itself via referential actions associated with the DRI.

For example, a business rule might be that we do not sell products
which are not in inventory. This rule would be enforce by a REFERENCES
clause on the Orders table which references the Inventory table and a
referential action of ON DELETE CASCADE

Triggers are a more general way of doing much the same thing as DRI. A
trigger is a block of procedural code which is executed before, after
or instead of an INSERT INTO or UPDATE statement. You can do anything
with a trigger that you can do with DRI and more.

However, there are problems with TRIGGERs. While there is a standard
syntax for them in the SQL-92 standard, most vendors have not
implemented it. What they have is very proprietary syntax instead.
Secondly, a trigger cannot pass information to the optimizer like DRI.
In the example in this section, I know that for every product number in
the Orders table, I have that same product number in the Inventory
table. The optimizer can use that information in setting up EXISTS()
predicates and JOINs in the queries. There is no reasonable way to
parse procedural trigger code to determine this relationship.

The CREATE ASSERTION statement in SQL-92 will allow the database to
enforce conditions on the entire database as a whole. An ASSERTION is
not like a CHECK() clause, but the difference is subtle. A CHECK()
clause is executed when there are rows in the table to which it is
attached. If the table is empty then all CHECK() clauses are
effectively TRUE. Thus, if we wanted to be sure that the Inventory
table is never empty, and we wrote:

( ...
CONSTRAINT inventory_not_empty
CHECK ((SELECT COUNT(*) FROM Inventory) > 0), ... );

it would not work. However, we could write:

CREATE ASSERTION Inventory_not_empty
CHECK ((SELECT COUNT(*) FROM Inventory) > 0);

and we would get the desired results. The assertion is checked at the
schema level and not at the table level.
I was able to learn quite a bit from a single newsgroup post. <<
Or you can get a quick newsgroup kludge that will get you over a hump
and have built more bad habits without any real gain.
Yours, however, was the only posting I learned nothing from. <<

"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain." - Die
Jungfrau von Orleans; Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805). Get a book
on Basic RDBMS. It takes about a year of full-time SQL programming to
have a revelation and to kick old habits. What people often get is one
week of SQL porgraming experience repeated 52 times ina row and they
never learn anything.

Sep 23 '05 #7
Now THAT was something to learn from.

With the Guru's Guide and Database Design for Mere Mortals in tow (and,
Joe's comments to guide me), I will rise from the muck of my procedural
background . . .


Sep 23 '05 #8
Hey, being "Celkoed" is a rite of passage in the SQL newsgroups!

Sep 24 '05 #9

This discussion thread is closed

Replies have been disabled for this discussion.

Similar topics

22 posts views Thread by Tuang | last post: by
1 post views Thread by livre | last post: by
By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.