I use Alan Beaulieu’s book in my entry level SQL class because it is simple and short. The problem is that we focus on Oracle products as an Oracle Academic Partner. Three items that come up frequently are the MySQL
SET data types, and how to perform multiple row inserts.
ENUM data type
ENUM data type lets you enter a list of possible string values. It acts like a check constraint in an Oracle database. As such, it restricts what you enter in the column to a value found in the list, or a
NULL value provided you’ve not added a not null column constraint.
You could define a table that contains video store item types, like the following:
CREATE TABLE item_type ( id INT , text ENUM ('VHS','DVD','Blu-ray') );
You should note that the case sensitivity for display is set by how you define them in the
ENUM data type when you create the table. They may be entered in mixed, lowercase, or uppercase in an
INSERT statement because they’re actually stored as a number. The numbers correlate to their order in an internal list of values, and that list start with the number one.
An alternative syntax with a
VARCHAR data type is:
CREATE TABLE item_type ( id INT , TYPE VARCHAR(20) CHECK ( TYPE IN ('DVD','VHS','Blu-ray') ));
In MySQL, this syntax is exactly equivalent in behavior to an
ENUM data type. The same isn’t true in an Oracle database. While the equivalent check constraint statement is simple, it isn’t alike behavior. The comparable statement for Oracle names the constraint. You can’t name constraints in MySQL.
CREATE TABLE item_type ( id NUMBER , TYPE VARCHAR2(20) CONSTRAINT it_type CHECK ( TYPE IN ('DVD','VHS','Blu-ray') ));
The difference between an
ENUM type and a check constraint in MySQL is that the data may not display in a uniform way. MySQL check constraints don’t impose case sensitive validation on input strings, and they also store the data however it is input. Whereas, Oracle does impose case sensitive check constraints and rejects non-conforming strings.
Both databases support single and multiple row
INSERT statements. The syntax for single row
INSERT statements is very much alike. Multiple row
INSERT statement syntax differs between the implementations, as shown later in the blog post.
Oracle Framework to mimic
ENUM data type ↓
This framework is predicated on two assumptions. You are migrating from a MySQL to Oracle database, and your external code doesn’t enforce case sensitivity on inputs because it once relied on the MySQL
ENUM data type. Oracle check constraints enforce case sensitive inputs, which may be a solution in itself during migration. At least, it is a solution when you handle case sensitive errors gracefully in your external code. Assuming you want an alternative to changing your external application code and you want to avoid throwing errors, here are the steps to do so.
Create testing environment
Create a testing environment that uses a
VARCHAR2 column without a database level constraint in conjunction with a database trigger. You can do this because a before insert or update trigger will enforce the equivalent of a database constraint. The trigger lets you define the behavior of the constraint.
Here’s the setup code, which relies on a small
item_type lookup table:
Setup code ↓
-- Conditionally drop table and sequence before attempting to create them. BEGIN FOR i IN (SELECT TABLE_NAME FROM user_tables WHERE TABLE_NAME IN (UPPER('item_type') ,UPPER('item'))) LOOP EXECUTE IMMEDIATE 'DROP TABLE '||i.TABLE_NAME||' CASCADE CONSTRAINTS'; END LOOP; FOR i IN (SELECT sequence_name FROM user_sequences WHERE sequence_name IN (UPPER('item_type_s1') ,UPPER('item_s1'))) LOOP EXECUTE IMMEDIATE 'DROP SEQUENCE '||i.sequence_name; END LOOP; END; / -- Create item_type table, index on the natural key, and sequence; then seed data. CREATE TABLE item_type ( item_type_id NUMBER CONSTRAINT pk_item_type PRIMARY KEY , TABLE_NAME VARCHAR2(30) CONSTRAINT nn_item_type_1 NOT NULL , column_name VARCHAR2(30) CONSTRAINT nn_item_type_2 NOT NULL , type_name VARCHAR2(30) CONSTRAINT nn_item_type_3 NOT NULL , code VARCHAR2(5) , meaning VARCHAR2(255) CONSTRAINT nn_item_type_4 NOT NULL); CREATE UNIQUE INDEX item_type_u1 ON item_type(TABLE_NAME,column_name,type_name); CREATE TABLE item ( item_id NUMBER CONSTRAINT pk_item PRIMARY KEY , item_type NUMBER CONSTRAINT nn_item_1 NOT NULL , item_title VARCHAR2(60) CONSTRAINT nn_item_2 NOT NULL , item_rating_id NUMBER CONSTRAINT nn_item_3 NOT NULL); CREATE SEQUENCE item_type_s1 START WITH 1001; CREATE SEQUENCE item_s1 START WITH 1001; INSERT INTO item_type VALUES (item_type_s1.NEXTVAL,'ITEM','ITEM_TYPE','DVD',NULL,'DVD'); INSERT INTO item_type VALUES (item_type_s1.NEXTVAL,'ITEM','ITEM_TYPE','VHS',NULL,'VHS'); INSERT INTO item_type VALUES (item_type_s1.NEXTVAL,'ITEM','ITEM_TYPE','Blu-ray',NULL,'BLRY');
As you may have noticed, the seeded data contains case sensitive strings. The absence of a database-level constraint on a column of a table requires a database trigger. The trigger acts as an alternative to a check constraint and lets you enforce a filtered insertion rule.
Oracle lets you write logic directly into a database trigger, but it is better to write the logic into a stored function or procedure and call it from the trigger’s execution block.
Create a stored function
The stored function takes a string, looks it up in the
item_type table, and returns the correct case-sensitive string. The logic is implemented in this function:
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION proper_item_type ( item_type VARCHAR2 ) RETURN VARCHAR2 IS CURSOR c (type_name_in VARCHAR2) IS SELECT type_name FROM item_type WHERE UPPER(type_name) = UPPER(type_name_in); BEGIN FOR i IN c (item_type) LOOP RETURN i.type_name; END LOOP; END; /
Create a database trigger
After you’ve defined the logic for the trigger, you need to define the database trigger. The following creates a before insert or update database trigger on the
item table. The trigger ensures that
INSERT statements to the
item table store case sensitive copies from the list of possible values found in the
item_type lookup table.
CREATE OR REPLACE TRIGGER proper_item_type_t1 BEFORE INSERT OR UPDATE ON item FOR EACH ROW BEGIN :NEW.item_type := proper_item_type(:new_item_type); END; /
The trigger takes a non-compliant or compliant string and always return a compliant string before anything is put in the
Test the framework
You can test the framework by inserting an uppercase string
BLU-RAY and evaluating the actual results. The following
INSERT statement tests the outcome of inserting a non-compliant string.
INSERT INTO item VALUES (item_s1.NEXTVAL, 'BLU-RAY', 'Star Wars I', 1001);
You’ll see that a compliant string was actually inserted because the trigger called the function, and the function changed the value from a non-compliant to compliant string. This query let’s you see the result:
SELECT * FROM item;
Blu-ray in the
SET data type
SET data type lets you enter a list of possible string values but differs from the
ENUM data type only in how the values are indexed. Values in the
SET are stored as bit values. You may store up to 64 members in a set.
You create a table the same way as you did with
ENUM data type, except that you use the
SET key word.
CREATE TABLE item_type ( id INT , TYPE SET ('DVD','VHS','Blu-ray'));
All insert patterns shown for the
ENUM data type work with the
SET data type.
The most common multiple row insert statement in MySQL is a comma delimited set of parenthetical values. Each parenthetical set of values maps to a row in the
INSERT INTO item_type VALUES ( 1, 'DVD' ), ( 2, 'Blu-ray'), ( 3, 'VHS' );
You can’t use the foregoing syntax in Oracle. Oralce only supports a multiple row insert with a subquery.
You can write a subquery in MySQL that fabricates an aggregate table by using numeric and string literals, like the following statement.
INSERT INTO item_type SELECT 1, 'DVD' UNION ALL SELECT 2, 'Blu-ray' UNION ALL SELECT 3, 'VHS' ;
Another way to perform multiple row inserts in MySQL is to select from an existing table or filtered result set, like this:
INSERT INTO item_type SELECT some_int, some_varchar FROM some_table;
You raise an error when you use parentheses in a multiple
INSERT statement in MySQL. It’s important to note because the Oracle allows you to write the statement either way.
If you’re coming from MySQL to Oracle, you should note that you may use parentheses to enclose a subquery in Oracle. The Oracle SQL parser works with or without them in an
The MySQL subquery example is the closest to the Oracle syntax for a multiple row insert. The difference is that Oracle give you the option to enclose a subquery in parentheses when using them inside
INSERT statements. Oracle requires that you use the
FROM dual clause. I actually wish Oracle would adopt the shorter syntax and maintain backward compatibility to the
dual pseudo table.
INSERT INTO item_type ( SELECT 1, 'DVD' FROM dual UNION ALL SELECT 2, 'Blu-ray' FROM dual UNION ALL SELECT 3, 'VHS' FROM dual);
Another way to perform a multiple row insert is to select from an existing table, like this:
INSERT INTO item_type (SELECT some_int, some_varchar FROM some_table);
You should check Oracle’s document that qualifies differences between MySQL and Oracle. It is the Oracle® Database SQL Developer Supplementary Information for MySQL Migrations.