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Derived Table Aliases

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In my database class, students write solutions as group exercises against the Oracle 11g XE database and then they port the solution individually to the MySQL 5.5 database. One of the students copied over a query like the one below to MySQL (a query used to track the expected number of row returns).

SELECT   COUNT(*)
FROM    (SELECT   DISTINCT
                  k.kingdom_id
         ,        kki.kingdom_name
         ,        kki.population
         FROM     kingdom_knight_import kki LEFT JOIN kingdom k
         ON       kki.kingdom_name = k.kingdom_name
         AND      kki.population = k.population);

It got an error they didn’t understand:

ERROR 1248 (42000): Every derived TABLE must have its own alias

Providing a dt query alias fixes the problem in MySQL for the following query. The fact that it was just an alias was a revelation to the student. That’s because Oracle databases don’t require aliases for inline views (what Oracle calls MySQL derived tables and Microsoft calls a Common Table Expression (CTE)).

SELECT   COUNT(*)
FROM    (SELECT   DISTINCT
                  k.kingdom_id
         ,        kki.kingdom_name
         ,        kki.population
         FROM     kingdom_knight_import kki LEFT JOIN kingdom k
         ON       kki.kingdom_name = k.kingdom_name
         AND      kki.population = k.population) dt;

MySQL requires that every derived table have its own alias. This make sense when you think about query optimization engines work, but that’s a story for a much longer post.

You can find more about inline views, derived tables, and common table expressions in this older post of mine. This post was promised so that future students can simply google and answer rather than ask me or a class tutor.

Written by maclochlainn

June 23rd, 2012 at 1:03 am

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