Tables are the basic unit of data storage in an Oracle Database. Data is stored in rows and columns. You define a table with a table name, such as employees, and a set of columns. You give each column a column name, such as employee_id, last_name, and job_id; a datatype, such as VARCHAR2, DATE, or NUMBER; and a width. The width can be predetermined by the datatype, as in DATE. If columns are of the NUMBER datatype, define precision and scale instead of width. A row is a collection of column information corresponding to a single record.
You can specify rules for each column of a table. These rules are called integrity constraints. One example is a NOT NULL integrity constraint. This constraint forces the column to contain a value in every row.
create table DEPARTMENTS ( deptno number, name varchar2(50) not null, location varchar2(50), constraint pk_departments primary key (deptno) );
Tables can declarative specify relationships between tables, typically referred to as referential integrity. To see how this works we can create a "child" table of the DEPARTMENTS table by including a foreign key in the EMPLOYEES table that references the DEPARTMENTS table. For example:
create table EMPLOYEES ( empno number, name varchar2(50) not null, job varchar2(50), manager number, hiredate date, salary number(7,2), commission number(7,2), deptno number, constraint pk_employees primary key (empno), constraint fk_employees_deptno foreign key (deptno) references DEPARTMENTS (deptno) );
Foreign keys must reference primary keys, so to create a "child" table the "parent" table must have a primary key for the foreign key to reference.
Triggers are procedures that are stored in the database and are implicitly run, or fired, when something happens. Traditionally, triggers supported the execution of a procedural code, in Oracle procedural SQL is called a PL/SQL block. PL stands for procedural language. When an INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE occurred on a table or view. Triggers support system and other data events on DATABASE and SCHEMA.
Triggers are frequently used to automatically populate table primary keys, the trigger examples below show an example trigger to do just this. We will use a built in function to obtain a globallally unique identifier or GUID.
create or replace trigger DEPARTMENTS_BIU before insert or update on DEPARTMENTS for each row begin if inserting and :new.deptno is null then :new.deptno := to_number(sys_guid(), 'XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX'); end if; end; / create or replace trigger EMPLOYEES_BIU before insert or update on EMPLOYEES for each row begin if inserting and :new.empno is null then :new.empno := to_number(sys_guid(), 'XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX'); end if; end; /
Now that we have tables created, and we have triggers to automatically populate our primary keys, we can add data to our tables. Because we have a parent child relationship, with the DEPARTMENTS table as the parent table, and the EMPLOYEES table as the child we will first INSERT a row into the DEPARTMENTS table.
insert into departments (name, location) values ('Finance','New York'); insert into departments (name, location) values ('Development','San Jose');
Lets verify that the insert was successful by running a SQL SELECT statement to query all columns and all rows of our table.
select * from departments;
You can see that an ID will have been automatically generated. You can now insert into the EMPLOYEES table a new row but you will need to put the generated DEPTID value into your SQL INSERT statement. The examples below show how we can do this using a SQL query, but you could simply enter the department number directly.
insert into EMPLOYEES (name, job, salary, deptno) values ('Sam Smith','Programmer', 5000, (select deptno from departments where name = 'Development')); insert into EMPLOYEES (name, job, salary, deptno) values ('Mara Martin','Analyst', 6000, (select deptno from departments where name = 'Finance')); insert into EMPLOYEES (name, job, salary, deptno) values ('Yun Yates','Analyst', 5500, (select deptno from departments where name = 'Development'));
Typically developers index columns for three major reasons:
When a table is created and a PRIMARY KEY is specified an index is automatically created to enforce the primary key constraint. If you specific UNIQUE for a column when creating a column a unique index is also created. To see the indexes that already exist for a given table you can run the following dictionary query.
select table_name "Table", index_name "Index", column_name "Column", column_position "Position" from user_ind_columns where table_name = 'EMPLOYEES' or table_name = 'DEPARTMENTS' order by table_name, column_name, column_position
It is typically good form to index foreign keys, foreign keys are columns in a table that reference another table. In our EMPLOYEES and DEPARTMENTS table example the DEPTNO column in the EMPLOYEE table references the primary key of the DEPARTMENTS table.
create index employee_dept_no_fk_idx on employees (deptno)
We may also determine that the EMPLOYEE table will be frequently searched by the NAME column. To improve the performance searches and to ensure uniqueness we can create a unique index on the EMPLOYEE table NAME column.
create unique index employee_ename_idx on employees (name)
Oracle provides many other indexing technologies including function based indexes which can index expressions, such as an upper function, text indexes which can index free form text, bitmapped indexes useful in data warehousing. You can also create indexed organized tables, you can use partition indexes and more. Sometimes it is best to have fewer indexes and take advantage of in memory capabilities. All of these topics are beyond the scope of this basic introduction.
To select data from a single table it is reasonably easy, simply use the SELECT ... FROM ... WHERE ... ORDER BY ... syntax.
select * from employees;
To query data from two related tables you can join the data
select e.name employee, d.name department, e.job, d.location from departments d, employees e where d.deptno = e.deptno(+) order by e.name;
As an alternative to a join you can use an inline select to query data.
select e.name employee, (select name from departments d where d.deptno = e.deptno) department, e.job from employees e order by e.name;
Table meta data is accessible from the Oracle data dictionary. The following queries show how you can query the data dictionary tables.
select table_name, tablespace_name, status from user_tables where table_Name = 'EMPLOYEES'; select column_id, column_name , data_type from user_tab_columns where table_Name = 'EMPLOYEES' order by column_id;
You can use SQL to update values in your table, to do this we will use the update clause
update employees set country_code = 'US';
The query above will update all rows of the employee table and set the value of country code to US. You can also selectively update just a specific row.
update employees set commission = 2000 where name = 'Sam Smith';
Lets run a Query to see what our data looks like
select name, country_code, salary, commission from employees order by name;
You can sum data in tables using aggregate functions. We will use column aliases to rename columns for readability, we will also use the null value function (NVL) to allow us to properly sum columns with null values.
select count(*) employee_count, sum(salary) total_salary, sum(commission) total_commission, min(salary + nvl(commission,0)) min_compensation, max(salary + nvl(commission,0)) max_compensation from employees;
As your database grows in size to gigabytes or terabytes and beyond, consider using table compression. Table compression saves disk space and reduces memory use in the buffer cache. Table compression can also speed up query execution during reads. There is, however, a cost in CPU overhead for data loading and DML. Table compression is completely transparent to applications. It is especially useful in online analytical processing (OLAP) systems, where there are lengthy read-only operations, but can also be used in online transaction processing (OLTP) systems.
You specify table compression with the COMPRESS clause of the CREATE TABLE statement. You can enable compression for an existing table by using this clause in an ALTER TABLE statement. In this case, the only data that is compressed is the data inserted or updated after compression is enabled. Similarly, you can disable table compression for an existing compressed table with the ALTER TABLE...NOCOMPRESS statement. In this case, all data the was already compressed remains compressed, and new data is inserted uncompressed.
To enable compression for future data use the following syntax.
alter table EMPLOYEES compress for oltp; alter table DEPARTMENTS compress for oltp;
You can drop tables using the SQL DROP command. Dropping a table will remove all of the rows and drop sub-objects including indexes and triggers. The following DROP statements will drop the departments and employees tables. The optional cascade constraints clause will drop remove constraints thus allowing you to drop database tables in any order.
drop table departments cascade constraints; drop table employees cascade constraints;
If the RECYCLEBIN initialization parameter is set to ON (the default in 10g), then dropping this table will place it in the recycle bin. To see if you can undrop a table run the following data dictionary query:
select object_name, original_name, type, can_undrop, can_purge from recyclebin;
To undrop tables we use the flashback command, for example:
flashback table DEPARTMENTS to before drop; flashback table EMPLOYEES to before drop; select count(*) departments from departments; select count(*) employees from employees;