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How would I write a Constraint to ensure that there is only one record that is active for any one templ_id.

Posted on 2011-03-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi, How would I write a Constraint to ensure that there is only one record that is active for any one templ_id.

This is valid... but two actives ones would not be valid.
templ_id       status
 1                 inactive
 1                 active
 1                 inactive



ALTER TABLE employee
    ADD CONSTRAINT unq_templ_id_active_status_ck
    CHECK (??????????????? );
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Question by:bcarlis
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
slightwv (䄆 Netminder) earned 25 total points
ID: 35098554
I don't believe to can do this with a simple constraint.  You definitely can with a trigger.

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by:Akenathon
ID: 35098592
Check constraint do NOT span more than one record. What you need is a unique function index:

create unique index emp_active_uk on employee (decode(status,'active',templ_id,null),decode(status,'active','active',null))
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Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 35098648
>>What you need is a unique function index:

Very nice!!!

Yes, go with that.  It's better than my trigger suggestion.
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Akenathon earned 100 total points
ID: 35098920
Thanks! A couple of notes for the author:

- A unique CONSTRAINT is no good here, since the syntax only takes columns (i.e. no functions allowed)
- The suggestion works because NULL keys are not indexed
- You can leave out the second field I'm indexing, since the point is indexing only the "active IDs" anyway:

create unique index emp_active_uk on employee (decode(status,'active',templ_id,null))
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by:Akenathon
ID: 35098956
Forgot to mention: the problem with triggers is concurrency. If two people simultaneously try to INSERT the same ID with 'active' status, the only way you can enforce uniqueness is having an autonomous transaction insert the ID into an auxiliary structure and fail if there's a duplicate. In effect, you'd be implementing the unique index anyway...
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Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 35098983
>>If two people simultaneously try to INSERT

I stand corrected again.  ;)
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Author Closing Comment

by:bcarlis
ID: 35101675
That Unique constraint worked awesome! Thanks!
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