Oracle 11g: Is a Drop Down literal Field possible?

I'm designing a table to track programitic changes (rudimentary version control). One of the fields will be one of three types of language: we currently deal with: PL/SQL, VBA, PowerBasic.
Typically I would have another table with a unique Type_key and a description. I would then use the Type_id in the main table.
Because the list is so limited, it would be more practicle to have a "drop down" field where the acceptable values would be "hard coded" to avoid mis-spellings.

Is something like this possible, or, is there anything I can do to accomplish this without creating yet another lookup table?
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slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
Rules of normalization dictate a lookup table with a foreign key to the main table.

I prefer to have separate lookup tables for my list of values even if there are only a couple of values.

It allows for maximum flexibility and reduced risk of data errors down the road.
GNOVAKAuthor Commented:
That's what I thought.
We typically have a lookup table but we do not place any hard coded relationships in oracle.
I'm going to be entering the information directly into the table (we utilize TOAD).

Is there a way that I can set up a "hard" relationship so that the Main table "lists" the acceptable values from the look up table?

For example, If the MAIN_TABLE has a field called PROGRAM_TYPE_ID and the LK_PROGRAM_TYPE table has two Fields: PROGRAM_TYPE_ID and PROGRAM_DESCRIPTION, is there a way that when I try to enter the information into the MAIN_TABLE, it would somehow indicate the possible PRGRAM_TYPE_IDs with the corresponding PROGRAM_DESCRIPTIONs?

or, what's the best solution for something like this other than having a better personal memory than I have?
slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
>>Is there a way that I can set up a "hard" relationship so that the Main table "lists" the acceptable values from the look up table?

That would be a feature of the tool you are using.  I'm not a Toad person so I don't know if you can create dropdown entries in something like a datasheet view with it.

I know this can be done in Access.
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Toad does not have such a feature.

It's a rich tool for development and administration; but bulk, manual, data entry is not one of its strong suits.

If you have a lot of data entry you might want to use Excel or Access and then import it.
slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
>>use Excel or Access and then import it.

If Access, I would just use Linked Tables.  No import necessary.
if a simple warning is sufficient and you only have 3 values,  you could maybe try using a mnemonic check constraint

    change_type VARCHAR2(20 BYTE),
    CONSTRAINT chk_plsql_vba_powerbasic CHECK
        (change_type IN ('PL/SQL', 'VBA', 'PowerBasic'))

INSERT INTO changes(change_type) VALUES ('test');

ORA-02290: check constraint (YOURSCHEMA.CHK_PLSQL_VBA_POWERBASIC) violated

The constraint name tells me I should only use plsql, vba or powerbasic.

or, if you want a more explanatory (and case sensitive) error message you could implement a BEFORE trigger

    ON changes
    IF :new.change_type NOT IN ('PL/SQL', 'VBA', 'PowerBasic')
            'Change_Type must be one of "PL/SQL", "VBA", or "PowerBasic"'
    END IF;

Now an invalid insert will produce this error message

ORA-20001: Change_Type must be one of "PL/SQL", "VBA", or "PowerBasic"
ORA-04088: error during execution of trigger 'YOURSCHEMA.CHANGES_BRIU'

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slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
But that requires the hard-coded list of values not a normalized lookup table.

If that suggestion was in answer to:
Is there a way that I can set up a "hard" relationship so that the Main table "lists" the acceptable values from the look up table?

Then I would go with a foreign key constraint to enforce that the value inserted was one of the acceptable ones.

Granted, you don't get the nice message of allowed values but you don't have hard-coded lists.
GNOVAKAuthor Commented:
Thanks !
I like using the constraint/trigger approach this time - wouldnt use it very often, but in this case it would work great.

Thanks again...
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