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MySQL 5.6 Reference Manual
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1.7.3.2 FOREIGN KEY Constraints

Foreign keys let you cross-reference related data across tables, and foreign key constraints help keep this spread-out data consistent.

MySQL supports ON UPDATE and ON DELETE foreign key references in CREATE TABLE and ALTER TABLE statements. The available referential actions are RESTRICT (the default), CASCADE, SET NULL, and NO ACTION.

Note

NDB does not support ON UPDATE CASCADE actions where the referenced column is the parent table's primary key.

SET DEFAULT is also supported by the MySQL Server but is currently rejected as invalid by InnoDB and NDB. Since MySQL does not support deferred constraint checking, NO ACTION is treated as RESTRICT. For the exact syntax supported by MySQL for foreign keys, see Section 13.1.17.3, “Using FOREIGN KEY Constraints”.

MATCH FULL, MATCH PARTIAL, and MATCH SIMPLE are allowed, but their use should be avoided, as they cause the MySQL Server to ignore any ON DELETE or ON UPDATE clause used in the same statement. MATCH options do not have any other effect in MySQL, which in effect enforces MATCH SIMPLE semantics full-time.

MySQL requires that foreign key columns be indexed; if you create a table with a foreign key constraint but no index on a given column, an index is created. Exception: MySQL Cluster requires an explicit unique key (or primary key) on the foreign key column.

You can obtain information about foreign keys from the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.KEY_COLUMN_USAGE table. An example of a query against this table is shown here:

mysql> SELECT TABLE_SCHEMA, TABLE_NAME, COLUMN_NAME, CONSTRAINT_NAME 
     > FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.KEY_COLUMN_USAGE 
     > WHERE REFERENCED_TABLE_SCHEMA IS NOT NULL;
+--------------+---------------+-------------+-----------------+
| TABLE_SCHEMA | TABLE_NAME    | COLUMN_NAME | CONSTRAINT_NAME |
+--------------+---------------+-------------+-----------------+
| fk1          | myuser        | myuser_id   | f               |
| fk1          | product_order | customer_id | f2              |
| fk1          | product_order | product_id  | f1              |
+--------------+---------------+-------------+-----------------+
3 rows in set (0.01 sec)

Information about foreign keys on InnoDB tables can also be found in the INNODB_SYS_FOREIGN and INNODB_SYS_FOREIGN_COLS tables, in the INFORMATION_SCHEMA database.


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