MySQL 5.1 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Trigger Syntax and Examples

19.3.1 Trigger Syntax and Examples

To create a trigger or drop a trigger, use the CREATE TRIGGER or DROP TRIGGER statement, described in Section 13.1.19, “CREATE TRIGGER Syntax”, and Section 13.1.30, “DROP TRIGGER Syntax”.

Here is a simple example that associates a trigger with a table, to activate for INSERT operations. The trigger acts as an accumulator, summing the values inserted into one of the columns of the table.

mysql> CREATE TABLE account (acct_num INT, amount DECIMAL(10,2));
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.03 sec)

mysql> CREATE TRIGGER ins_sum BEFORE INSERT ON account
    -> FOR EACH ROW SET @sum = @sum + NEW.amount;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.06 sec)

The CREATE TRIGGER statement creates a trigger named ins_sum that is associated with the account table. It also includes clauses that specify the trigger action time, the triggering event, and what to do when the trigger activates:

  • The keyword BEFORE indicates the trigger action time. In this case, the trigger activates before each row inserted into the table. The other permitted keyword here is AFTER.

  • The keyword INSERT indicates the trigger event; that is, the type of operation that activates the trigger. In the example, INSERT operations cause trigger activation. You can also create triggers for DELETE and UPDATE operations.

  • The statement following FOR EACH ROW defines the trigger body; that is, the statement to execute each time the trigger activates, which occurs once for each row affected by the triggering event. In the example, the trigger body is a simple SET that accumulates into a user variable the values inserted into the amount column. The statement refers to the column as NEW.amount which means the value of the amount column to be inserted into the new row.

To use the trigger, set the accumulator variable to zero, execute an INSERT statement, and then see what value the variable has afterward:

mysql> SET @sum = 0;
mysql> INSERT INTO account VALUES(137,14.98),(141,1937.50),(97,-100.00);
mysql> SELECT @sum AS 'Total amount inserted';
| Total amount inserted |
| 1852.48               |

In this case, the value of @sum after the INSERT statement has executed is 14.98 + 1937.50 - 100, or 1852.48.

To destroy the trigger, use a DROP TRIGGER statement. You must specify the schema name if the trigger is not in the default schema:

mysql> DROP TRIGGER test.ins_sum;

If you drop a table, any triggers for the table are also dropped.

Trigger names exist in the schema namespace, meaning that all triggers must have unique names within a schema. Triggers in different schemas can have the same name.

In addition to the requirement that trigger names be unique for a schema, there are other limitations on the types of triggers you can create. In particular, there cannot be multiple triggers for a given table that have the same trigger event and action time. For example, you cannot have two BEFORE UPDATE triggers for a table. To work around this, you can define a trigger that executes multiple statements by using the BEGIN ... END compound statement construct after FOR EACH ROW. (An example appears later in this section.)

Within the trigger body, the OLD and NEW keywords enable you to access columns in the rows affected by a trigger. OLD and NEW are MySQL extensions to triggers; they are not case sensitive.

In an INSERT trigger, only NEW.col_name can be used; there is no old row. In a DELETE trigger, only OLD.col_name can be used; there is no new row. In an UPDATE trigger, you can use OLD.col_name to refer to the columns of a row before it is updated and NEW.col_name to refer to the columns of the row after it is updated.

A column named with OLD is read only. You can refer to it (if you have the SELECT privilege), but not modify it. You can refer to a column named with NEW if you have the SELECT privilege for it. In a BEFORE trigger, you can also change its value with SET NEW.col_name = value if you have the UPDATE privilege for it. This means you can use a trigger to modify the values to be inserted into a new row or used to update a row. (Such a SET statement has no effect in an AFTER trigger because the row change will have already occurred.)

In a BEFORE trigger, the NEW value for an AUTO_INCREMENT column is 0, not the sequence number that is generated automatically when the new row actually is inserted.

By using the BEGIN ... END construct, you can define a trigger that executes multiple statements. Within the BEGIN block, you also can use other syntax that is permitted within stored routines such as conditionals and loops. However, just as for stored routines, if you use the mysql program to define a trigger that executes multiple statements, it is necessary to redefine the mysql statement delimiter so that you can use the ; statement delimiter within the trigger definition. The following example illustrates these points. It defines an UPDATE trigger that checks the new value to be used for updating each row, and modifies the value to be within the range from 0 to 100. This must be a BEFORE trigger because the value must be checked before it is used to update the row:

mysql> delimiter //
mysql> CREATE TRIGGER upd_check BEFORE UPDATE ON account
    -> BEGIN
    ->     IF NEW.amount < 0 THEN
    ->         SET NEW.amount = 0;
    ->     ELSEIF NEW.amount > 100 THEN
    ->         SET NEW.amount = 100;
    ->     END IF;
    -> END;//
mysql> delimiter ;

It can be easier to define a stored procedure separately and then invoke it from the trigger using a simple CALL statement. This is also advantageous if you want to execute the same code from within several triggers.

There are limitations on what can appear in statements that a trigger executes when activated:

  • The trigger cannot use the CALL statement to invoke stored procedures that return data to the client or that use dynamic SQL. (Stored procedures are permitted to return data to the trigger through OUT or INOUT parameters.)

  • The trigger cannot use statements that explicitly or implicitly begin or end a transaction, such as START TRANSACTION, COMMIT, or ROLLBACK. (ROLLBACK to SAVEPOINT is permitted because it does not end a transaction.).

See also Section C.1, “Restrictions on Stored Programs”.

MySQL handles errors during trigger execution as follows:

  • If a BEFORE trigger fails, the operation on the corresponding row is not performed.

  • A BEFORE trigger is activated by the attempt to insert or modify the row, regardless of whether the attempt subsequently succeeds.

  • An AFTER trigger is executed only if any BEFORE triggers and the row operation execute successfully.

  • An error during either a BEFORE or AFTER trigger results in failure of the entire statement that caused trigger invocation.

  • For transactional tables, failure of a statement should cause rollback of all changes performed by the statement. Failure of a trigger causes the statement to fail, so trigger failure also causes rollback. For nontransactional tables, such rollback cannot be done, so although the statement fails, any changes performed prior to the point of the error remain in effect.

In MySQL 5.1, triggers can contain direct references to tables by name, such as the trigger named testref shown in this example:


delimiter |

    INSERT INTO test2 SET a2 = NEW.a1;
    DELETE FROM test3 WHERE a3 = NEW.a1;
    UPDATE test4 SET b4 = b4 + 1 WHERE a4 = NEW.a1;

delimiter ;

  (NULL), (NULL), (NULL), (NULL), (NULL),
  (NULL), (NULL), (NULL), (NULL), (NULL);

  (0), (0), (0), (0), (0), (0), (0), (0), (0), (0);

Suppose that you insert the following values into table test1 as shown here:

mysql> INSERT INTO test1 VALUES 
    -> (1), (3), (1), (7), (1), (8), (4), (4);
Query OK, 8 rows affected (0.01 sec)
Records: 8  Duplicates: 0  Warnings: 0

As a result, the four tables contain the following data:

mysql> SELECT * FROM test1;
| a1   |
|    1 |
|    3 |
|    1 |
|    7 |
|    1 |
|    8 |
|    4 |
|    4 |
8 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT * FROM test2;
| a2   |
|    1 |
|    3 |
|    1 |
|    7 |
|    1 |
|    8 |
|    4 |
|    4 |
8 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT * FROM test3;
| a3 |
|  2 |
|  5 |
|  6 |
|  9 |
| 10 |
5 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT * FROM test4;
| a4 | b4   |
|  1 |    3 |
|  2 |    0 |
|  3 |    1 |
|  4 |    2 |
|  5 |    0 |
|  6 |    0 |
|  7 |    1 |
|  8 |    1 |
|  9 |    0 |
| 10 |    0 |
10 rows in set (0.00 sec)

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