19.5.3 Updatable and Insertable Views

Some views are updatable. That is, you can use them in statements such as UPDATE, DELETE, or INSERT to update the contents of the underlying table. For a view to be updatable, there must be a one-to-one relationship between the rows in the view and the rows in the underlying table. There are also certain other constructs that make a view nonupdatable. To be more specific, a view is not updatable if it contains any of the following:

With respect to insertability (being updatable with INSERT statements), an updatable view is insertable if it also satisfies these additional requirements for the view columns:

A view that has a mix of simple column references and derived columns is not insertable, but it can be updatable if you update only those columns that are not derived. Consider this view:

CREATE VIEW v AS SELECT col1, 1 AS col2 FROM t;

This view is not insertable because col2 is derived from an expression. But it is updatable if the update does not try to update col2. This update is permissible:

UPDATE v SET col1 = 0;

This update is not permissible because it attempts to update a derived column:

UPDATE v SET col2 = 0;

It is sometimes possible for a multiple-table view to be updatable, assuming that it can be processed with the MERGE algorithm. For this to work, the view must use an inner join (not an outer join or a UNION). Also, only a single table in the view definition can be updated, so the SET clause must name only columns from one of the tables in the view. Views that use UNION ALL are not permitted even though they might be theoretically updatable, because the implementation uses temporary tables to process them.

For a multiple-table updatable view, INSERT can work if it inserts into a single table. DELETE is not supported.

INSERT DELAYED is not supported for views.

If a table contains an AUTO_INCREMENT column, inserting into an insertable view on the table that does not include the AUTO_INCREMENT column does not change the value of LAST_INSERT_ID(), because the side effects of inserting default values into columns not part of the view should not be visible.

The WITH CHECK OPTION clause can be given for an updatable view to prevent inserts or updates to rows except those for which the WHERE clause in the select_statement is true.

In a WITH CHECK OPTION clause for an updatable view, the LOCAL and CASCADED keywords determine the scope of check testing when the view is defined in terms of another view. The LOCAL keyword restricts the CHECK OPTION only to the view being defined. CASCADED causes the checks for underlying views to be evaluated as well. When neither keyword is given, the default is CASCADED. Consider the definitions for the following table and set of views:

mysql> CREATE TABLE t1 (a INT);
mysql> CREATE VIEW v1 AS SELECT * FROM t1 WHERE a < 2
    -> WITH CHECK OPTION;
mysql> CREATE VIEW v2 AS SELECT * FROM v1 WHERE a > 0
    -> WITH LOCAL CHECK OPTION;
mysql> CREATE VIEW v3 AS SELECT * FROM v1 WHERE a > 0
    -> WITH CASCADED CHECK OPTION;

Here the v2 and v3 views are defined in terms of another view, v1. v2 has a LOCAL check option, so inserts are tested only against the v2 check. v3 has a CASCADED check option, so inserts are tested not only against its own check, but against those of underlying views. The following statements illustrate these differences:

mysql> INSERT INTO v2 VALUES (2);
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)
mysql> INSERT INTO v3 VALUES (2);
ERROR 1369 (HY000): CHECK OPTION failed 'test.v3'

MySQL sets a flag, called the view updatability flag, at CREATE VIEW time. The flag is set to YES (true) if UPDATE and DELETE (and similar operations) are legal for the view. Otherwise, the flag is set to NO (false). The IS_UPDATABLE column in the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.VIEWS table displays the status of this flag. It means that the server always knows whether a view is updatable. If the view is not updatable, statements such UPDATE, DELETE, and INSERT are illegal and will be rejected. (Note that even if a view is updatable, it might not be possible to insert into it, as described elsewhere in this section.)

The updatability of views may be affected by the value of the updatable_views_with_limit system variable. See Section 5.1.4, “Server System Variables”.