3 Updatable JSON-Relational Duality Views

Applications can update JSON documents supported by a duality view, if you define the view as updatable. You can specify which kinds of updating operations (update, insertion, and deletion) are allowed, for which document fields, how/when, and by whom. You can also specify which fields participate in ETAG hash values.

A duality view does not, itself, store any data; all of the data that underlies its supported JSON documents (which are generated) is stored in tables underlying the view. But it's often handy to think of that table data as being stored in the view. Similarly, for a duality view to be updatable means that you can update some or all of the data in its tables, and so you can update some or all of the fields in its supported documents.

An application can update a complete document, replacing the existing document. Or it can update only particular fields, in place.

An application can optionally cause an update to be performed on a document only if the document has not been changed from some earlier state — for example, it's unchanged since it was last retrieved from the database.

An application can optionally cause some actions to be performed automatically after an update, using database triggers.

3.1 Annotations (NO)UPDATE, (NO)INSERT, (NO)DELETE, To Allow/Disallow Updating Operations

Keyword UPDATE means that the annotated data can be updated. Keywords INSERT and DELETE mean that the fields/columns covered by the annotation can be inserted or deleted, respectively.

Various updating operations (insert, delete, update) can be allowed on the data of a duality view. You specify which operations are allowed when you create the view, using table and column annotations. The operations allowed are based on annotations of its root table and other tables or their columns, as follows:

  • The data of a duality view is insertable or deletable if its root table is annotated with keyword INSERT or DELETE, respectively.

  • A duality view is updatable if any table or column used in its definition is annotated with keyword UPDATE.

By default, duality views are read-only: no table data used to define a duality view can be modified through the view. This means that the data of the duality view itself is, by default, not insertable, deletable, or updatable. The keywords NOUPDATE, NOINSERT, and NODELETE thus pertain by default for all FROM clauses defining a duality view.

You can specify table-level updatability for a given FROM clause by following the table name with keyword WITH followed by one or more of the keywords: (NO)UPDATE, (NO)INSERT, and (NO)DELETE. Table-level updatability defines that of all columns governed by the same FROM clause, except for any that have overriding column-level (NO)UPDATE annotations. (Column-level overrides table-level.)

You can specify that a column-level part of a duality view (corresponding to a JSON-document field) is updatable using annotation WITH after the field–column (key–value) specification, followed by keyword UPDATE or NOUPDATE. For example, 'name' : r.name WITH UPDATE specifies that field name and column r.name are updatable, even if table r is declared with NOUPDATE.

For example, in Example 2-6 and Example 2-7:

  • None of the fields/columns for table team can be inserted, deleted or updated (WITH NOINSERT NOUPDATE NODELETE) — team fields _id and name. Similarly, for the fields/columns for table race: race fields _id and name, hence also raceInfo, can't be inserted, deleted or updated.

  • All of the fields/columns for mapping table driver_race_map can be inserted and updated, but not deleted (WITH INSERT UPDATE NODELETE) — fields _id and finalPosition.

  • All of the fields/columns for table driver can be inserted, updated, and deleted (WITH INSERT UPDATE DELETE) — driver fields _id, name, and points.

In duality views driver_dv and team_dv there are only table-level updatability annotations (no column-level annotations). In view race_dv, however, field laps (column laps of table race) has annotation WITH NOUPDATE, which overrides the table-level updating allowance for columns of table race — you cannot change the number of laps defined for a given race.

3.2 Annotation (NO)CHECK, To Include/Exclude Fields for ETAG Calculation

You declaratively specify the document parts to use for checking the state/version of a document when performing an updating operation, by annotating the definition of the duality view that supports such a document.

When an application updates a document it often needs to make sure that the version/state of the document being updated hasn't somehow changed since the document was last retrieved from the database.

One way to implement this is using optimistic concurrency control, which is lock-free. By default, every document supported by a duality view records a document-state signature in the form of an ETAG field, etag. The field value is constructed as a hash value of the document content and some other information, and it is automatically renewed each time a document is retrieved.

When your application writes a document that it has updated locally, the database automatically computes an up-to-date ETAG value for the current state of the stored document, and it checks this value against the etag value embedded in the document to be updated (sent by your application).

If the two values don't match then the update operation fails. In that case, your application can then retrieve the latest version of the document from the database, modify it as needed for the update (without changing the new value of field etag), and try again to write the (newly modified) document. See Using Optimistic Concurrency Control With Duality Views.

By default, all fields of a document contribute to the calculation of the value of field etag. To exclude a given field from participating in this calculation, annotate its column with keyword NOCHECK (following WITH, just as for the updatability annotations). In the same way as for updatability annotations, you can specify NOCHECK in a FROM clause, to have it apply to all columns affected by that clause. In that case, you can use CHECK to annotate a given column, to exclude it from the effect of the table-level NOCHECK.

If an update operation succeeds, then all changes it defines are made, including any changes for a field that doesn't participate in the ETAG calculation, thus overwriting any changes for that field that might have been made in the meantime. That is, the field that is not part of the ETAG calculation is not ignored for the update operation.

For example, field team of view driver_dv is an object with the driver's team information, and field name of this team object is annotated NOCHECK in the Example 2-7. This means that the team name doesn't participate in computing an ETAG value for a driver document.

Because the team name doesn't participate in a driver-document ETAG calculation, changes to the team information in the document are not taken into account. Table team is marked NOUPDATE in the definition of view driver_dv, so ignoring its team information when updating a driver document is not a problem.

But suppose table team were instead marked UPDATE. In that case, updating a driver document could update the driver's team information, which means modifying data in table team.

Suppose also that a driver's team information was changed externally somehow since your application last read the document for that driver — for example, the team was renamed from "OLD Team Name" to "NEW Team Name".

Then updating that driver document would not fail because of the team-name conflict (it could fail for some other reason, of course). The previous change to "NEW Team Name" would simply be ignored; the team name would be overwritten by the name value specified in the driver-document update operation (likely "OLD Team Name").

You can avoid this problem (which can only arise if table team is updatable through a driver document) by simply omitting the team name from the document or document fragment that you provide in the update operation.

Similarly, field driver of a team document is an array of driver objects, and field points of those objects is annotated NOCHECK (see Example 2-5), so changes to that field by another session (from any application) don't prevent updating a team document. (The same caveat, about a field that's not part of the ETAG calculation not being ignored for the update operation, applies here.)

A duality view as a whole has its documents ETAG-checked if no column is, in effect, annotated NOCHECK. If all columns are NOCHECK, then no document field contributes to ETAG computation. This can improve performance, the improvement being more significant for larger documents. Use cases where you might want to exclude a duality view from all ETAG checking include these:

  • An application has its own way of controlling concurrency, so it doesn't need a database ETAG check.

  • An application is single-threaded, so no concurrent modifications are possible.

You can use PL/SQL function DBMS_JSON_SCHEMA.describe to see whether a duality view has its documents ETAG-checked. If so, top-level array field properties contains the element "check".

3.3 Database Privileges Needed for Duality-View Updating Operations

The kinds of operations an application can perform on the data in a given duality view depend on the database privileges accorded the view owner and the database user (database schema) with which the application connects to the database.

You can thus control which applications/users can perform which actions on which duality views, by granting users the relevant privileges.

An application invokes database operations as a given database user. But updating operations (including insertions and deletions) on duality views are carried out as the view owner.

To perform the different kinds of operations on duality-view data, a user (or an application connected as a user) needs to be granted the following privileges on the view:

  • To query the data: privilege SELECT WITH GRANT OPTION

  • To insert documents (rows): privilege INSERT WITH GRANT OPTION

  • To delete documents (rows): privilege DELETE WITH GRANT OPTION

  • To update documents (rows): privilege UPDATE WITH GRANT OPTION

In addition, the owner of the view needs the same privileges on each of the relevant tables, that is, all tables annotated with the corresponding keyword. For example, for insertion the view owner needs privilege INSERT WITH GRANT OPTION on all tables that are annotated in the view definition with INSERT.

When an operation is performed on a duality view, the necessary operations on the tables underlying the view are carried out as the view owner, regardless of which user or application is accessing the view and requesting the operation. For this reason, those accessing the view do not, themselves, need privileges on the underlying tables.

See also Updating Rule 1.

3.4 Rules for Updating Duality Views

When updating documents supported by a duality view, some rules must be respected.

  1. If a document-updating operation (update, insertion, or deletion) is attempted, and the required privileges are not granted to the current user or the view owner, then an error is raised at the time of the attempt. (See Database Privileges Needed for Duality-View Updating Operations for the relevant privileges.)

  2. If an attempted document-updating operation (update, insertion, or deletion) violates any constraints imposed on any tables underlying the duality view, then an error is raised. This includes primary-key, unique, NOT NULL, referential-integrity, and check constraints.

  3. If a document-updating operation (update, insertion, or deletion) is attempted, and the view annotations don't allow for that operation, then an error is raised at the time of the attempt.

  4. When inserting a document into a duality view, the document must contain all fields that both (1) contribute to the document's ETAG value and (2) correspond to columns of a (non-root) table that are marked update-only or read-only in the view definition. In addition, the corresponding column data must already exist in the table. If these conditions aren't satisfied then an error is raised.

    The values of all fields that correspond to read-only columns also must match the corresponding column values in the table. Otherwise, an error is raised.

    For example, in duality view race_dv the use of the driver table is update-only (annotated WITH NOINSERT UPDATE NODELETE). When inserting a new race document, the document must contain the fields that correspond to driver table columns driver_id and name, and the driver table must already contain data that corresponds to the driver information in that document.

    Similarly, if the driver table were marked read-only in view race_dv (instead of update-only), then the driver information in the input document would need to be the same as the existing data in the table.

  5. When deleting an object that's linked to its parent with a one-to-many primary-to-foreign-key relationship, if the object does not have annotation DELETE then it is not cascade-deleted. Instead, the foreign key in each row of the object is set to NULL (assuming that the foreign key does not have a non-NULLable constraint).

    For example, the driver array in view team_dv is NODELETE (implicitly, since it's not annotated DELETE). If you delete a team from view team_dv then the corresponding row is deleted from table team.

    But the corresponding rows in the driver table are not deleted. Instead, each such row is unlinked from the deleted team by setting the value of its foreign key column team_id to SQL NULL.

    Similarly, as a result no driver documents are deleted. But their team information is removed. For the version of the Example 2-6, the value of field teamInfo is set to the empty object ({}). For the version of the Example 2-7, each of the team fields, teamId and team, is set to JSON null.

    What would happen if the use of table driver in the definition of duality view team_dv had the annotation DELETE, allowing deletion? In that case, when deleting a given team all of its drivers would also be deleted. This would mean both deleting those rows from the driver table and deleting all corresponding driver documents.

  6. In an update operation that replaces a complete document, all fields defined by the view as contributing to the ETAG value (that is, all fields to which annotation CHECK applies) must be included in the new (replacement) document. Otherwise, an error is raised.

    Note that this rule applies also to the use of Oracle SQL function json_transform when using operator KEEP or REMOVE. If any field contributing to the ETAG value is removed from the document then an error is raised.

  7. If a duality view has an underlying table with a foreign key that references a primary or unique key of the same view, then a document-updating operation (update, insertion, or deletion) cannot change the value of that primary or unique key. An attempt to do so raises an error.

  8. If a document-updating operation (update, insertion, or deletion) involves updating the same row of an underlying table then it cannot change anything in that row in two different ways. Otherwise, an error is raised.

    For example, this insertion attempt fails because the same row of the driver table (the row with primary-key driver_id value 105) cannot have its driver name be both "George Russell" and "Lewis Hamilton".

      ('{"_id"   : 303,
         "name"   : "Mercedes",
         "points" : 0,
         "driver" : [ {"driverId" : 105,
                       "name"     : "George Russell",
                       "points"   : 0},
                      {"driverId" : 105,
                       "name"     : "Lewis Hamilton",
                       "points"   : 0} ]}');
  9. If the etag field value embedded in a document sent for an updating operation (update, insertion, or deletion) doesn't match the current database state then an error is raised.

  10. If a document-updating operation (update, insertion, or deletion) affects two or more documents supported by the same duality view, then all changes to the data of a given row in an underlying table must be compatible (match). Otherwise, an error is raised. For example, for each driver this operation tries to set the name of the first race ($.race[0].name) to the driver's name ($.name).

    UPDATE driver_dv
      SET data = json_transform(data,
                                SET '$.race[0].name' =
                                json_value(data, '$.name'));
    ERROR at line 1:ORA-42605:
    Cannot update JSON Relational Duality View 'DRIVER_DV':
    cannot modify the same row of the table 'RACE' more than once.