Ethan Allen Ethan Allen - 3 months ago 3x
SQL Question

Why does MySQL Workbench automatically create multiple keys when creating relationships between tables?

Check out the image below. In the

table you'll see that when I added a 1:m relationship between
, MySQL Workbench added keys for the attached tables of
in additional to the key I was expecting.

Why is that?

Can/should I remove them?

Or if I should keep them, how do I auto-insert the key values from the deeper tables when doing an insert into
and I know a key of

enter image description here


If we execute this schema creation:

create table parent
(   pid int auto_increment primary key,
    theirName varchar(100) not null

drop table if exists child;
create table child
(   cid int auto_increment primary key,
    theirName varchar(100) not null,
    pid int not null,
    foreign key `fk_c2p` (pid) references parent(pid)

Examine what happened to the child:

mysql> show create table child \G;
CREATE TABLE `child` (
  `cid` int(11) NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  `theirName` varchar(100) NOT NULL,
  `pid` int(11) NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`cid`),
  KEY `fk_c2p` (`pid`), -- ******************** AUTO created by mysql
  CONSTRAINT `child_ibfk_1` FOREIGN KEY (`pid`) REFERENCES `parent` (`pid`)

From the manual page Using FOREIGN KEY Constraints:

... index_name represents a foreign key ID. The index_name value is ignored if there is already an explicitly defined index on the child table that can support the foreign key. Otherwise, MySQL implicitly creates a foreign key index that is named according to the following rules:

If defined, the CONSTRAINT symbol value is used. Otherwise, the FOREIGN KEY index_name value is used.

If neither a CONSTRAINT symbol or FOREIGN KEY index_name is defined, the foreign key index name is generated using the name of the referencing foreign key column.

So, back to your questions.

A. Why are they created? They are created because mysql creates them as specified above. They facilitate speedy reversal lookups. When a parent row is to be deleted, a fast non-table scan of children is mandated to allow or disallow the parent row removal. The auto-generated key (or one already satisfying it) is used for this purpose.

B. Should you delete them? No. Why not? Read A.

C. How do you "auto-insert the key values from the deeper tables": you acquire the id of the parent (anywhere in the hierarchy) ahead of time such as using LAST_INSERT_ID() or other program logic.