Andrew Andrew - 2 months ago 8
SQL Question

Can there be constraints with the same name in a DB?

This is a follow-on question from the one I asked here.

Can constraints in a DB have the same name?

Say I have:

CREATE TABLE Employer
(
EmployerCode VARCHAR(20) PRIMARY KEY,
Address VARCHAR(100) NULL
)


CREATE TABLE Employee
(
EmployeeID INT PRIMARY KEY,
EmployerCode VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL,
CONSTRAINT employer_code_fk FOREIGN KEY (EmployerCode) REFERENCES Employer
)


CREATE TABLE BankAccount
(
BankAccountID INT PRIMARY KEY,
EmployerCode VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL,
Amount MONEY NOT NULL,
CONSTRAINT employer_code_fk FOREIGN KEY (EmployerCode) REFERENCES Employer
)


Is this allowable? Does it depend on the DBMS (I'm on SQL Server 2005)? If it is not allowable, does anyone have any suggestions on how to work around it?

Answer

No - a constraint is a database object as well, and thus its name needs to be unique.

Try adding e.g. the table name to your constraint, that way it'll be unique.

CREATE TABLE BankAccount
(
    BankAccountID   INT            PRIMARY KEY,
    EmployerCode    VARCHAR(20)    NOT NULL,
    Amount          MONEY          NOT NULL,
    CONSTRAINT FK_BankAccount_Employer 
        FOREIGN KEY (EmployerCode) REFERENCES Employer
)

We basically use "FK_"(child table)_(parent table)" to name the constraints and are quite happy with this naming convention.

Information from MSDN

That constraint names have to be unique to the schema (ie. two different schemas in the same database can both contain a constraint with the same name) is not explicitly documented. Rather you need to assume the identifiers of database objects must be unique within the containing schema unless specified otherwise. So the constraint name is defined as:

Is the name of the constraint. Constraint names must follow the rules for identifiers, except that the name cannot start with a number sign (#). If constraint_name is not supplied, a system-generated name is assigned to the constraint.

Compare this to the name of an index:

Is the name of the index. Index names must be unique within a table or view but do not have to be unique within a database. Index names must follow the rules of identifiers.

which explicitly narrows the scope of the identifier.

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