# Composite primary key from multiple tables / multiple foreign keys

foreign keyoracle-11gprimary-key

I want to build a composite primary key made up of foreign keys from two different tables. I'm still pretty green to this…

A great answer was given to building a composite key from multiple foreign keys on this question but I want to do this from multiple tables. I am using Oracle 11g.

foreign key (Name, BoughtFrom, TimeBought)
references the_other_table_name (Name, BoughtFrom, TimeBought)


Imagine that the "references" line actually includes multiple tables. I'm not even sure that the above syntax will work with Oracle.

I have one table "Student" and one table "Parent". It is a many-to-many relationship. My association table is named "Relation" and I would like to make a composite primary key from "PAR_ID" and "STU_ID". Both are foreign keys.

Short version:

CREATE TABLE Relation
( stu_id INT NOT NULL REFERENCES Student,
par_id INT NOT NULL REFERENCES Parent,
PRIMARY KEY (stu_id, par_id)
) ;


Long version:

• Why use short forms for names, like stu_id and par_id? Why not student_id? Saving typing 3-4 characters? How will you differentiate between parent_id and parameter_id? Or school_id and schoolmaster_id?

• The name "Relation" is not very descriptive for a relationship. (Note also that in relational model terminology, "relation" has a meaning very close to "table".) I couldn't come with a good name though, so we could use "Guardian" or "Student_Parent" (this combination is often used in intersection tables)

• The short version above is just an example. While it is working, it uses a lot of shortcuts, like the inline references. It's far better in my opinion, to name all constraints and declare all (primary, unique, foreign key and check) constraints after the column declarations, like in the long version below.

• It's also good to choose some naming conventions anduse them consistently in all the tables, e.g. Tablename_PK for the primary keys, ReferencedTable_referencingTable_FK for the foreign keys, Something_UQ for the unique constraints, etc.

CREATE TABLE Guardian
(                                        -- columns
student_id INT NOT NULL,
parent_id INT NOT NULL,
-- constraints
CONSTRAINT Guardian_PK                 -- the name of the PK constraint
PRIMARY KEY (student_id, parent_id),

CONSTRAINT Student_Guardian_FK         -- the name of the FK constraint
FOREIGN KEY (student_id)
REFERENCES Student (student_id)
ON UPDATE CASCADE                  -- the actions of the FK
ON DELETE RESTRICT,
CONSTRAINT Parent_Guardian_FK          -- second FK
FOREIGN KEY (parent_id)
REFERENCES Parent (parent_id)