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Use case: There is a table called release with a primary key id of type integer and an additional column name (the release name). And further tables (e.g. table_x, table_y, …) with a reference (foreign key) to The working tables are table_x, table_y, a.s.o. and the selects have to be ordered by the foreign key An ordering by is not possible because of arbitrary release names that are not sortable.

To the discussion that primary keys should not be changed can I say that this use case is not like a change of the release primary key but more like a movement of primary keys/releases and their referenced data to insert a new release and get the desired order.

  • Avatar32.5fb70cce7410889e661286fd7f1897de Guest
  • Jun 6 2019
  • Submitted
Who would benefit from this IDEA? Who knows? We!
How should it work?

The concrete example to understand it better:

create table release (
  id int primary key constraint pk_id
,name varchar(128)
create table table_x (
  id int
,release_id int references release (id) {ON UPDATE CASCADE} constraint fk_release_id
,col_1 varchar(64) not null
,primary key (id, release_id) constraint pk_table_x
insert into release values (1, 'Release A');
insert into release values (2, 'Release B');
insert into release values (3, 'Release C');

insert into table_x values (231, 1, 'foo');
insert into table_x values (233, 1, 'bar');
insert into table_x values (231, 2, 'fooo');
insert into table_x values (451, 3, 'baz');
insert into table_x values (231, 3, 'foo!');

-- The desired query to keep it simple as possible.
select *
from table_x as o
where release_id <= 3
and release_id = (
  select max(i.release_id)
  from table_x as i
  where =
  and i.release_id <= 3
order by;

-- Update if on update cascade is supported.
update release set id=id+1 where id>=3;
-- This update should automatically update table_x.release_id, too.
insert into release values (3, 'Interm. Rel. B');
insert into table_x values (231, 3, 'Foo !');


  1. With an extra ordering column in table release makes the queries complicated and less understandable.
  2. Doing the movement manually is a high effort and error prone.
  3. Such an architecture should be manifested by the database schema.

Proposed solution: Support for ON UPDATE CASCADE by column references. Other database systems supports it, like Postgresql.

Idea Priority High
Priority Justification Informix is not usable for the planned application.
Customer Name Axians ICT Austria GmbH
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