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trigger
Last modified: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 

(n.) In a DBMS, a trigger is a SQL procedure that initiates an action (i.e., fires an action) when an event (INSERT, DELETE or UPDATE) occurs. Since triggers are event-driven specialized procedures, they are stored in and managed by the DBMS. A trigger cannot be called or executed; the DBMS automatically fires the trigger as a result of a data modification to the associated table. Triggers are used to maintain the referential integrity of data by changing the data in a systematic fashion.

Each trigger is attached to a single, specified table in the database.

Triggers can be viewed as similar to stored procedures in that both consist of procedural logic that is stored at the database level. Stored procedures, however, are not event-drive and are not attached to a specific table as triggers are. Stored procedures are explicitly executed by invoking a CALL to the procedure while triggers are implicitly executed. In addition, triggers can also execute stored procedures.

A trigger can also contain INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE logic within itself, so when the trigger is fired because of data modification it can also cause another data modification, thereby firing another trigger. A trigger that contains data modification logic within itself is called a nested trigger.

(v.) To initiate an action.

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Data Management

Databases

Procedures, Functions and Routines

related terms

call

database management system

event

event handler

execute

SQL

stored procedure


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