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Database – What is a foreign key?
Definition of a Foreign Key
A foreign Key (FK) is a constraint that references the unique primary key (PK) of another table.
Facts About Foreign Keys
Foreign Keys act as a cross-reference between tables linking the foreign key (Child record) to the Primary key (parent record) of another table, which establishing a link/relationship between the table keys
Foreign keys are not enforced by all RDBMS
The concept of referential integrity is derived from foreign key theory
Because Foreign keys involve more than one table relationship, their implementation can be more complex than primary keys
A foreign-key constraint implicitly defines an index on the foreign-key column(s) in the child table, however, manually defining a matching index may improve join performance in some database
The SQL, normally, provides the following referential integrity actions for deletions, when enforcing foreign-keys
The deletion of a parent (primary key) record may cause the deletion of corresponding foreign-key records.
Forbids the deletion of a parent (primary key) record, if there are dependent foreign-key records. No Action does not mean to suppress the foreign-key constraint.
The deletion of a parent (primary key) record causes the corresponding foreign-key to be set to null.
The deletion of a record causes the corresponding foreign-keys be set to a default value instead of null upon deletion of a parent (primary key) record