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Structured Query Language aka SQL is the core of relational databases with the help of which we can handle data. It provides us with various features such as Triggers, Injection, Hosting and, Joins is just one of the most important concept to master in SQL. In this article on SQL Joins, I will discuss the various types of Joins used in SQL.
The following topics will be covered in this article
JOINS in SQL are commands which are used to combine rows from two or more tables, based on a related column between those tables. There are predominantly used when a user is trying to extract data from tables which have one-to-many or many-to-many relationships between them.
Now, that you know what joins mean, let us next learn the different types of joins.
There are mainly four types of joins that you need to understand. They are:
You can refer to the below image.
Let us look into each one of them. For your better understanding of this concept, I will be considering the following three tables to show you how to perform the Join operations on such tables.
This type of join returns those records which have matching values in both tables. So, if you perform an INNER join operation between the Employee table and the Projects table, all the tuples which have matching values in both the tables will be given as output.
SELECT Table1.Column1,Table1.Column2,Table2.Column1,.... FROM Table1 INNER JOIN Table2 ON Table1.MatchingColumnName = Table2.MatchingColumnName;
SELECT Employee.EmpID, Employee.EmpFname, Employee.EmpLname, Projects.ProjectID, Projects.ProjectName FROM Employee INNER JOIN Projects ON Employee.EmpID=Projects.EmpID;
Full Join or the Full Outer Join returns all those records which either have a match in the left(Table1) or the right(Table2) table.
SELECT Table1.Column1,Table1.Column2,Table2.Column1,.... FROM Table1 FULL JOIN Table2 ON Table1.MatchingColumnName = Table2.MatchingColumnName;
SELECT Employee.EmpFname, Employee.EmpLname, Projects.ProjectID FROM Employee FULL JOIN Projects ON Employee.EmpID = Projects.EmpID;
The LEFT JOIN or the LEFT OUTER JOIN returns all the records from the left table and also those records which satisfy a condition from the right table. Also, for the records having no matching values in the right table, the output or the result-set will contain the NULL values.
SELECT Table1.Column1,Table1.Column2,Table2.Column1,.... FROM Table1 LEFT JOIN Table2 ON Table1.MatchingColumnName = Table2.MatchingColumnName;
SELECT Employee.EmpFname, Employee.EmpLname, Projects.ProjectID, Projects.ProjectName FROM Employee LEFT JOIN ON Employee.EmpID = Projects.EmpID ;
The RIGHT JOIN or the RIGHT OUTER JOIN returns all the records from the right table and also those records which satisfy a condition from the left table. Also, for the records having no matching values in the left table, the output or the result-set will contain the NULL values.
SELECT Table1.Column1,Table1.Column2,Table2.Column1,.... FROM Table1 RIGHT JOIN Table2 ON Table1.MatchingColumnName = Table2.MatchingColumnName;
SELECT Employee.EmpFname, Employee.EmpLname, Projects.ProjectID, Projects.ProjectName FROM Employee RIGHT JOIN ON Employee.EmpID = Projects.EmpID;
Now, let us move forward with our next section in this article i.e. the top questions asked about SQL Joins in your interviews.
A Natural Join is also a Join operation that is used to give you an output based on the columns in both the tables between which, this join operation must be implemented. To understand the situations n which natural join is used, you need to understand the difference between Natural Join and Inner Join.
The main difference the Natural Join and the Inner Join relies on the number of columns returned. Refer below for example.
Now, if you apply INNER JOIN on these 2 tables, you will see an output as below:
If you apply NATURAL JOIN, on the above two tables, the output will be as below:
From the above example, you can clearly see that the number of columns returned from the Inner Join is more than that of the number of columns returned from Natural Join. So, if you wish to get an output, with less number of columns, then you can use Natural Join
To map many to many relationships using joins, you need to use two JOIN statements.
For example, if we have three tables(Employees, Projects and Technologies), and let us assume that each employee is working on a single project. So, one project cannot be assigned to more than one employee. So, this is basically, a one-to-many relationship.
Now, similarly, if you consider that, a project can be based on multiple technologies, and any technology can be used in multiple projects, then this kind of relationship is a many-to-many relationship.
To use joins for such relationships, you need to structure your database with 2 foreign keys. So, to do that, you have to create the following 3 tables:
The project_to_technologies table holds the combinations of project-technology in every row. This table maps the items on the projects table to the items on the technologies table so that multiple projects can be assigned to one or more technologies.
Once the tables are created, use the following two JOIN statements to link all the above tables together:
Hash joins are also a type of joins which are used to join large tables or in an instance where the user wants most of the joined table rows.
The Hash Join algorithm is a two-step algorithm. Refer below for the steps:
SELF JOIN in other words is a join of a table to itself. This implies that each row in a table is joined with itself.
The CROSS JOIN is a type of join in which a join clause is applied to each row of a table to every row of the other table. Also, when the WHERE condition is used, this type of JOIN behaves as an INNER JOIN, and when the WHERE condition is not present, it behaves like a CARTESIAN product.
To perform a JOIN operation on 3 tables, you need to use 2 JOIN statements. You can refer to the second question for an understanding of how to join 3 tables with an example.
By this, I come to the end of this article on SQL Joins. I hope you enjoyed reading this article on SQL Joins. We have seen the different commands that will help you write queries and play around with your databases. If you wish to learn more about MySQL and get to know this open source relational database, then check out our MySQL DBA Certification Training which comes with instructor-led live training and real-life project experience. This training will help you understand MySQL in depth and help you achieve mastery over the subject.
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