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Using InterSystems SQL
Modifying the Database
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You can use SQL to modify the contents of an InterSystems IRIS Data Platform™ database. If there are indices defined on the table, SQL will automatically update them to reflect the changes. If there are any data or referential integrity constraints defined, SQL will automatically enforce them. If there are any defined triggers, performing these actions will pull the corresponding trigger.
This chapter discusses the following topics:
INSERT Statements
The INSERT statement inserts a new row into an SQL table:
 INSERT INTO MyApp.Product
    VALUES ('Ginsu','DPV1486',22.95)
You can also issue an INSERT OR UPDATE statement. This statement inserts a new row into an SQL table if the row does not already exist. If the row exists, this statement updates the row data with the supplied field values.
UPDATE Statements
The UPDATE statement modifies values in one or more existing rows within an SQL table:
 UPDATE MyApp.Person
     SET HairColor = 'Red'
     WHERE %ID = 435
DELETE Statements
The DELETE statement removes one or more existing rows from an SQL table:
     WHERE HairColor = 'Aqua'
You can issue a TRUNCATE TABLE command to delete all rows in a table. You can also delete all rows in a table using DELETE. DELETE (by default) pulls delete triggers; TRUNCATE TABLE does not pull delete triggers. Using DELETE to delete all rows does not reset table counters; TRUNCATE TABLE resets these counters.
Transaction Processing
A transaction is a series of INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, INSERT OR UPDATE, and TRUNCATE TABLE data modification statements that comprise a single unit of work.
The SET TRANSACTION command can be used to set the transaction parameters for the current process. The same parameters can also be set using the START TRANSACTION command. These transaction parameters continue in effect across multiple transactions until explicitly changed.
A START TRANSACTION command explicitly starts a transaction. This command is generally optional; if transaction %COMMITMODE is either IMPLICIT or EXPLICIT, a transaction begins automatically with the first database modification operation. If transaction %COMMITMODE is NONE, you must explicitly specify START TRANSACTION to initiate transaction processing.
If a transaction succeeds, committing its changes can be implicit (automatic) or explicit; the %COMMITMODE value determines whether you need to explicitly use the COMMIT statement to permanently add the data modifications to the database and release resources.
If a transaction fails, you can use the ROLLBACK statement to undo its data modifications so that these do not go into the database.
SQL transaction statements are not supported when running SQL through the Management Portal Execute SQL Query interface. This interface is intended as a test environment for developing SQL code, not for modifying actual data.
Transactions and Savepoints
In InterSystems SQL, you can perform two kinds of transaction processing: full transaction processing and transaction processing using savepoints. With full transaction processing, a transaction begins with START TRANSACTION statement (explicit or implicit) and continues until either a COMMIT statement (explicit or implicit) concludes the transaction and commits all work, or a ROLLBACK statement reverses all work done during the transaction.
With savepoints, InterSystems SQL supports levels within a transaction. You begin a transaction with a START TRANSACTION statement (explicit or implicit). Then during the transaction you use SAVEPOINT to specify one or more named savepoints within the program. You can specify a maximum of 255 named savepoints in a transaction. Adding a savepoint increments the $TLEVEL transaction level counter.
Non-transaction Operations
While a transaction is in effect, the following operations are not included in the transaction and therefore cannot be rolled back:
For non-SQL items rolled back or not rolled back, refer to the ObjectScript TROLLBACK command.
Transaction Locks
A transaction uses locks to safeguard unique data values. For example, if a process deletes a unique data value, this value is locked for the duration of the transaction. Therefore, another process could not insert a row using this same unique data value until the first transaction completed. This prevents a rollback resulting in a duplicate value for a field with a uniqueness constraint. These locks are automatically applied by the INSERT, UPDATE, INSERT OR UPDATE, and DELETE statements, unless the statement includes a %NOLOCK restriction argument.
Transaction Size Limitations
There is no limitation on the number of operations you can specify in a transaction, other than space availability for journal files. The size of the lock table does not normally impose a limit, because InterSystems IRIS provides automatic lock escalation.
There is a default lock threshold of 1000 locks per table. A table can have 1000 unique data value locks for the current transaction. The 1001st lock operation escalates the locking for that table to a table lock for the duration of the transaction.
This lock threshold value is configurable using either of the following:
There is no limit on the number of subnodes (child tables) that can be killed. All subnode kills are journaled, and thus can be rolled back.
Reading Uncommitted Data
You can specify the read isolation level by setting SET TRANSACTION or START TRANSACTION for the process issuing the query.
The following SELECT command clauses always return uncommitted data, regardless of the current isolation level: an aggregate function, a DISTINCT clause, a GROUP BY clause, or a SELECT with the %NOLOCK keyword. For further details, refer to Isolation Level.
ObjectScript Transaction Commands
ObjectScript and SQL transaction commands are fully compatible and interchangeable, with the following exception:
ObjectScript TSTART and SQL START TRANSACTION both start a transaction if no transaction is current. However, START TRANSACTION does not support nested transactions. Therefore, if you need (or may need) nested transactions, it is preferable to start the transaction with TSTART. If you need compatibility with the SQL standard, use START TRANSACTION.
ObjectScript transaction processing provides limited support for nested transactions. SQL transaction processing supplies support for savepoints within transactions.