Compound Triggers in Oracle 11g

From Wikipedia: “A database trigger is procedurale cod that is automatically executed in response to certain events on a particular table or view in a database. The trigger is mostly used for maintaining the integrity of the information on the database. For example, when a new record (representing a new worker) is added to the employees table, new records should also be created in the tables of the taxes, vacations and salaries.”

Oracle 11g offers a new twist on triggers, the compound trigger, a trigger that can act both before and after an update, insert or delete has occurred. This makes possible the ability in one trigger to perform processing similar to a stored procedure without having to write such a procedure to call from a traditional trigger. Compound triggers can be used to avoid the dreaded mutating table error or to process and accept or reject updates to a table based upon desired criteria. Before we look at such an example a description of how a compound trigger is constructed is in order.

Compound triggers can have up to four sections:

  • the BEFORE section
  • the BEFORE EACH ROW section
  • the AFTER EACH ROW section
  • the AFTER section

At least two of the sections must be included (including only one of the four would result in a traditional trigger) and it does not matter which two of the sections are used. For example such a trigger can include a BEFORE EACH ROW section and an AFTER section; the two sections need not be ‘matched’ (BEFORE, BEFORE EACH ROW, for instance). Also the COMPOUND TRIGGER STATEMENT must be included so Oracle will recognize the above four constructs and treat them accordingly. The general syntax is:

Since compound triggers are relatively new and many may not have had the opportunity to write or use them I have provided a working example. Setting the stage for this trigger, HR has set a restriction on the size of a raise to be given; based on the department the raise cannot exceed 12 percent of the department average salary. A compound trigger can be used to process the raise amounts assigned. Such a compound trigger is shown below, along with several ways of executing the raises:


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