Terminology in Firebird - Firebird

When an RDBMS provides the ability to declare the relationship between two tables, it is sometimes termed declarative referential integrity, a fuzzy term that seems to have been propagated by writers of magazine articles. Referential integrity is a design objective, a quality. The author prefers the term formal referential constraints when referring to the mechanisms for implementing the rules.

In a relational database management system (RDBMS), relationships between two tables are created by means of the foreign key constraint. The foreign key constraint enforces the rules of existence for the rows it represents, protecting the table against attempts to store rows that are inconsistent with the data model. However, this constraint does not need to work alone. Other integrity constraints (described in detail in the previous chapter) can work in combination with the referential constraint to protect the consistency of relationships.

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