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NATURAL clause

Applies to ✅ Open Source Edition   ✅ Express Edition   ✅ Professional Edition   ✅ Enterprise Edition

The NATURAL KEY operator can quickly produce ambiguities as the column names between two tables in a complex join tree aren't always unique, nor should they be included in a JOIN predicate (e.g. LAST_UPDATE or other technical columns, present on every table). This can even happen for queries that have worked in the past, but due to new columns being added to tables, will stop working. In fact, it's very hard to design a schema to allow for using NATURAL JOIN. Use this clause with caution!

All of INNER JOIN, OUTER JOIN, SEMI JOIN, ANTI JOIN require a join predicate.

One way to supply this join predicate is the NATURAL clause, which works like USING clause, except that it discovers shared column names implicitly from the table metadata. Assuming we called our AUTHOR.ID column AUTHOR.AUTHOR_ID instead:


There is a high risk of ambiguities even in simple join trees, which is why this syntax is hardly ever used. It can be very rarely useful combined with FULL JOIN to form a NATURAL FULL JOIN, which can create a sort of SQL-style untagged union type between two row types. A bit esoteric for every day usage.

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