Hack 60. Create a List of Personalized Parameters

Instead of creating a single value per variable for each user, it may be necessary to associate multiple values with each user for a single variable. Suppose each member of a staff is responsible for multiple students. Each staff member can access a personalized view that they can use as a basis for their own queries.

A member of staff (MoS), William, is responsible for students 84001001, 84001002, and 84001003. Another MoS, Priya, is responsible for students 84001004 and 84001005. Each MoS has their own database system username: William and Priya. You can encode each user's students in the rules table, which has an entry for every student, as shown in Table 8-2.

Table 8-2. The rules table

MoS Student
William 84001001
William 84001002
William 84001003
Priya 84001004
Priya 84001005

You can create a personalized view of this table by referencing the current user's login name. The myStudents view is personalizedwhen William runs it, it shows just his students; when Priya runs it, she will see just her students:


Some database systems vary in terms of how to access the CURRENT_USER information, and how to insert data into a view. See "Define Personalized Parameters" [Hack #59].

You can set up the rules table so that each user can insert into myStudent without reference to the current username:

,student CHAR(8) PRIMARY KEY

Now Priya can issue the INSERT statement:

INSERT INTO myStudents(student) VALUES ('05001006');

Her username will be put into the mos column from the default value.

The beauty of this method is that you can create many complex and useful queries that are based on a view such as myStudent. Anyone can use these queries, without alterationeach user will see results limited to only those students she is interested in.

Updating or inserting via a view in PostgreSQL 8.2 or below is not supported. Hopefully this will be remedied in a later version of PostgreSQL.

SQL Fundamentals

Joins, Unions, and Views

Text Handling

Date Handling

Number Crunching

Online Applications

Organizing Data

Storing Small Amounts of Data

Locking and Performance


Users and Administration

Wider Access


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SQL Hacks
SQL Hacks
ISBN: 0596527993
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 147
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