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Thinking about WITH CHECK OPTION for views

From: Dean Rasheed <dean(dot)a(dot)rasheed(at)gmail(dot)com>
To: PostgreSQL Hackers <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Thinking about WITH CHECK OPTION for views
Date: 2013-01-14 09:29:56
Message-ID: CAEZATCWT2Euy_LFGmA4PUiEu41nFZSnEpdLXmcqMrU4UeVmzHg@mail.gmail.com (view raw or flat)
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I've been thinking about WITH CHECK OPTION for auto-updatable views.
Given the timing I doubt if this will be ready for 9.3, since I only
get occasional evenings and weekends to hack on postgres, but I think
it's probably worth kicking off a discussion, starting with a
description of what the feature actually is.

From the SQL spec:

    <view definition> ::=
        CREATE [ RECURSIVE ] VIEW <table name> <view specification>
        AS <query expression> [ WITH [ <levels clause> ] CHECK OPTION ]

    <levels clause> ::= CASCADED | LOCAL

    If WITH CHECK OPTION is specified and <levels clause> is not specified,
    then a <levels clause> of CASCADED is implicit.

In other words there are 3 possible levels of check, which are:

1). NO CHECK - i.e., what we do now.

2). LOCAL CHECK - new tuples are validated against the WHERE quals
specified locally on this view, but not against any quals from any
underlying views (unless they also specify the WITH CHECK OPTION).

3). CASCADED CHECK - new tuples are validated against the WHERE quals
of this view and all underlying views (regardless of whether or not
those underlying views specify the WITH CHECK OPTION).


The SQL spec is also very specific about how and when the checks
should be applied:

* Each view's quals should be checked *after* inserting into the
underlying base relation.

* Checks should be applied starting with the innermost views and
working out to the outermost (top-level) view.

* Obviously the checks apply to INSERT and UPDATE statements only (not DELETE).

In code terms, this suggests that the new check should go in
ExecInsert/ExectUpdate after firing any AFTER ROW triggers and before
processing the RETURNING list. The check itself is very similar to a
regular CHECK constraint, but with a couple of differences:

* if the qual evaluates to NULL it should be a failure since the new
row won't be visible in the view. That's the opposite logic from a
CHECK constraint where NULL is OK.

* it probably wants to support sub-queries in the qual (we allow such
views to be auto-updatable). This doesn't seem so hard to do, and
makes more logical sense than supporting sub-queries in CHECK
constraints, since the contents of the view are dynamic and the
consistency of the constraint is automatically preserved when data in
referenced tables is modified.


Finally, the SQL spec is very strict about which kinds of view are
allowed to specify the WITH CHECK OPTION.

* WITH LOCAL CHECK OPTION can only be specified on a view that is
auto-updatable, not one that is trigger-updatable.

* WITH CASCADED CHECK OPTION can only be specified on a view if it is
auto-updatable, and all its underlying views are also auto-updatable,
not trigger-updatable.

In order to enforce this, the SQL spec says that there should be an
additional check in CREATE TRIGGER to ensure that an INSTEAD OF
trigger isn't defined on a view that has the WITH CHECK OPTION, or a
view that is
part of a hierarchy of views where any view higher up has the CASCADED
CHECK OPTION.

These restrictions seem pretty strict, but on reflection I think that
they make sense, because the query resulting from a trigger-updatable
view isn't necessarily going to have access to all the data needed to
check that view's quals (which may refer to columns in the base
relation that aren't exposed in the view, and hence aren't returned by
the trigger).


There are similar problems with INSTEAD rules, except I think they are
worse because the rule could completely rewrite the query, and so even
a LOCAL WCO won't work in general, if any of the relations underlying
the view have an INSTEAD rule.

Attached is an initial proof-of-concept patch. It's still missing a
number of things, in particular it currently doesn't do any of these
checks for INSTEAD OF triggers or DO INSTEAD rules. The last few
examples of the
regression tests show the sorts of things that go wrong without these checks.

Regards,
Dean

Attachment: with-check-option.patch.gz
Description: application/x-gzip (11.7 KB)

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