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Chapter 20. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA Database

Table of Contents

20.1. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA SCHEMATA Table
20.2. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA TABLES Table
20.3. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA COLUMNS Table
20.4. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA STATISTICS Table
20.5. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA USER_PRIVILEGES Table
20.6. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA SCHEMA_PRIVILEGES Table
20.7. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA TABLE_PRIVILEGES Table
20.8. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA COLUMN_PRIVILEGES Table
20.9. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA CHARACTER_SETS Table
20.10. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA COLLATIONS Table
20.11. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA COLLATION_CHARACTER_SET_APPLICABILITY Table
20.12. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA TABLE_CONSTRAINTS Table
20.13. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA KEY_COLUMN_USAGE Table
20.14. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA ROUTINES Table
20.15. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA VIEWS Table
20.16. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA TRIGGERS Table
20.17. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA PROFILING Table
20.18. Other INFORMATION_SCHEMA Tables
20.19. Extensions to SHOW Statements

INFORMATION_SCHEMA provides access to database metadata.

Metadata is data about the data, such as the name of a database or table, the data type of a column, or access privileges. Other terms that sometimes are used for this information are data dictionary and system catalog.

INFORMATION_SCHEMA is the information database, the place that stores information about all the other databases that the MySQL server maintains. Inside INFORMATION_SCHEMA there are several read-only tables. They are actually views, not base tables, so there are no files associated with them.

In effect, we have a database named INFORMATION_SCHEMA, although the server does not create a database directory with that name. It is possible to select INFORMATION_SCHEMA as the default database with a USE statement, but it is possible only to read the contents of tables. You cannot insert into them, update them, or delete from them.

Here is an example of a statement that retrieves information from INFORMATION_SCHEMA:

mysql> SELECT table_name, table_type, engine
    -> FROM information_schema.tables
    -> WHERE table_schema = 'db5'
    -> ORDER BY table_name DESC;
+------------+------------+--------+
| table_name | table_type | engine |
+------------+------------+--------+
| v56        | VIEW       | NULL   |
| v3         | VIEW       | NULL   |
| v2         | VIEW       | NULL   |
| v          | VIEW       | NULL   |
| tables     | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| t7         | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| t3         | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| t2         | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| t          | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| pk         | BASE TABLE | InnoDB |
| loop       | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| kurs       | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| k          | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| into       | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| goto       | BASE TABLE | MyISAM |
| fk2        | BASE TABLE | InnoDB |
| fk         | BASE TABLE | InnoDB |
+------------+------------+--------+
17 rows in set (0.01 sec)

Explanation: The statement requests a list of all the tables in database db5, in reverse alphabetical order, showing just three pieces of information: the name of the table, its type, and its storage engine.

Each MySQL user has the right to access these tables, but can see only the rows in the tables that correspond to objects for which the user has the proper access privileges. In some cases (for example, the ROUTINE_DEFINITION column in the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.ROUTINES table), users who have insufficient privileges will see NULL.

The SELECT ... FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA statement is intended as a more consistent way to provide access to the information provided by the various SHOW statements that MySQL supports (SHOW DATABASES, SHOW TABLES, and so forth). Using SELECT has these advantages, compared to SHOW:

However, because SHOW is popular with MySQL employees and users, and because it might be confusing were it to disappear, the advantages of conventional syntax are not a sufficient reason to eliminate SHOW. In fact, along with the implementation of INFORMATION_SCHEMA, there are enhancements to SHOW as well. These are described in Section 20.19, “Extensions to SHOW Statements”.

There is no difference between the privileges required for SHOW statements and those required to select information from INFORMATION_SCHEMA. In either case, you have to have some privilege on an object in order to see information about it.

The implementation for the INFORMATION_SCHEMA table structures in MySQL follows the ANSI/ISO SQL:2003 standard Part 11 Schemata. Our intent is approximate compliance with SQL:2003 core feature F021 Basic information schema.

Users of SQL Server 2000 (which also follows the standard) may notice a strong similarity. However, MySQL has omitted many columns that are not relevant for our implementation, and added columns that are MySQL-specific. One such column is the ENGINE column in the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES table.

Although other DBMSs use a variety of names, like syscat or system, the standard name is INFORMATION_SCHEMA.

The following sections describe each of the tables and columns that are in INFORMATION_SCHEMA. For each column, there are three pieces of information:

To avoid using any name that is reserved in the standard or in DB2, SQL Server, or Oracle, we changed the names of some columns marked “MySQL extension”. (For example, we changed COLLATION to TABLE_COLLATION in the TABLES table.) See the list of reserved words near the end of this article: http://www.dbazine.com/gulutzan5.shtml.

The definition for character columns (for example, TABLES.TABLE_NAME) is generally VARCHAR(N) CHARACTER SET utf8 where N is at least 64. MySQL uses the default collation for this character set (utf8_general_ci) for all searches, sorts, comparisons, and other string operations on such columns. If the default collation is not correct for your needs, you can force a suitable collation with a COLLATE clause (Section 10.5.1, “Using COLLATE in SQL Statements”).

Each section indicates what SHOW statement is equivalent to a SELECT that retrieves information from INFORMATION_SCHEMA, if there is such a statement.

Note: At present, there are some missing columns and some columns out of order. We are working on this and updating the documentation as changes are made.

For answers to questions that are often asked concerning the INFORMATION_SCHEMA database, see Section A.7, “MySQL 5.0 FAQ — INFORMATION_SCHEMA.

20.1. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA SCHEMATA Table

A schema is a database, so the SCHEMATA table provides information about databases.

INFORMATION_SCHEMA NameSHOW NameRemarks
CATALOG_NAME NULL
SCHEMA_NAME Database
DEFAULT_CHARACTER_SET_NAME  
DEFAULT_COLLATION_NAME  
SQL_PATH NULL

Notes:

  • DEFAULT_COLLATION_NAME was added in MySQL 5.0.6.

The following statements are equivalent:

SELECT SCHEMA_NAME AS `Database`
  FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.SCHEMATA
  [WHERE SCHEMA_NAME LIKE 'wild']

SHOW DATABASES
  [LIKE 'wild']

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