- For a system to qualify as a relational database management system (RDBMS), that system must use its relationalfacilities (exclusively) to manage the database.
- All information in the database is to be represented in one and only one way, namely by values in column positions within rows of tables.
- All data must be accessible. This rule is essentially a restatement of the fundamental requirement for primary keys. It says that every individual scalar value in the database must be logically addressable by specifying the name of the containing table, the name of the containing column and the primary key value of the containing row.
- The DBMS must allow each field to remain null (or empty). Specifically, it must support a representation of "missing information and inapplicable information" that is systematic, distinct from all regular values (for example, "distinct from zero or any other number", in the case of numeric values), and independent of data type. It is also implied that such representations must be manipulated by the DBMS in a systematic way.
- The system must support an online, inline, relational catalogthat is accessible to authorized users by means of their regular query language. That is, users must be able to access the database's structure (catalog) using the same query language that they use to access the database's data.
- The system must support at least one relational language that
- Has a linear syntax
- Can be used both interactively and within application programs,
- Supports data definition operations (including view definitions), data manipulation operations (update as well as retrieval), security and integrity constraints, and transactionmanagement operations (begin, commit, and rollback).
- All views that are theoretically updatable must be updatable by the system.
- The system must support set-at-a-time insert, update, anddelete operators. This means that data can be retrieved from a relational database in sets constructed of data from multiple rows and/or multiple tables. This rule states that insert, update, and delete operations should be supported for any retrievable set rather than just for a single row in a single table.
- Changes to the physical level (how the data is stored, whether in arrays or linked lists etc.) must not require a change to an application based on the structure.
- Changes to the logical level (tables, columns, rows, and so on) must not require a change to an application based on the structure. Logical data independence is more difficult to achieve than physical data independence.
- Integrity constraints must be specified separately from application programs and stored in the catalog. It must be possible to change such constraints as and when appropriate without unnecessarily affecting existing applications.
- The distribution of portions of the database to various locations should be invisible to users of the database. Existing applications should continue to operate successfully :
- when a distributed version of the DBMS is first introduced; and
- when existing distributed data are redistributed around the system.
- If the system provides a low-level (record-at-a-time) interface, then that interface cannot be used to subvert the system, for example, bypassing a relational security or integrity constraint.
Importance Level: Usually asked in interviews of those who claim to have worked in field of databases
:) In fact, the rules are so strict that all popular so-called "relational" DBMSs fail on many of the criteria
To-do: Figure out which RDBMS support how many rules