Blank VIEW_DEFINITION?

Oct 1, 2008 / By Sheeri Cabral

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As I putter around the MySQL INFORMATION_SCHEMA, I am finding lots of undocumented behavior for fields that should be straightforward. For example, the VIEWS table holds information about views, and the VIEW_DEFINITION field contains the view definition, right?

Well, when I was looking at the VIEW_DEFINITION today, I noticed an odd thing. Even though I had permissions to see the view definition (as proven by the SHOW CREATE VIEW command), the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.VIEWS table sometimes came up blank for the VIEW_DEFINITION. I had to figure out why, and now that I know, I’m not sure if it’s a bug or a feature…..can you figure it out?

mysql> USE INFORMATION_SCHEMA;
Database changed
mysql> SELECT TABLE_NAME,VIEW_DEFINITION FROM VIEWS WHERE TABLE_SCHEMA='sakila';

+----------------------------+-----------------+
| TABLE_NAME                 | VIEW_DEFINITION |
+----------------------------+-----------------+
| actor_info                 |                 |
| customer_list              |                 |
| film_list                  |                 |
| nicer_but_slower_film_list |                 |
| sales_by_film_category     |                 |
| sales_by_store             |                 |
| staff_list                 |                 |
+----------------------------+-----------------+
7 rows in set (0.16 sec)

mysql> SHOW CREATE VIEW sakila.actor_infoG
*************************** 1. row ***************************
                View: actor_info
         Create View: CREATE ALGORITHM=UNDEFINED DEFINER=`root`@`localhost` SQL
SECURITY INVOKER VIEW `sakila`.`actor_info` AS select `a`.`actor_id` AS `actor_i
d`,`a`.`first_name` AS `first_name`,`a`.`last_name` AS `last_name`,group_concat(
distinct concat(`c`.`name`,': ',(select group_concat(`f`.`title` order by `f`.`t
itle` ASC separator ', ') AS `GROUP_CONCAT(f.title ORDER BY f.title SEPARATOR ',
 ')` from ((`sakila`.`film` `f` join `sakila`.`film_category` `fc` on((`f`.`film
_id` = `fc`.`film_id`))) join `sakila`.`film_actor` `fa` on((`f`.`film_id` = `fa
`.`film_id`))) where ((`fc`.`category_id` = `c`.`category_id`) and (`fa`.`actor_
id` = `a`.`actor_id`)))) order by `c`.`name` ASC separator '; ') AS `film_info`
from (((`sakila`.`actor` `a` left join `sakila`.`film_actor` `fa` on((`a`.`actor
_id` = `fa`.`actor_id`))) left join `sakila`.`film_category` `fc` on((`fa`.`film
_id` = `fc`.`film_id`))) left join `sakila`.`category` `c` on((`fc`.`category_id
` = `c`.`category_id`))) group by `a`.`actor_id`,`a`.`first_name`,`a`.`last_name
`
character_set_client: latin1
collation_connection: latin1_swedish_ci
1 row in set (0.02 sec)

mysql> SHOW CREATE VIEW sakila.customer_listG
*************************** 1. row ***************************
                View: customer_list
         Create View: CREATE ALGORITHM=UNDEFINED DEFINER=`root`@`localhost` SQL
SECURITY DEFINER VIEW `sakila`.`customer_list` AS select `cu`.`customer_id` AS `
ID`,concat(`cu`.`first_name`,_utf8' ',`cu`.`last_name`) AS `name`,`a`.`address`
AS `address`,`a`.`postal_code` AS `zip code`,`a`.`phone` AS `phone`,`sakila`.`ci
ty`.`city` AS `city`,`sakila`.`country`.`country` AS `country`,if(`cu`.`active`,
_utf8'active',_utf8'') AS `notes`,`cu`.`store_id` AS `SID` from (((`sakila`.`cus
tomer` `cu` join `sakila`.`address` `a` on((`cu`.`address_id` = `a`.`address_id`
))) join `sakila`.`city` on((`a`.`city_id` = `sakila`.`city`.`city_id`))) join `
sakila`.`country` on((`sakila`.`city`.`country_id` = `sakila`.`country`.`country
_id`)))
character_set_client: latin1
collation_connection: latin1_swedish_ci
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql>

(some people read the dictionary, I read the data dictionary!)

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