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Constraint Class

Represents a constraint that can be enforced on one or more DataColumn objects.

Namespace: System.Data
Assembly: System.Data (in system.data.dll)

'Declaration
Public MustInherit Class Constraint
'Usage
Dim instance As Constraint

public abstract class Constraint
public abstract class Constraint

A constraint is a rule used to maintain the integrity of the data in the DataTable. For example, when you delete a value that is used in one or more related tables, a ForeignKeyConstraint determines whether the values in the related tables are also deleted, set to null values, set to default values, or whether no action occurs. A UniqueConstraint, on the other hand, just makes sure that all values within a particular table are unique. For more information, see Adding Constraints to a Table.

A base Constraint constructor is not used. Primary or unique key constraints are created by using the UniqueConstraint constructor, and foreign key constraints are created by using the ForeignKeyConstraint constructor.

The following example examines the collection of constraints for a DataTable and determines whether each constraint is a UniqueConstraint or a ForeignKeyConstraint. The properties of the constraint are then displayed.

Private Sub GetConstraints(dataTable As DataTable)
    Console.WriteLine()

    ' Print the table's name.
    Console.WriteLine("TableName: " & dataTable.TableName)

    ' Iterate through the collection and print 
    ' each name and type value.
    Dim constraint As Constraint
    For Each constraint In  dataTable.Constraints
        Console.WriteLine("Constraint Name: " _
            & constraint.ConstraintName)
        Console.WriteLine("Type: " _
            & constraint.GetType().ToString())

        ' If the constraint is a UniqueConstraint, 
        ' print its properties using a function below.
        If TypeOf constraint Is UniqueConstraint Then
            PrintUniqueConstraintProperties(constraint)
        End If

        ' If the constraint is a ForeignKeyConstraint, 
        ' print its properties using a function below.
        If TypeOf constraint Is ForeignKeyConstraint Then
            PrintForeigKeyConstraintProperties(constraint)
        End If
    Next constraint
End Sub

Private Sub PrintUniqueConstraintProperties( _
    constraint As Constraint)

    Dim uniqueConstraint As UniqueConstraint
    uniqueConstraint = CType(constraint, UniqueConstraint)

    ' Get the Columns as an array.
    Dim columnArray() As DataColumn
    columnArray = uniqueConstraint.Columns

    ' Print each column's name.
    Dim i As Integer
    For i = 0 To columnArray.Length - 1
        Console.WriteLine("Column Name: " _
            & columnArray(i).ColumnName)
    Next i
End Sub

Private Sub PrintForeigKeyConstraintProperties( _
    constraint As Constraint)

    Dim fkConstraint As ForeignKeyConstraint
    fkConstraint = CType(constraint, ForeignKeyConstraint)
    
    ' Get the Columns as an array.
    Dim columnArray() As DataColumn
    columnArray = fkConstraint.Columns
    
    ' Print each column's name.
    Dim i As Integer
    For i = 0 To columnArray.Length - 1
        Console.WriteLine("Column Name: " _
            & columnArray(i).ColumnName)
    Next i
    Console.WriteLine()
    
    ' Get the related columns and print each columns name.
    columnArray = fkConstraint.RelatedColumns
    For i = 0 To columnArray.Length - 1
        Console.WriteLine("Related Column Name: " _
            & columnArray(i).ColumnName)
    Next i
    Console.WriteLine()
End Sub

This type is safe for multithreaded read operations. You must synchronize any write operations.

Windows 98, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows CE, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 2.0, 1.0

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