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Difference between Natural Join and Inner Join in SQL

Introduction:

SQL is like holding everything together when it comes to relational databases. It provides the tools for retrieving and altering the data powerfully. One of the tools is the join operation. It is very important in manipulating data from different tables. There are basically two common join types within the SQL joins:

  • Natural Join
  • Inner Join

At first they might seem alike, yet they are different as each join has some distinct features. They both are useful for database developers and analysts. This article covers the differences between Natural Join and Inner Join in SQL including its syntax, functionality and purposes when the one and the other [natural and inner joins] work best.

Understanding Join Operations:

Join operation in SQL unites data from multiple tables with the help of the column in a row which is relevant and does not allow data in the same row to be there in more than one table.

Inner Join:

Inner Join which is one of the highly used join operations in SQL occupies the position of the highest use one. Thus, it collects the data from both tables, depending on the criteria declared in the join condition.

The syntax for Inner Join is as follows:

Syntax:

Example:

We will consider two tables:

employees

employee_id name department_id
1 Tiya 1001
2 Riya 1002
3 Diya 1003

departments

department_id department_name
1001 Manager
1002 Executive
1003 Writer

SQL Code:

Output:

Difference between Natural Join and Inner Join in SQL

This request can be used to get both the names of employees as well as the name of the departments where employee Department IDs match Department IDs in the "employees" and "departments" tables.

Natural Join:

Unlike the Inner Join type which is employed with explicit join conditions, the Natural Join works independently of such conditions. It does the same by collecting together columns with the same name from separate tables and then matches rows which contain the same values.

The syntax for Natural Join is as follows:

Syntax:

Example:

We will consider two tables:

employees

employee_id name department_id
1 Tiya 1001
2 Riya 1002
3 Diya 1003

departments

department_id department_name
1001 Manager
1002 Executive
1003 Writer

SQL Code:

Output:

Difference between Natural Join and Inner Join in SQL

This join (Natural) combines the "employees" and "departments" tables with only the department_id attribute in common.

Following are the comparison between Natural Join and Inner Join:

Difference between Natural Join and Inner Join in SQL
Natural Join Inner Join
Natural join is a process of joining two tables on a field basis for matching names and data types of the fields (natural join's fundamental property). This is equivalent to setting up an inner join type on that column mentioned in the ON clause.
Natural join involves keeping only rows that are based on the common column if no condition exists. Unique records from both tables with only those rows remaining in an inner join will be returned.
The complete table is derived by the natural join. It will have all the features from both tables; however, the common fields will have only one-time visibility in the output. After the pairing of the columns of both tables-which produce the duplicate columns-the output table will be visible in an inner join.

Conclusion:

Natural Join and Inner Join are the irreplaceable tools in the hands of the SQL developer, as the missing information can be filled by these two tools from the multiple tables. Although they are commonly used to address the same general problem of data integration, their distinguishable attributes have been shown to be beneficial in different situations from each other. Inner Join is the preferred method for cases where full control over the joining process is needed to guarantee high level of precision and optimal performance, while Natural Join is suitable for removing the need to manage joining manually by simply joining columns with the same names.







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