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Why Use Stored Procedures

Now that you know what stored procedures are, why use them? There are many reasons, but here are the primary ones:

  • To simplify complex operations (as seen in the previous example) by encapsulating processes into a single easy-to-use unit.

  • To ensure data integrity by not requiring that a series of steps be created over and over. If all developers and applications use the same (tried and tested) stored procedure, the same code will be used by all.

    An extension of this is to prevent errors. The more steps that need to be performed, the more likely it is that errors will be introduced. Preventing errors ensures data consistency.

  • To simplify change management. If tables, column names, or business logic (or just about anything) changes, only the stored procedure code needs to be updated, and no one else will need even to be aware that changes were made.

    An extension of this is security. Restricting access to underlying data via stored procedures reduces the chance of data corruption (unintentional or otherwise).

  • To improve performance, as stored procedures typically execute quicker than do individual SQL statements.

  • There are MySQL language elements and features that are available only within single requests. Stored procedures can use these to write code that is more powerful and flexible. (We'll see an example of this in the next chapter).

In other words, there are three primary benefitssimplicity, security, and performance. Obviously all are extremely important. Before you run off to turn all your SQL code into stored procedures, here's the downside:

  • Stored procedures tend to be more complex to write than basic SQL statements, and writing them requires a greater degree of skill and experience.

  • You might not have the security access needed to create stored procedures. Many database administrators restrict stored procedure creation rights, allowing users to execute them but not necessarily create them.

Nonetheless, stored procedures are very useful and should be used whenever possible.


Can't Write Them? You Can Still Use Them MySQL distinguishes the security and access needed to write stored procedures from the security and access needed to execute them. This is a good thing; even if you can't (or don't want to) write your own stored procedures, you can still execute them when appropriate.

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