Hierarchical Queries v12

A hierarchical query is a type of query that returns the rows of the result set in a hierarchical order based upon data forming a parent-child relationship. A hierarchy is typically represented by an inverted tree structure. The tree is comprised of interconnected nodes. Each node may be connected to none, one, or multiple child nodes. Each node is connected to one parent node except for the top node which has no parent. This node is the root node. Each tree has exactly one root node. Nodes that don’t have any children are called leaf nodes. A tree always has at least one leaf node - e.g., the trivial case where the tree is comprised of a single node. In this case it is both the root and the leaf.

In a hierarchical query the rows of the result set represent the nodes of one or more trees.


It is possible that a single, given row may appear in more than one tree and thus appear more than once in the result set.

The hierarchical relationship in a query is described by the CONNECT BY clause which forms the basis of the order in which rows are returned in the result set. The context of where the CONNECT BY clause and its associated optional clauses appear in the SELECT command is shown below.

SELECT <select_list> FROM <table_expression> [ WHERE ...]
  [ START WITH <start_expression> ]
    CONNECT BY { PRIOR <parent_expr> = <child_expr> |
      <child_expr> = PRIOR <parent_expr> }
  [ ORDER SIBLINGS BY <column1> [ ASC | DESC ]
      [, <column2> [ ASC | DESC ] ] ...
  [ GROUP BY ...]
  [ HAVING ...]
  [ <other> ...]

select_list is one or more expressions that comprise the fields of the result set. table_expression is one or more tables or views from which the rows of the result set originate. other is any additional legal SELECT command clauses. The clauses pertinent to hierarchical queries, START WITH, CONNECT BY, and ORDER SIBLINGS BY are described in the following sections.


At this time, Advanced Server does not support the use of AND (or other operators) in the CONNECT BY clause.

defining_the_parent_child_relationship selecting_the_root_nodes organization_tree_in_the_sample_application node_level ordering_the_siblings retrieving_the_root_node_with_connect_by_root retrieving_a_path_with_sys_connect_by_path