Definitions

create mentally

Create, read, update and delete

Create, read, update and delete (CRUD) are the four basic functions of persistent storage, a major part of nearly all computer software. Sometimes CRUD is expanded with the words retrieve instead of read or destroy instead of delete. It is also sometimes used to describe user interface conventions that facilitate viewing, searching, and changing information; often using computer-based forms and reports.

Alternate terms for CRUD (one initialism and three acronyms):

  • ABCD: add, browse, change, delete
  • ACID: add, change, inquire, delete — though this can be confused with the transactional use of the acronym ACID.
  • BREAD: browse, read, edit, add, delete
  • VADE(R): view, add, delete, edit (and restore, for systems supporting transaction processing)

Database applications

The acronym CRUD refers to all of the major functions that need to be implemented in a relational database application to consider it complete. Each letter in the acronym can be mapped to a standard SQL statement:

Operation SQL
Create INSERT
Read (Retrieve) SELECT
Update UPDATE
Delete (Destroy) DELETE

Although a relational database is a common persistence layer in software applications, there are numerous others. CRUD can be implemented with an object database, an XML database, flat text files, custom file formats, tape, or card, for example.

Google Scholar lists the first reference to create-read-update-delete as by Kilov in 1990. The concept seems to be also described in more detail in Kilov's 1998 book.

User interface

CRUD is also relevant at the user interface level of most applications. For example, in address book software, the basic storage unit is an individual contact entry. As a bare minimum, the software must allow the user to:

  • Create or add new entries
  • Read, retrieve, search, or view existing entries
  • Update or edit existing entries
  • Delete existing entries

Without at least these four operations, the software cannot be considered complete. Because these operations are so fundamental, they are often documented and described under one comprehensive heading, such as "contact management" or "contact maintenance" (or "document management" in general, depending on the basic storage unit for the particular application).

Notes

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