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name Punditsdkoslkdosdkoskdo

How to 'embed if not exists' in MySQL?

I started by googling, and found this article which talks about mutex tables.

I have a table with ~14 million records. If I want to add more data in the same format, is there a way to ensure the record I want to insert does not already exist without using a pair of queries (ie, one query to check and one to insert is the result set is empty)?

Does a unique constraint on a field guarantee the insert will fail if it's already there?

It seems that with merely a constraint, when I issue the insert via php, the script croaks.

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Try the following:

IF (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM beta WHERE name = 'John' > 0)
  UPDATE alfa SET c1=(SELECT id FROM beta WHERE name = 'John')
  INSERT INTO beta (name) VALUES ('John')
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Any simple constraint should do the job, if an exception is acceptable. Examples :

  • primary key if not surrogate
  • unique constraint on a column
  • multi-column unique constraint

Sorry is this seems deceptively simple. I know it looks bad confronted to the link you share with us. ;-(

But I neverleless give this answer, because it seem to fill your need. (If not, it may trigger your updating your requirements, which would be "a Good Thing"(TM) also).

Edited: If an insert would break the database unique constraint, an exception is throw at the database level, relayed by the driver. It will certainly stop your script, with a failure. It must be possible in PHP to adress that case ...

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INSERT INTO `table` (`value1`, `value2`) 
SELECT 'stuff for value1', 'stuff for value2' FROM DUAL 
      WHERE `value1`='stuff for value1' AND `value2`='stuff for value2' LIMIT 1) 


The innermost query

SELECT * FROM `table` 
      WHERE `value1`='stuff for value1' AND `value2`='stuff for value2' LIMIT 1

used as the WHERE NOT EXISTS-condition detects if there already exists a row with the data to be inserted. After one row of this kind is found, the query may stop, hence the LIMIT 1 (micro-optimization, may be omitted).

The intermediate query

SELECT 'stuff for value1', 'stuff for value2' FROM DUAL

represents the values to be inserted. DUAL refers to a special one row, one column table present by default in all Oracle databases (see On a MySQL-Server version 5.7.26 I got a valid query when omitting FROM DUAL, but older versions (like 5.5.60) seem to require the FROM information. By using WHERE NOT EXISTS the intermediate query returns an empty result set if the innermost query found matching data.

The outer query

INSERT INTO `table` (`value1`, `value2`) 

inserts the data, if any is returned by the intermediate query.

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