JOIN

Make a query result that uses rows from multiple tables.

  1. Vs multiple SELECT
  2. INNER JOIN
    1. Select all columns from one table
    2. Operate before the JOIN
    3. ON vs WHERE
  3. LEFT JOIN
    1. LEFT JOIN on SELECT
  4. RIGHT JOIN
  5. OUTER JOIN

Vs multiple SELECT

Every join can be done with multiple SELECT. Which is faster?

INNER JOIN

Only rows present on both are considered (intersection).

A very common usage is to join foreign key from one table to ids of the other.

CREATE TABLE names (i INT, name VARCHAR(16));
CREATE TABLE squares (i INT, square INT);
INSERT INTO names   VALUES (0, 'zero'), (1, 'one'),         (3, 'three');
INSERT INTO squares VALUES (0, 0),                  (2, 4), (3, 9);
SELECT names.name, squares.square
    FROM names
    INNER JOIN squares
    ON names.i = squares.i
    ORDER BY squares.square, names.name;
# Same as above by symmetry.
SELECT names.name, squares.square
    FROM squares
    INNER JOIN names
    ON names.i = squares.i
    ORDER BY squares.square, names.name;
DROP TABLE names, squares;

Output: 2x:

name    square
zero    0
three   9

1 and 2 are not there since they are only present on one of the tables.

Every possible match is done, so the new table is up to $n*m$ as large:

CREATE TABLE names (i INT, name VARCHAR(16));
CREATE TABLE roots (i INT, root INT);
INSERT INTO names VALUES (1, 'one'), (1, 'one again');
INSERT INTO roots VALUES (1, -1),    (1, 1);
SELECT names.name, roots.root
    FROM names
    INNER JOIN roots
    ON names.i = roots.i
    ORDER BY roots.root, names.name;
DROP TABLE names, roots;

Output:

name        root
one         -1
one again   -1
one         1
one again   1

INNER JOIN is symmetric, unlike LEFT JOIN in the NULL case:

CREATE TABLE names (i INT, name VARCHAR(16));
CREATE TABLE roots (i INT, root INT);
INSERT INTO names VALUES (1, 'one'), (1, 'one again');
INSERT INTO roots VALUES (1, -1),    (1, 1);
SELECT names.name, roots.root
    FROM names
    INNER JOIN roots
    ON names.i = roots.i
    ORDER BY roots.root, names.name;
# Same as above by symmetry:
SELECT names.name, roots.root
    FROM roots
    INNER JOIN names
        ON names.i = roots.i
    ORDER BY roots.root, names.name;
DROP TABLE names, roots;

Output: 2x:

name        root
one         -1
one again   -1
one         1
one again   1

Multiple joins:

CREATE TABLE countrys (id INT,                 name VARCHAR(16));
CREATE TABLE states   (id INT, country_id INT, name VARCHAR(16));
CREATE TABLE citys    (id INT, state_id   INT, name VARCHAR(16));
INSERT INTO countrys VALUES (1, 'a'), (2, 'b'), (3, 'c');
INSERT INTO states   VALUES (1, 1, 'aa'), (2, 1, 'ab'), (3, 2, 'ba');
INSERT INTO citys    VALUES (1, 1, 'aaa'), (2, 1, 'aab'), (3, 3, 'baa');
SELECT countrys.name AS `countrys.name`, citys.name AS `citys.name`
    FROM countrys
    INNER JOIN states ON states.country_id = countrys.id
    INNER JOIN citys  ON citys.state_id    = states.id
    ORDER BY countrys.name, citys.name;
DROP TABLE countrys, states, citys;

Output:

countrys.name    citys.name
a                aaa
a                aab
b                baa

Select all columns from one table

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3492904/mysql-select-all-columns-from-one-table-and-some-from-another-table

Operate before the JOIN

E.g.: you want to LIMIT on the first table, not on the join.

Seems to require a subquery:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7405432/can-you-apply-limit-on-mysql-before-left-join-another

ON vs WHERE

Multiple ON conditions can be used instead of WHERE clauses.

The behavior is the same except for edge cases: http://stackoverflow.com/a/7967048/895245.

In theory ON is more efficient, but because of optimizers in practice both are almost always the same speed.

Because of the slim possibilities of slowdown and the edge case, always use multiple ON conditions instead of WHERE:

CREATE TABLE names (i INT, name VARCHAR(16));
CREATE TABLE squares (i INT, square INT);
INSERT INTO names   VALUES (0, 'zero'), (1, 'one'),         (3, 'three');
INSERT INTO squares VALUES (0, 0),                  (2, 4), (3, 9);
SELECT names.name, squares.square
    FROM names
    INNER JOIN squares
    ON names.i = squares.i
    AND squares.square < 5;
DROP TABLE names, squares;

Output:

name    square
zero    0

LEFT JOIN

Consider all rows of the left (first) table, even if they have no match on the second table.

If the second table has no match, its columns receive NULL.

As a result, all rows of the left table will generate at least one row on the joined table.

If the left row has at least one match, the NULL row is not generated:

CREATE TABLE names (i INT, name VARCHAR(16));
CREATE TABLE squares (i INT, square INT);
INSERT INTO names VALUES (0, 'zero'), (0, 'zero again'), (1, 'one'), (3, 'three');
INSERT INTO squares VALUES (0, 0), (0, 0), (2, 4), (3, 9);
SELECT names.name, squares.square
    FROM names
    LEFT JOIN squares
    ON names.i = squares.i
    ORDER BY names.i, names.name, squares.square;
DROP TABLE names, squares;

Output:

name        square
zero        0
zero        0
zero again  0
zero again  0
one         NULL
three       9

Here:

  • one is present because it is on the left table
  • two is not because it is on the right table

Since one has no corresponding square, the square is NULL.

LEFT JOIN on SELECT

This syntax is being generally deprecated: use LEFT JOIN instead: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/894490/sql-left-join-vs-multiple-tables-on-from-line

Multiple tables:

CREATE TABLE t  (i INT);
CREATE TABLE t2 (j INT);
INSERT INTO t VALUES  (1), (3);
INSERT INTO t2 VALUES (2), (4);
SELECT * FROM t, t2 ORDER BY t.i, t2.j;
DROP TABLE t, t2;

Output is the Cartesian product of the two tables:

i   j
1   2
1   4
3   2
3   4

Must include all the table names to be used, or error:

CREATE TABLE t  (i INT);
CREATE TABLE t2 (j INT);
INSERT INTO t VALUES  (1), (3);
INSERT INTO t2 VALUES (2), (4);
SELECT * FROM t ORDER BY t.i, t2.j;
DROP TABLE t, t2;

Output:

ERROR 1054 (42S22): Unknown column 't2.j' in 'order clause'

Table names are omitted from the headers. To disambiguate use AS.

RIGHT JOIN

Not as widely implemented as LEFT (sqlite), and can always be emulated with LEFT, so never use it.

CREATE TABLE names (i INT, name VARCHAR(16));
CREATE TABLE squares (i INT, square INT);
INSERT INTO names VALUES (0, 'zero'), (1, 'one'), (3, 'three');
INSERT INTO squares VALUES (0, 0), (2, 4), (3, 9);
SELECT names.name, squares.square
    FROM names
    RIGHT JOIN squares
    ON names.i = squares.i;
    ORDER BY names.name, squares.square;
DROP TABLE names, squares;

Output:

name    square
zero    0
NULL    4
three   9

OUTER JOIN

{LEFT|RIGHT} OUTER JOIN is the same as LEFT JOIN.

FULL OUTER JOIN (select at least one item from both sides) is not present as of MySQL 5.5, but can be emulated with UNION: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7978663/mysql-full-join/7978665#7978665.

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