Count number of tables in the database – MySQL

mysql girl in black halter top

Determining the number of tables that are contained in a MySQL database is very straight-forward, although it is an often asked question. The simplest way to accomplish this is using the following SQL query. In this query, you will provide the database, and the SQL will access MySQL’s internal data scheme (information_schema).

SELECT count(*) as ‘Tables’, table_schema as ‘Database’
FROM information_schema.TABLES
WHERE table_schema= ‘The Database Name’
GROUP BY table_schema

If you need to retrieve this information using PHP, use can use the following code. It creates a connection, runs the query, and returns the number of rows retrieved. This query you notice is slightly different than the one above, often there are multiple ways to get the same result!

$conn = mysql_connect(‘localhost’, ‘USERNAME’, ‘PASSWORD’, 1, 65536);
$res = mysql_query( “select table_name from information_schema.tables where table_schema=’test'”, $conn );
echo mysql_num_rows( $res );

And lastly, there is one more way that you can retrieve the number of tables in a database using PHP and the Show Tables command. In this example, you will need to be connected to a server, and have the database set to the one you are querying against.

echo “<pre>”;
$tbl_List = mysql_query(“SHOW TABLES”);
while($tables = mysql_tablename($tbl_List,$i))

echo $tables;

echo “<br />Table count = $i”;
echo “</pre>”;

MySQL Delimiters – Or why I hate stored procedures and Error Code : 1064 You have an error in your SQL syntax.

girl looking at computerMySQL 5.0+ gave DBA’s the ability to write stored procedures and functions. This is a great addition, and one that all “real” DB engines should provide. But, as many DBA have found out, writing stored procedures using most MySQL clients can be a bit of a challenge. Usually after writing their first attempt, they are greeted with, “Error Code : 1064 You have have an error in your SQL syntax;”.

So, what is going on?  Well, by default the MySQL statement delimiter is the semi-colon (;).  However, the mysql command-line utility also uses a semi-colon as a delimiter. So, if the command-line utility were to interpret the ; characters inside of the stored procedure itself, those would not end up becoming part of the stored procedure, and that would make the SQL in the stored procedure syntactically invalid.

The solution is to temporarily change the command-line utility delimiter using the DELIMITER command, as seen here:


CREATE PROCEDURE sku_pricing( OUT low_price DECIMAL(8,2), OUT high_price DECIMAL(8,2), OUT avg_price DECIMAL(8,2) )


SELECT Min(prod_price) INTO low_price FROM sku_items;

SELECT Max(prod_price) INTO high_price FROM items;

SELECT Avg(prod_price) INTO avg_price FROM items;

END; //


Here, DELIMITER // tells the command-line utility to use // as the new end of statement delimiter, and you will notice that the END that closes the stored procedure is defined as END // instead of the expected END;. This way the ; within the stored procedure body remains intact and is correctly passed to the database engine, rather than being interpreted by the client. And then, to restore things back to how they were initially, the statement closes with a DELIMITER ;.   Any character may be used as the delimiter except for , as it is an escape character in mySQL.

MySQL – SQL Injection, and how to Prevent it

SQL injection vulnerabilities are often been described as the most serious threat for Web applications, regardless of what language they are written in . Web applications that are vulnerable to SQL injection may allow an attacker to gain complete access to their underlying databases, regardless of if they are using MySQL Server, SQL Server, or Oracle.

SQL-injection attacks are those in which data provided by the user is included in an SQL query in such a way that part of the user’s input is treated as SQL code that is executed on the server.   By using this technique, an attacker can submit SQL commands directly to the database.   These attacks are a serious threat to any Web application that receives input from users and passes it into SQL queries to an underlying database server.  If  user input is not santised properly, web applications may result in SQL Injection attacks that allow hackers to view information from the database and/or even wipe it out.

To defend against SQL Injection attacks, user input must not directly be embedded into SQL statements that are executed on the server.  Instead, you must use parameterized statements, and Escaping functions to check user input.

Various resource for addressing SQL Injection are as follows:

Bobby Tables provides real-world practical code for addressing SQL Injection – http://bobby-tables.com/
Michal Daw’s Blog Page outlines various SQL Injection vectors – http://michaeldaw.org/sql-injection-cheat-sheet

MySQL – Disabling Binary Logging for INSERT and UPDATE

I have run into many situations where there would be a benefit to not replicate a large INSERT or UPDATE from the MASTER to SLAVE in order to not block replication for a long period of time. Luckily MySQL provides a means to disable binary logging for your current session. Simply execute SET SQL_BIN_LOG=0 before the SQL Statement that you do not want logged to the BINLOG. This is a session variable, meaning it will be re-enabled when you close the session, or you can set it back to 1.

In order to keep the Slave in-sync, you will need to execute the same query on the Slave. You can also use mk-table-sync from the Maatkit toolkit to re-sync your table data at a later time.

MySQL – Constraints on Hierarchical Data in a Self-Referential Table


I recently had a client who was using a table structure that utilized a self-referential structure using an ID field and Parent_ID fields. After upgrading to Innodb, his DBA was trying to utilize a foreign key constraint to perform cascading UPDATE and DELETE statements. After much heart-ache, they called me in to find out why it was not working. Unfortunately, I had to share with them the fact that MySQL does not support this type of use of constraints on self-referential tables.

This deviation from SQL standards results affects an ON UPDATE CASCADE or ON UPDATE SET NULL that recurses to update the same table it has previously updated during the cascade. Instead of cascading, it acts like RESTRICT. This means that you cannot use self-referential ON UPDATE CASCADE or ON UPDATE SET NULL operations in MySQL. According to the Innodb developers, this is to prevent infinite loops resulting from cascaded updates, although I would think this could be addressed in future versions. A self-referential ON DELETE SET NULL, on the other hand, is still possible, as is a self-referential ON DELETE CASCADE.

MySQL How to delete duplicate records and rows of data


The fastest and easiest way to delete duplicate records is my issuing a very simple command.

alter ignore table [tablename] add unique index `unique_index` ([fieldname])

What this does is create a unique index on the field that you do not want to have any duplicates. The ignore syntax instructs MySQL to not stop and display an error when it hits a duplicate. This is much easier than dumping and reloading a table.

This also will work, but is not as elegant:

delete from [tablename] where fieldname in (select a.[fieldname] from
(select [fieldname] from [tablename] group by [fieldname] having count(*) > 1 ) a )