Thomas’ Developer Blog

January 31, 2012

Filtering many to many queries in mySQL using “having.”

Filed under: sql — sanzon @ 6:21 am

I rarely update this blog anymore except when I run into something that really bugs me. I started with 3 tables.

Product_ID Name
1 Orange
2 Apple
3 Banana
Category_ID Name
1 Red
2 Orange
3 Round
4 Long
Product_ID Category_ID
1 1
1 3
2 2
3 4





The problem is I wanted to select only products that were round and red. However, the problem is you can’t use a where statement like:

“select distinct product_id from product join product_to_category using(product_id)  where category_id = 1 and category_id = 3”

This would return 0 results.

The best way to do this is to use a Group By Product_ID along with a Having clause as such:

“select distinct product_id from product join product_to_category using(product_id)  group by product_id having sum(if(category_id in (1,3),1,0)) = 2”

This will return only products that are both red and round.

How does the having clause work?

Having is similar to where except for it takes place after all rows have been collected. Generally it filters the results. Now let’s look at the statement:

“having sum(if(category_id in (1,3),1,0)) = 2”

What this code does is pretty simple. It checks each category_id in product_to_category for a match. If there is a match a 1 is returned, if no matches it returns a 0. Because they are grouped we add up the number of matches. In this case there are 2 categories we are looking for so this value must “= 2”.

That’s it! Fast and clean!



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