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Make Unique Index of Multiple Columns

I have a mysql table. What i want to do is...i have 3 columns Studentid, Courseid, is_paid

Now i want to make the combination of these 3 columns unique...But only when is_paid='No'. If is_paid='Yes' then the constraint should not apply. Any Idea about this?

Steven Parker
Steven Parker
229,921 Points

What do you mean by "make the combination of these 3 columns unique"? Do you want to delete any duplicate records?

And paid or not, why would a student have more than one record for the same course? (or is that the error you are trying to correct?)

3 Answers

Steven Parker
Steven Parker
229,921 Points

Assuming my guesses in the comment above are correct, you could do this:

DELETE FROM the_table t
         WHERE Studentid = t.Studentid
           AND Courseid = t.Courseid
           AND is_paid = t.is_paid) > 1
    AND is_paid = 'No';

Hi Steven,

Actually i am using the mysql query browser. I want 3 columns in it to be unique such that the combination of these 3 columns do not insert again. But only when the last column is_paid='No'. If the last column value is 'Yes' then the rows can repeat.

Steven Parker
Steven Parker
229,921 Points

That sounds like you want a before insert trigger that checks for an existing identical record and then aborts the insert. My MySql is a bit rusty; I do that kind of thing in Oracle, but I'm not sure how or if MySql does it.

Yes right!

Steven Parker
Steven Parker
229,921 Points

In MySql, I don't think you can throw an exception in a trigger to abort the function. But here's an idea, make the trigger delete any rows that match the one you're about to insert:

delimiter $$
   BEFORE INSERT ON the_table
     DELETE FROM the_table
         WHERE Studentid = NEW.Studentid
           AND Courseid = NEW.Courseid
           AND is_paid = NEW.is_paid
           AND is_paid = 'No';
delimiter ;

Another idea would be to make sure one of the columns is a "NOT NULL" column, and have the trigger set that value to null if the new row matches an existing one. That will cause the insert to fail.