Setting constraints and rules in the database is better than writing special code to handle the same task since it will prevent another developer from writing a different query that bypasses all of the special code and could leave your database with poor data integrity.
For a long time I was copying info to another table using a script since MySQL didn’t support triggers at the time. I have now found this trigger to be more effective at keeping track of everything.
This trigger will copy an old value to a history table if it is changed when someone edits a row. Editor ID and last mod are stored in the original table every time someone edits that row; the time corresponds to when it was changed to its current form.
DROP TRIGGER IF EXISTS history_trigger $$ CREATE TRIGGER history_trigger BEFORE UPDATE ON clients FOR EACH ROW BEGIN IF OLD.first_name != NEW.first_name THEN INSERT INTO history_clients ( client_id , col , value , user_id , edit_time ) VALUES ( NEW.client_id, 'first_name', NEW.first_name, NEW.editor_id, NEW.last_mod ); END IF; IF OLD.last_name != NEW.last_name THEN INSERT INTO history_clients ( client_id , col , value , user_id , edit_time ) VALUES ( NEW.client_id, 'last_name', NEW.last_name, NEW.editor_id, NEW.last_mod ); END IF; END; $$
Notice where all of the semi-colons are. If you leave some out, it may take hours to debug your trigger syntax since the error messages don’t always help.
The OLD and NEW keywords correspond to the value in the row before an update and what is being inserted. Compare these values for each column that you want to track in the table.
An AFTER INSERT trigger should also be used to copy the initial data, and a BEFORE DELETE trigger would be good if you actually remove rows from the database instead of doing a soft delete like I normally do.
Delimiter is Tricky
$$ is being used to delimit the end of the two queries since the semi colons are needed for the interior statements.
Command Line Delimiter
To use this create-trigger query at the command line, you can add
before the trigger statement and
If you are using phpMyAdmin, there should be a small box below the main SQL box where you can enter $$.
Delimiter in php Scripts
If you would like to have php scripts create triggers you will need to use the mysqli_multi_query function. Below is an example.
$con = new MySQLi('host', 'user', 'pass', 'db'); $sql = ' DROP TRIGGER ... ; CREATE TRIGGER ... ; '; $con->multi_query($sql);
Notice that there isn’t a need for any special delimiter since the multi_query function applies it for you.
Make sure the database user has the Super privilege since that is needed to create triggers.
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