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MySQL Alter syntax to drop a column if it exists [closed]

Posted by: admin November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

What is the syntax to drop a column in a MySQL table, if that column exists on version 4.0.18?

Answers:

For MySQL, there is none: MySQL Feature Request.

Allowing this is arguably a really bad idea, anyway: IF EXISTS indicates that you’re running destructive operations on a database with (to you) unknown structure. There may be situations where this is acceptable for quick-and-dirty local work, but if you’re tempted to run such a statement against production data (in a migration etc.), you’re playing with fire.

But if you insist, it’s not difficult to simply check for existence first in the client, or to catch the error.

MariaDB also supports the following starting with 10.0.2:

DROP [COLUMN] [IF EXISTS] col_name

i. e.

ALTER TABLE my_table DROP IF EXISTS my_column;

But it’s arguably a bad idea to rely on a non-standard feature supported by only one of several forks of MySQL.

Questions:
Answers:

There is no language level support for this in MySQL. Here is a work-around involving MySQL information_schema meta-data in 5.0+, but it won’t address your issue in 4.0.18.

drop procedure if exists schema_change;

delimiter ';;'
create procedure schema_change() begin

    /* delete columns if they exist */
    if exists (select * from information_schema.columns where table_schema = schema() and table_name = 'table1' and column_name = 'column1') then
        alter table table1 drop column `column1`;
    end if;
    if exists (select * from information_schema.columns where table_schema = schema() and table_name = 'table1' and column_name = 'column2') then
        alter table table1 drop column `column2`;
    end if;

    /* add columns */
    alter table table1 add column `column1` varchar(255) NULL;
    alter table table1 add column `column2` varchar(255) NULL;

end;;

delimiter ';'
call schema_change();

drop procedure if exists schema_change;

I wrote some more detailed information in a blog post.

Questions:
Answers:

Chase Seibert’s answer works, but I’d add that if you have several schemata you want to alter the SELECT thus:

select * from information_schema.columns where table_schema in (select schema()) and table_name=...

Questions:
Answers:

I know this is an old thread, but there is a simple way to handle this requirement without using stored procedures. This may help someone.

set @exist_Check := (
    select count(*) from information_schema.columns 
    where TABLE_NAME='YOUR_TABLE' 
    and COLUMN_NAME='YOUR_COLUMN' 
    and TABLE_SCHEMA=database()
) ;
set @sqlstmt := if(@exist_Check>0,'alter table YOUR_TABLE drop column YOUR_COLUMN', 'select ''''') ;
prepare stmt from @sqlstmt ;
execute stmt ;

Hope this helps someone, as it did me (after a lot of trial and error).

Questions:
Answers:

I realise this thread is quite old now, but I was having the same problem.
This was my very basic solution using the MySQL Workbench, but it worked fine…

  1. get a new sql editor and execute SHOW TABLES to get a list of your tables
  2. select all of the rows, and choose copy to clipboard (unquoted) from the context menu
  3. paste the list of names into another editor tab
  4. write your query, ie ALTER TABLE x DROP a;
  5. do some copying and pasting, so you end up with separate query for each table
  6. Toggle whether the workbench should stop when an error occurs
  7. Hit execute and look through the output log

any tables which had the table now haven’t
any tables which didn’t will have shown an error in the logs

then you can find/replace ‘drop a‘ change it to ‘ADD COLUMN b INT NULL’ etc and run the whole thing again….

a bit clunky, but at last you get the end result and you can control/monitor the whole process and remember to save you sql scripts in case you need them again.