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Creating a table in MySQL

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General table Cookbook
schedule Jul 1, 2022
Last updated
local_offer MySQL
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We can create a table in MySQL using the following general syntax:

CREATE TABLE table_name (column1 datatype1, column2 datatype2, column3 datatype3, ...);

Where:

table_name: the name to give to the table created.

column1: the name of a column that is to be part of the newly created table.

datatype1: the data type of column1.

Example

Basic usage

Consider the following information about some people:

id

name

age

hobby

1

alex

30

Programming

2

bob

15

Programming

3

cathy

20

Swimming

To create the above table in MySQL and call it info:

CREATE TABLE info (id INT, name VARCHAR(20), age INT, hobby VARCHAR(20));

To add records for the three people into the table info:

INSERT INTO info (id, name, age, hobby) VALUES (1, 'alex', 30, 'Programming');
INSERT INTO info (id, name, age, hobby) VALUES (2, 'bob', 15, 'Programming');
INSERT INTO info (id, name, age, hobby) VALUES (3, 'cathy', 20, 'Swimming');

SELECT * FROM info;
+------+-------+------+-------------+
| id | name | age | hobby |
+------+-------+------+-------------+
| 1 | alex | 30 | Programming |
| 2 | bob | 15 | Programming |
| 3 | cathy | 20 | Swimming |
+------+-------+------+-------------+
NOTE

The table name must be unique within the database that the table resides in. This means that if you have two databases, we are allowed to have a table named info in each one of these databases.

Primary key

To specify the id column as a primary key that uniquely identifies each row:

CREATE TABLE info (
id INT,
name VARCHAR(20),
age INT,
hobby VARCHAR(20),
PRIMARY KEY (id)
);

Auto-increment

To set the id column as an auto-increment column (i.e. automatically generate a unique number when a new record is inserted into the table):

CREATE TABLE info (
id INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
name VARCHAR(20),
age INT,
hobby VARCHAR(20)
);

The NOT NULL simply specifies that the id column should not accept NULL values.

Column data types

When we define the columns of a table, we need to specify the type of data that is to occupy each column. To store text, we can use the type VARCHAR(M). In the case of the above example, we have used VARCHAR(20), which means that each data stored in the name column will be less than or equal to 20 characters.

WARNING

If we attempt to store data that violates the format that we have pre-specified, we will encounter an error.

Naming convention

Although there is no one standard that satisfies all developers, typically table names are all lowercase and singular.

For instance, a table that contains data about films should be called film instead of films. This might be surprising at first since a table is essentially a collection of records (i.e. data), and so making it plural should be more intuitive. However, pluralizing the table name brings forth a number of problems such as irregular plural nouns (e.g. goose/geese, person/people, sheep/sheep).

NOTE

It is common to use snake_case for table names. Moreover, the table name is not case-sensitive (i.e. abc is the same as ABC).

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Published by Arthur Yanagisawa
Edited by 0 others
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