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Created by Zed A. Shaw Updated 2024-02-17 04:54:36

Exercise 11: Replacing Data

I'm going to show you an alternative way to insert data which helps with atomic replacement of rows. You don't necessarily need this too often, but it does help if you're having to replace whole records and don't want to do a more complicated UPDATE without resorting to transactions.

In this situation, I want to replace my record with another guy but keep the unique id. Problem is I'd have to either do a DELETE/INSERT in a transaction to make it atomic, or I'd need to do a full UPDATE.

Another simpler way to do it is to use the REPLACE command, or add it as a modifier to INSERT. Here's some SQL where I first fail to insert a new record, then I use these two forms of REPLACE to do it:

/* This should fail because 0 is already taken. */
INSERT INTO person (id, first_name, last_name, age)
    VALUES (0, 'Frank', 'Smith', 100);

/* We can force it by doing an INSERT OR REPLACE. */
INSERT OR REPLACE INTO person (id, first_name, last_name, age)
    VALUES (0, 'Frank', 'Smith', 100);

SELECT * FROM person;

/* And shorthand for that is just REPLACE. */
REPLACE INTO person (id, first_name, last_name, age)
    VALUES (0, 'Zed', 'Shaw', 37);

/* Now you can see I'm back. */
SELECT * FROM person;
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