sql – Bulk/batch update/upsert in PostgreSQL

sql – Bulk/batch update/upsert in PostgreSQL

Bulk insert

You can modify the bulk insert of three columns by @Ketema:

INSERT INTO table (col1, col2, col3)
  VALUES (11, 12, 13) , (21, 22, 23) , (31, 32, 33);

It becomes:

INSERT INTO table (col1, col2, col3)
  VALUES (unnest(array[11,21,31]), 

Replacing the values with placeholders:

INSERT INTO table (col1, col2, col3)
  VALUES (unnest(?), unnest(?), unnest(?))

You have to pass arrays or lists as arguments to this query. This means you can do huge bulk inserts without doing string concatenation (and all its hazzles and dangers: sql injection and quoting hell).

Bulk update

PostgreSQL has added the FROM extension to UPDATE. You can use it in this way:

update table 
  set value = data_table.new_value
    (select unnest(?) as key, unnest(?) as new_value) as data_table
  where table.key = data_table.key;

The manual is missing a good explanation, but there is an example on the postgresql-admin mailing list. I tried to elaborate on it:

create table tmp
  id serial not null primary key,
  name text,
  age integer

insert into tmp (name,age) 
values (keith, 43),(leslie, 40),(bexley, 19),(casey, 6);

update tmp set age = data_table.age
(select unnest(array[keith, leslie, bexley, casey]) as name, 
        unnest(array[44, 50, 10, 12]) as age) as data_table
where tmp.name = data_table.name;

There are also other posts on StackExchange explaining UPDATE...FROM.. using a VALUES clause instead of a subquery. They might by easier to read, but are restricted to a fixed number of rows.

Ive used 3 strategies for batch transactional work:

  1. Generate SQL statements on the fly, concatenate them with semicolons, and then submit the statements in one shot. Ive done up to 100 inserts in this way, and it was quite efficient (done against Postgres).
  2. JDBC has batching capabilities built in, if configured. If you generate transactions, you can flush your JDBC statements so that they transact in one shot. This tactic requires fewer database calls, as the statements are all executed in one batch.
  3. Hibernate also supports JDBC batching along the lines of the previous example, but in this case you execute a flush() method against the Hibernate Session, not the underlying JDBC connection. It accomplishes the same thing as JDBC batching.

Incidentally, Hibernate also supports a batching strategy in collection fetching. If you annotate a collection with @BatchSize, when fetching associations, Hibernate will use IN instead of =, leading to fewer SELECT statements to load up the collections.

sql – Bulk/batch update/upsert in PostgreSQL

Bulk inserts can be done as such:

INSERT INTO table ( col1, col2, col3)
  VALUES ( 1, 2, 3 ) , ( 3, 4, 5 ) , ( 6, 7, 8 );

Will insert 3 rows.

Multiple updating is defined by the SQL standard, but not implemented in PostgreSQL.


According to the standard, the column-list syntax should allow a list
of columns to be assigned from a single row-valued expression, such as
a sub-select:

UPDATE accounts SET (contact_last_name, contact_first_name) =
(SELECT last_name, first_name FROM salesmen
WHERE salesmen.id = accounts.sales_id);

Reference: http://www.postgresql.org/docs/9.0/static/sql-update.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *