Reusing Values at the Top of a Sequence

11.10.1 Problem

You've deleted rows at the top end of your sequence. Can you avoid resequencing the column, but still reuse the values that have been deleted?

11.10.2 Solution

Yes, use ALTER TABLE to reset the sequence counter. MySQL will generate new sequence numbers beginning with the value that is one larger than the current maximum in the table.

11.10.3 Discussion

If you have removed records only from the top of the sequence, those that remain will still be in order with no gaps. (For example if you have records numbered 1 to 100 and you remove records 91 to 100, the remaining records are still in unbroken sequence from 1 to 90.) In this special case, it's unnecessary to renumber the column. Instead, just tell MySQL to resume the sequence beginning with the value one larger that the highest existing sequence number. For ISAM or BDB tables, that's the default behavior anyway, so the deleted values will be reused with no additional action on your part. For MyISAM or InnoDB tables, issue the following statement:


This causes MySQL to reset the sequence counter down as far as it can for creating new records in the future.

You can use ALTER TABLE to reset the sequence counter if a sequence column contains gaps in the middle, but doing so still will reuse only values deleted from the top of the sequence. It will not eliminate the gaps. Suppose you have a table with sequence values from 1 to 10 and then delete the records for values 3, 4, 5, 9, and 10. The maximum remaining value is 8, so if you use ALTER TABLE to reset the sequence counter, the next record will be given a value of 9, not 3. To resequence a table and eliminate the gaps as well, see Recipe 11.9.

Using the mysql Client Program

Writing MySQL-Based Programs

Record Selection Techniques

Working with Strings

Working with Dates and Times

Sorting Query Results

Generating Summaries

Modifying Tables with ALTER TABLE

Obtaining and Using Metadata

Importing and Exporting Data

Generating and Using Sequences

Using Multiple Tables

Statistical Techniques

Handling Duplicates

Performing Transactions

Introduction to MySQL on the Web

Incorporating Query Resultsinto Web Pages

Processing Web Input with MySQL

Using MySQL-Based Web Session Management

Appendix A. Obtaining MySQL Software

Appendix B. JSP and Tomcat Primer

Appendix C. References

MySQL Cookbook
MySQL Cookbook
ISBN: 059652708X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 412
Authors: Paul DuBois

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