Introduction - Sequences

Introduction - Sequences – Sequences and auto-incrementing


Sequences are a way of offering unique IDs for data rows. If you do most of your work with e.g. MySQL, think of sequences as another way of doing AUTO_INCREMENT.

It's quite simple, first you request an ID, and then you insert that value in the ID field of the new row you're creating. You can have more than one sequence for all your tables, just be sure that you always use the same sequence for any particular table. To get the value of this unique ID use nextId(), if a sequence doesn't exists, it will be created automatically.

The sequence is automatically incremented each time nextId() is called.

Using a sequence

// Once you have a valid DB object named $db...
$id $db->nextId('mySequence');
if (
PEAR::isError($id)) {

// Use the ID in your INSERT query
$res =& $db->query("INSERT INTO myTable (id, text) VALUES ($id, 'foo')");


When using PEAR DB's sequence methods, we strongly advise using these methods for all procedures, including the creation of the sequences. Do not use PEAR DB's methods to access sequences that were created directly in the DBMS.

If you have a compelling reason to ignore this advice, be aware that the $seq_name argument given to all of PEAR DB's sequence methods are modified before DB calls the underlying DBMS.

$seq_name is passed through PHP's sprintf() function using the value from the seqname_format option as sprintf()'s format argument. The default seqname_format is %s_seq. So, for example, if you use person_id_sequence as the $seq_name, PEAR DB will change that name to person_id_sequence_seq when querying the DBMS about creating/accessing/updating the sequence.

The seqname_format can be modified when connect()'ing or via setOption().

Please note that you may need to change the seqname_format option to represent a quoted form of the sequence name if the sequence names contain characters that cannot be used unquoted within queries. For example, PostgreSQL users with uppercase table names will probably need to use "%s_seq" (note the quotes) for queries to work as expected.

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Last updated: Sat, 16 Feb 2019 — Download Documentation
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