Insert comma seperated array in mysql

Hi, I am working on a script where I want to select parent id for a new user and save his parent id along with parents parent ids in mysql table.

$last_id = mysql_insert_id();

//select parent id of last inserted user
$sel = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM tbl_new_agent WHERE new_agnt_id = '".$last_id."'");
$row = mysql_fetch_array($sel);
$a = $row['new_agnt_ParentId'];

//select parents of parent which are supposed to be stored at parent_arr field in db as comma separated values									
$sel1 = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM tbl_new_agent WHERE new_agnt_id = '".$a."'");
$row1 = mysql_fetch_array($sel1);

//here i want to add element in array.though its not working obviously
$b = array_push($row1['parent_arr'],$a);
$update = mysql_query("UPDATE tbl_new_agent SET parent_arr = '".$b."' WHERE new_agnt_id = '".$last_id."'");

I have no idea how I can store comma separated values or store a single value initially and then add more elements.Can anyone give me idea in this regard? :confused:

Hi Anita,

It seems like you are storing a tree structure of agents. That sounds a bit like a pyramid scheme. Are you running or working for someone who is running a pyramid scheme?

Thanks for your reply parallelist. Yes its almost like a pyramid scheme.I will use this data in another form where user selects an agent and by using in_array or something like that I will display text boxes in front of agent names.

I assume the field parent_arr is a varchar or text field in the DB?

If so you would just append the new ID on as a string, or you could explode the current list and add it on and then implode it back.

$b = $row1['parent_arr'].','.$a;


$b = explode(',',$row1['parent_arr']);
$b[] = $a;
$b = implode(',',$b);

You never store comma separated arrays in a database - each entry in the comma separated array needs to be stored in its own row in a table in the database. This table would have a many to one relationship to the original table.

I agree normalization is the better solution. My response was based on what looked to be his decision to go the one field route for whatever reason.

thank you so much phpMyDirectory.this solution is much simpler :slight_smile: during google search I also found that storing comma separated values is not a good idea.

for now i have found this solution:

$update = mysql_query("UPDATE tbl_new_agent SET parent_arr = CONCAT('".$b."','".$a."',',') WHERE new_agnt_id = '".$last_id."'");

and using in this way in another page:

$agent_id = $_POST['comm_Agent'];  
$query = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM tbl_new_agent");

while($row = mysql_fetch_array($query)){
         $parent_arr = explode(',',$row['parent_arr']);
               if (in_array($agent_id, $parent_arr)) {
                            echo $row['new_agnt_id'];

i am sure there are other ‘neat’ ways to achieve this.but so far above code is working as expected. thanks for your replies felgall and phpMyDirectory.

You’re putting more work onto PHP than needs be.

It “works” but it isn’t the best way to go about it and you should really get away from both deprecated mysql_ and “storing what should be fields in a field” especially if you expect your database to get to any appreciable size.

Can you ALTER your database structure?