How do you set a default value for a MySQL Datetime column? – Dev

The best answers to the question “How do you set a default value for a MySQL Datetime column?” in the category Dev.

QUESTION:

How do you set a default value for a MySQL Datetime column?

In SQL Server it’s getdate(). What is the equivalant for MySQL? I’m using MySQL 5.x if that is a factor.

ANSWER:

In version 5.6.5, it is possible to set a default value on a datetime column, and even make a column that will update when the row is updated. The type definition:

CREATE TABLE foo (
    `creation_time`     DATETIME DEFAULT CURRENT_TIMESTAMP,
    `modification_time` DATETIME ON UPDATE CURRENT_TIMESTAMP
)

Reference:
http://optimize-this.blogspot.com/2012/04/datetime-default-now-finally-available.html

ANSWER:

IMPORTANT EDIT:
It is now possible to achieve this with DATETIME fields since MySQL 5.6.5, take a look at the other post below…

Previous versions can’t do that with DATETIME…

But you can do it with TIMESTAMP:

mysql> create table test (str varchar(32), ts TIMESTAMP DEFAULT CURRENT_TIMESTAMP);
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> desc test;
+-------+-------------+------+-----+-------------------+-------+
| Field | Type        | Null | Key | Default           | Extra |
+-------+-------------+------+-----+-------------------+-------+
| str   | varchar(32) | YES  |     | NULL              |       | 
| ts    | timestamp   | NO   |     | CURRENT_TIMESTAMP |       | 
+-------+-------------+------+-----+-------------------+-------+
2 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> insert into test (str) values ("demo");
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> select * from test;
+------+---------------------+
| str  | ts                  |
+------+---------------------+
| demo | 2008-10-03 22:59:52 | 
+------+---------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql>

CAVEAT: IF you define a column with CURRENT_TIMESTAMP ON as default, you will need to ALWAYS specify a value for this column or the value will automatically reset itself to “now()” on update. This means that if you do not want the value to change, your UPDATE statement must contain “[your column name] = [your column name]” (or some other value) or the value will become “now()”. Weird, but true. I am using 5.5.56-MariaDB

ANSWER:

For me the trigger approach has worked the best, but I found a snag with the approach. Consider the basic trigger to set a date field to the current time on insert:

CREATE TRIGGER myTable_OnInsert BEFORE INSERT ON `tblMyTable`
    FOR EACH ROW SET NEW.dateAdded = NOW();

This is usually great, but say you want to set the field manually via INSERT statement, like so:

INSERT INTO tblMyTable(name, dateAdded) VALUES('Alice', '2010-01-03 04:30:43');

What happens is that the trigger immediately overwrites your provided value for the field, and so the only way to set a non-current time is a follow up UPDATE statement–yuck! To override this behavior when a value is provided, try this slightly modified trigger with the IFNULL operator:

CREATE TRIGGER myTable_OnInsert BEFORE INSERT ON `tblMyTable`
    FOR EACH ROW SET NEW.dateAdded = IFNULL(NEW.dateAdded, NOW());

This gives the best of both worlds: you can provide a value for your date column and it will take, and otherwise it’ll default to the current time. It’s still ghetto relative to something clean like DEFAULT GETDATE() in the table definition, but we’re getting closer!

ANSWER:

MySQL (before version 5.6.5) does not allow functions to be used for default DateTime values. TIMESTAMP is not suitable due to its odd behavior and is not recommended for use as input data. (See MySQL Data Type Defaults.)

That said, you can accomplish this by creating a Trigger.

I have a table with a DateCreated field of type DateTime. I created a trigger on that table “Before Insert” and “SET NEW.DateCreated=NOW()” and it works great.

I hope this helps somebody.