Delete column from SQLite table

I have a problem: I need to delete a column from my SQLite database. I wrote this query

alter table table_name drop column column_name 

but it does not work. Please help me.

Answers


From: http://www.sqlite.org/faq.html:

(11) How do I add or delete columns from an existing table in SQLite.

SQLite has limited ALTER TABLE support that you can use to add a column to the end of a table or to change the name of a table. If you want to make more complex changes in the structure of a table, you will have to recreate the table. You can save existing data to a temporary table, drop the old table, create the new table, then copy the data back in from the temporary table.

For example, suppose you have a table named "t1" with columns names "a", "b", and "c" and that you want to delete column "c" from this table. The following steps illustrate how this could be done:

BEGIN TRANSACTION;
CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE t1_backup(a,b);
INSERT INTO t1_backup SELECT a,b FROM t1;
DROP TABLE t1;
CREATE TABLE t1(a,b);
INSERT INTO t1 SELECT a,b FROM t1_backup;
DROP TABLE t1_backup;
COMMIT;

Instead of dropping the backup table, just rename it...

BEGIN TRANSACTION;
CREATE TABLE t1_backup(a,b);
INSERT INTO t1_backup SELECT a,b FROM t1;
DROP TABLE t1;
ALTER TABLE t1_backup RENAME TO t1;
COMMIT;

For simplicity, why not create the backup table from the select statement?

CREATE TABLE t1_backup AS SELECT a, b FROM t1;
DROP TABLE t1;
ALTER TABLE t1_backup RENAME TO t1;

http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/grass-user/2006-January/031981.html

There is also a tool called Sqliteman which provides visual option to drop columns.

Thanks, Jignesh


=>Create a new table directly with the following query:

CREATE TABLE Table_name (Column_1 text,Column_2 text);

=>Now insert the data into table_name from Existing_table with the following query:

insert into Table_name (Column_1,Column_2) FROM Existing_Table;

=>Now drop the Existing_table by following query:

DROP Existing_Table;

This option works only if you can open the DB in a DB Browser like DB Browser for SQLite.

In DB Browser for SQLite:

  1. Go to the tab, "Database Structure"
  2. Select you table Select Modify table (just under the tabs)
  3. Select the column you want to delete
  4. Click on Remove field and click OK

For SQLite3 c++ :

void GetTableColNames( tstring sTableName , std::vector<tstring> *pvsCols )
{
    UASSERT(pvsCols);

    CppSQLite3Table table1;

    tstring sDML = StringOps::std_sprintf(_T("SELECT * FROM %s") , sTableName.c_str() );



    table1 = getTable( StringOps::tstringToUTF8string(sDML).c_str() );

    for ( int nCol = 0 ; nCol < table1.numFields() ; nCol++ )
    {
        const char* pch1 = table1.fieldName(nCol);  

        pvsCols->push_back( StringOps::UTF8charTo_tstring(pch1));
    }
}


bool ColExists( tstring sColName )
{
    bool bColExists = true;

    try
    {
        tstring sQuery = StringOps::std_sprintf(_T("SELECT %s FROM MyOriginalTable LIMIT 1;") , sColName.c_str() );

        ShowVerbalMessages(false);

        CppSQLite3Query q = execQuery( StringOps::tstringTo_stdString(sQuery).c_str() );

        ShowVerbalMessages(true);
    }
    catch (CppSQLite3Exception& e)
    {
        bColExists = false;
    }

    return bColExists;
}

void DeleteColumns( std::vector<tstring> *pvsColsToDelete )
{
    UASSERT(pvsColsToDelete);

    execDML( StringOps::tstringTo_stdString(_T("begin transaction;")).c_str() );


    std::vector<tstring> vsCols;
    GetTableColNames( _T("MyOriginalTable") , &vsCols );


    CreateFields( _T("TempTable1") , false );

    tstring sFieldNamesSeperatedByCommas;

    for ( int nCol = 0 ; nCol < vsCols.size() ; nCol++ )
    {

        tstring sColNameCurr = vsCols.at(nCol);

        bool bUseCol = true;

        for ( int nColsToDelete = 0; nColsToDelete < pvsColsToDelete->size() ; nColsToDelete++ )
        {
            if ( pvsColsToDelete->at(nColsToDelete) == sColNameCurr )
            {
                bUseCol = false;
                break;
            }
        }

        if ( bUseCol )
            sFieldNamesSeperatedByCommas+= (sColNameCurr + _T(","));

    }

    if ( sFieldNamesSeperatedByCommas.at( int(sFieldNamesSeperatedByCommas.size()) - 1) == _T(','))
        sFieldNamesSeperatedByCommas.erase( int(sFieldNamesSeperatedByCommas.size()) - 1 );

    tstring sDML;


    sDML = StringOps::std_sprintf(_T("insert into TempTable1 SELECT %s FROM MyOriginalTable;\n") , sFieldNamesSeperatedByCommas.c_str() );
    execDML( StringOps::tstringTo_stdString(sDML).c_str() );

    sDML = StringOps::std_sprintf(_T("ALTER TABLE MyOriginalTable RENAME TO MyOriginalTable_old\n") );
    execDML( StringOps::tstringTo_stdString(sDML).c_str() );

    sDML = StringOps::std_sprintf(_T("ALTER TABLE TempTable1 RENAME TO MyOriginalTable\n") );
    execDML( StringOps::tstringTo_stdString(sDML).c_str() );


    sDML = ( _T("DROP TABLE MyOriginalTable_old;") );   
    execDML( StringOps::tstringTo_stdString(sDML).c_str() );


    execDML( StringOps::tstringTo_stdString(_T("commit transaction;")).c_str() );   
}

In case anyone needs a (nearly) ready-to-use PHP function, the following is based on this answer:

/**
 * Remove a column from a table.
 * 
 * @param string $tableName The table to remove the column from.
 * @param string $columnName The column to remove from the table.
 */
public function DropTableColumn($tableName, $columnName)
{
    // --
    // Determine all columns except the one to remove.

    $columnNames = array();

    $statement = $pdo->prepare("PRAGMA table_info($tableName);");
    $statement->execute(array());
    $rows = $statement->fetchAll(PDO::FETCH_OBJ);

    $hasColumn = false;

    foreach ($rows as $row)
    {
        if(strtolower($row->name) !== strtolower($columnName))
        {
            array_push($columnNames, $row->name);
        }
        else
        {
            $hasColumn = true;
        }
    }

    // Column does not exist in table, no need to do anything.
    if ( !$hasColumn ) return;

    // --
    // Actually execute the SQL.

    $columns = implode('`,`', $columnNames);

    $statement = $pdo->exec(
       "CREATE TABLE `t1_backup` AS SELECT `$columns` FROM `$tableName`;
        DROP TABLE `$tableName`;
        ALTER TABLE `t1_backup` RENAME TO `$tableName`;");
}

In contrast to other answers, the SQL used in this approach seems to preserve the data types of the columns, whereas something like the accepted answer seems to result in all columns to be of type TEXT.

Update 1:

The SQL used has the drawback that autoincrement columns are not preserved.


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