bluewater_sailor bluewater_sailor - 16 days ago 7x
MySQL Question

Mapping PHP associative arrays into PDO prepared statements

I'm doing some cleanup and transformation on data (that part is done, whew), and need to insert it into a MySQL table. Having done this kind of thing in Perl previously, I assumed that, as part of processing, it would make sense for me to structure the data as an associative array with the keys being the same as the field names I need to load them into - that way, it would be easy to construct a prepared statement simply by looping over the keys and producing a list of both the named placeholders and the matching values.

However, I can't seem to make this work in PHP/PDO. Test code:

$x = <<<EOD
1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3 3
4 4 4 4 4

$fields = array('name', 'job', 'wallet_size', 'inseam', 'pet_name');
foreach(explode("\n", $x) as $line){
$data = array_combine($fields, explode(' ', $line));

# print_r($data);

$stmt = $dbh->prepare('INSERT INTO foobar VALUES('.':'.implode(', :', $fields));

foreach($fields as $field){
$stmt->bindParam(':'.$field, $data[$field]);

Frankly, it feels too... graceless and hacky to work - and it doesn't.

Fatal error: Uncaught exception 'PDOException' with message 'SQLSTATE[42000]: Syntax error or access violation: 1064 You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near '' at line 1' in tst.php:24

There is a correct way to do this, right? I'd appreciate it if someone would introduce me to the appropriate PHP-flavored phrasing for it.


It's hard to debug SQL when you're staring at the PHP code that formats SQL, instead of the final SQL string itself. I suggest you always create a string variable so you can output it during debugging.

$sql = 'INSERT INTO foobar VALUES('.':'.implode(', :', $fields);
echo "$sql\n";
$stmt = $dbh->prepare($sql);


INSERT INTO foobar VALUES(:name, :job, :wallet_size, :inseam, :pet_name

Now it's very easy to see that you forgot the closing ) at the end of that INSERT statement!

Also, your use of PDO is more difficult than it needs to be. You don't need to use named parameters. You don't need to use bindParam(). Here's how I would write this code:

$fields = array('name', 'job', 'wallet_size', 'inseam', 'pet_name');

$columns = implode(',', $fields);
$placeholders = implode(',', array_fill(1, count($fields), '?'));
$sql = "INSERT INTO foobar ($columns) VALUES ($placeholders)";
echo "$sql\n"; // use this during debugging
$stmt = $dbh->prepare($sql);

foreach(explode("\n", $x) as $line){
    $param_values = explode(' ', $line);


  • Prepare the query once, and re-use the prepared statement for each row of data you want to insert.
  • Pass an array of data values as an argument to execute(). This is easier than using bindParam().
  • Use positional parameter placeholders (?) instead of named parameter placeholders when your data is in a simple array instead of an associative array.