Sql – Getting distinct rows from a left outer join


I am building an application which dynamically generates sql to search for rows of a particular Table (this is the main domain class, like an Employee).

There are three tables Table1, Table2 and Table1Table2Map.
Table1 has a many to many relationship with Table2, and is mapped through Table1Table2Map table. But since Table1 is my main table the relationship is virtually like a one to many.

My app generates a sql which basically gives a result set containing rows from all these tables. The select clause and joins dont change whereas the where clause is generated based on user interaction. In any case I dont want duplicate rows of Table1 in my result set as it is the main table for result display. Right now the query that is getting generated is like this:

select distinct Table1.Id as Id, Table1.Name, Table2.Description from Table1
left outer join Table1Table2Map on (Table1Table2Map.Table1Id = Table1.Id)
left outer join Table2 on (Table2.Id = Table1Table2Map.Table2Id)

For simplicity I have excluded the where clause. The problem is when there are multiple rows in Table2 for Table1 even though I have said distinct of Table1.Id the result set has duplicate rows of Table1 as it has to select all the matching rows in Table2.

To elaborate more, consider that for a row in Table1 with Id = 1 there are two rows in Table1Table2Map (1, 1) and (1, 2) mapping Table1 to two rows in Table2 with ids 1, 2. The above mentioned query returns duplicate rows for this case. Now I want the query to return Table1 row with Id 1 only once. This is because there is only one row in Table2 that is like an active value for the corresponding entry in Table1 (this information is in Mapping table).
Is there a way I can avoid getting duplicate rows of Table1.

I think there is some basic problem in the way I am trying to solve the problem, but I am not able to find out what it is. Thanks in advance.

Best Solution


left outer join (select distinct YOUR_COLUMNS_HERE ...) SUBQUERY_ALIAS on ...

In other words, don't join directly against the table, join against a sub-query that limits the rows you join against.