Postgresql – Insert, on duplicate update in PostgreSQL

postgresqlupsert

Several months ago I learned from an answer on Stack Overflow how to perform multiple updates at once in MySQL using the following syntax:

INSERT INTO table (id, field, field2) VALUES (1, A, X), (2, B, Y), (3, C, Z)
ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE field=VALUES(Col1), field2=VALUES(Col2);

I've now switched over to PostgreSQL and apparently this is not correct. It's referring to all the correct tables so I assume it's a matter of different keywords being used but I'm not sure where in the PostgreSQL documentation this is covered.

To clarify, I want to insert several things and if they already exist to update them.

Best Solution

PostgreSQL since version 9.5 has UPSERT syntax, with ON CONFLICT clause. with the following syntax (similar to MySQL)

INSERT INTO the_table (id, column_1, column_2) 
VALUES (1, 'A', 'X'), (2, 'B', 'Y'), (3, 'C', 'Z')
ON CONFLICT (id) DO UPDATE 
  SET column_1 = excluded.column_1, 
      column_2 = excluded.column_2;

Searching postgresql's email group archives for "upsert" leads to finding an example of doing what you possibly want to do, in the manual:

Example 38-2. Exceptions with UPDATE/INSERT

This example uses exception handling to perform either UPDATE or INSERT, as appropriate:

CREATE TABLE db (a INT PRIMARY KEY, b TEXT);

CREATE FUNCTION merge_db(key INT, data TEXT) RETURNS VOID AS
$$
BEGIN
    LOOP
        -- first try to update the key
        -- note that "a" must be unique
        UPDATE db SET b = data WHERE a = key;
        IF found THEN
            RETURN;
        END IF;
        -- not there, so try to insert the key
        -- if someone else inserts the same key concurrently,
        -- we could get a unique-key failure
        BEGIN
            INSERT INTO db(a,b) VALUES (key, data);
            RETURN;
        EXCEPTION WHEN unique_violation THEN
            -- do nothing, and loop to try the UPDATE again
        END;
    END LOOP;
END;
$$
LANGUAGE plpgsql;

SELECT merge_db(1, 'david');
SELECT merge_db(1, 'dennis');

There's possibly an example of how to do this in bulk, using CTEs in 9.1 and above, in the hackers mailing list:

WITH foos AS (SELECT (UNNEST(%foo[])).*)
updated as (UPDATE foo SET foo.a = foos.a ... RETURNING foo.id)
INSERT INTO foo SELECT foos.* FROM foos LEFT JOIN updated USING(id)
WHERE updated.id IS NULL;

See a_horse_with_no_name's answer for a clearer example.