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MySQL Search column – optional

I’m writing a PHP function which will search for user. lastname, firstname, location etc.

In my SQL command, I’m doing the following in my where clause AND `lastname` LIKE CONCAT(‘%’, ? , ‘%’)

The question is, if the user doesn’t use Last Name field in the search form it’s looking for an empty string. I want to disregard this if not used. 

How can I do this?

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@markwilliams21Jun 18.2024 — To disregard the lastname field in your SQL query if it is not used, you can dynamically build your SQL query based on the provided search parameters. Here's a PHP function that demonstrates how you can achieve this:

Here's a breakdown of what this function does:

1. Initialize the base query: The query starts with SELECT * FROM users WHERE 1=1. The 1=1 condition is always true and is a common trick to simplify adding subsequent AND conditions.
2. Check each parameter: For each potential search parameter (firstname, lastname, location), the function checks if it is not empty.
3. Build the query dynamically: If a parameter is provided (i.e., it is not empty), the corresponding AND clause is added to the query, and the parameter value is added to the $params array.
4. Prepare and execute the statement: The final query is prepared and executed using PDO, with the parameters passed in the correct order.
5. Fetch and return results: The results are fetched and returned as an associative array.

This approach ensures that if a user does not provide a value for lastname (or any other field), that condition is simply not included in the final SQL query, avoiding any issues with searching for an empty string.


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