ON CONFLICT DO UPDATE behavior
Consider the manual here:
For each individual row proposed for insertion, either the insertion
proceeds, or, if an arbiter constraint or index specified by
conflict_target is violated, the alternative
conflict_action is taken.
Bold emphasis mine. So you do not have to repeat predicates for columns included in the unique index in the
WHERE clause to the
INSERT INTO test_upsert AS tu
(name , status, test_field , identifier, count)
VALUES ('shaun', 1 , 'test value', 'ident' , 1)
ON CONFLICT (name, status, test_field) DO UPDATE
SET count = tu.count + 1;
WHERE tu.name = 'shaun' AND tu.status = 1 AND tu.test_field = 'test value'
The unique violation already establishes what your added
WHERE clause would enforce redundantly.
Clarify partial index
WHERE clause to make it an actual partial index like you mentioned yourself (but with inverted logic):
CREATE UNIQUE INDEX test_upsert_partial_idx
ON public.test_upsert (name, status)
WHERE test_field IS NULL; -- not: "is not null"
To use this partial index in your UPSERT you need a matching
conflict_target like @ypercube demonstrates:
ON CONFLICT (name, status) WHERE test_field IS NULL
Now the above partial index is inferred. However, as the manual also notes:
[...] a non-partial unique index (a unique index without a predicate) will
be inferred (and thus used by
ON CONFLICT) if such an index satisfying
every other criteria is available.
If you have an additional (or only) index on just
(name, status) it will (also) be used. An index on
(name, status, test_field) would explicitly not be inferred. This doesn't explain your problem, but may have added to the confusion while testing.
AIUI, none of the above solves your problem, yet. With the partial index, only special cases with matching NULL values would be caught. And other duplicate rows would either be inserted if you have no other matching unique indexes / constraints, or raise an exception if you do. I suppose that's not what you want. You write:
The composite key is made up of 20 columns, 10 of which can be nullable.
What exactly do you consider a duplicate? Postgres (according to the SQL standard) does not consider two NULL values to be equal. The manual:
In general, a unique constraint is violated if there is more than one
row in the table where the values of all of the columns included in
the constraint are equal. However, two null values are never
considered equal in this comparison. That means even in the presence
of a unique constraint it is possible to store duplicate rows that
contain a null value in at least one of the constrained columns. This
behavior conforms to the SQL standard, but we have heard that other
SQL databases might not follow this rule. So be careful when
developing applications that are intended to be portable.
I assume you want
NULL values in all 10 nullable columns to be considered equal.
Update for Postgres 15 or newer
This is simple now. See:
CREATE UNIQUE INDEX test_upsert_solution_idx
ON test_upsert (name, status, test_field) NULLS NOT DISTINCT;
For many columns, the index grows big. To keep the size down and performance up, consider an index on the hash value of the combined columns, see:
Postgres 14 or older
It is elegant & practical to cover a single nullable column with an additional partial index like demonstrated here:
But this gets out of hand quickly for more nullable columns. You'd need a partial index for every distinct combination of nullable columns. For just 2 of those that's 3 partial indexes for
(a,b). The number is growing exponentially with
2^n - 1. For your 10 nullable columns, to cover all possible combinations of NULL values, you'd already need 1023 partial indexes. No go.
The simple solution: replace NULL values and define involved columns
NOT NULL, and everything would work just fine with a simple
If that's not an option I suggest an expression index with
COALESCE to replace NULL in the index:
CREATE UNIQUE INDEX test_upsert_solution_idx
ON test_upsert (name, status, COALESCE(test_field, ''));
The empty string (
'') is an obvious candidate for character types, but you can use any legal value that either never appears or can be folded with NULL according to your definition of "unique".
Then use this statement:
INSERT INTO test_upsert as tu(name,status,test_field,identifier, count)
VALUES ('shaun', 1, null , 'ident', 11) -- works with
, ('bob' , 2, 'test value', 'ident', 22) -- and without NULL
ON CONFLICT (name, status, COALESCE(test_field, '')) DO UPDATE -- match expr. index
SET count = COALESCE(tu.count + EXCLUDED.count, EXCLUDED.count, tu.count);
Like @ypercube I assume you actually want to add
count to the existing
count. Since the column can be NULL, adding NULL would set the column NULL. If you define
count NOT NULL, you can simplify.
Or consider this later, related answer using a hash value for the row:
A different idea would be to just drop the conflict_target from the statement to cover all unique violations. Then you could define various unique indexes for a more sophisticated definition of what's supposed to be "unique". But that won't fly with
ON CONFLICT DO UPDATE. The manual once more:
ON CONFLICT DO NOTHING, it is optional to specify a
conflict_target; when omitted, conflicts with all usable constraints
(and unique indexes) are handled. For
ON CONFLICT DO UPDATE, a
conflict_target must be provided.