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I'd like to run a SQL query via cron. I figured I'd create a .sql file and call it from a script that I place in the cron folder. The query is relatively large and not written by me, so I'd prefer to not have to re-create it in PHP.

Can anyone provide some assistance? I am not exactly clear on how to run the SQL query from the script. Thanks in advance.

EDIT: Just for some background info, the query is intended to grab data from multiple tables and organize it in a csv file.

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Each database has a command line client tool

For MySQL, see man mysql

comand to add in cron something like this

cat /dir/query.sql|mysql database -u user -ppass >result

For PHP you can use file IO to read query, after that use string variable instead of the query in your requests.

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What is the reason for cat and >result? – Nick Jul 26 '11 at 0:58
cat send file to stdout. after that pipe send all that to mysql clietn like u do when type that using keyboard. >result mean send output to file "result". better use full path. see bash-shell articles for farther understanding. – arheops Jul 26 '11 at 1:17
The SQL query that I'm running exports to a .csv file and takes about 5 minutes to complete. When I used your command, it finished immediately and the result file had the man mysql page in it. Something is not working properly. – Nick Jul 26 '11 at 2:12
@arheops: Wouldn't mysql database -u user -ppass </dir/query.sql >result work as well? :) – Janne Pikkarainen Jul 26 '11 at 6:50
sure. but i see no real difference in it. it is just other notation ;) – arheops Jul 26 '11 at 12:15
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The solution I ended up using was to put the query in a "here document". This bash script was then implemented with cron. For more information, check out this link:

And just in case that link goes dead, here's a snippet of the sample code:

#! /usr/bin/env bash
# execute some bash scripting commands here

mysql mydatabase <<SQL_ENTRY_TAG_1
  FROM mytable 
  WHERE somecondition='somevalue';

# execute other bash scripting commands here

mysql mydatabase <<SQL_ENTRY_TAG_2
  FROM myothertable
  WHERE someothercondition='someothervalue';
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