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Using Arel::Nodes::DistinctOn in select with PostgreSQL generates syntax error #302

mxhold opened this Issue Aug 15, 2014 · 1 comment


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mxhold commented Aug 15, 2014

The following select:[:id])).select(
 => "SELECT DISTINCT ON ( \"countries\".\"id\" ), * FROM \"countries\""

results in a syntax error when run:

PG::Error: ERROR:  syntax error at or near ","
LINE 1: SELECT DISTINCT ON ( "countries"."id" ), * FROM "countries"

It works without that comma:"DISTINCT ON ( \"countries\".\"id\" ) *")
  Country Load (4.0ms)  SELECT DISTINCT ON ( "countries"."id" ) * FROM "countries"
 => #<ActiveRecord::Relation [#<Country id: 1, name: "Andorra", iso_abbreviation: "AD">, ... ]>

This happens using Arel and Postgres (14).

Sorry if this is just because I'm not using it right. I haven't found any documentation for using Arel::Nodes::DistinctOn but thought it would be nice to use Arel to do the DISTINCT ON instead of using a string.

@mxhold mxhold changed the title from Using Arel::Nodes::DistinctOn with PostgreSQL generates syntax error to Using Arel::Nodes::DistinctOn in select with PostgreSQL generates syntax error Aug 15, 2014


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mxhold commented Aug 30, 2014

After a little investigation, I confirmed that this is just because I was using it wrong.

By including it in the select, it was getting added to the projections just like a normal column select which is why it was getting joined with the comma. I didn't notice it then but that also meant it wouldn't get put in the first position like a normal DISTINCT.

As far as I can tell, there is no way to use Arel::Nodes::DistinctOn by building a query from a Table. Instead you have to manually build up the select statement and set the quantifier like this:

select_statement =
select_statement.cores.first.set_quantifier =[:id])
select_statement.cores.first.projections <<
# => "SELECT DISTINCT ON ( \"countries\".\"id\" ) *"

This is not the most convenient but it works.

I think it would be nice to be able to set the DISTINCT ON in a similar way to setting a normal DISTINCT. Something like:

table =
# => "SELECT DISTINCT ON ( \"users\".\"id\" ) * FROM \"users\""

I will add a pull request that implements this.

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