I was faced with a field in the database that had a comma separated list of INT’s with a space after the comma. The application searched this field to generate the recordset to display on a web page.

First I tried using LIKE, with something along this line: ($state_id is being passed by PHP)

    `assoc_states` LIKE '%$state_id%';

Well, as you can guess if I was searching for an INT less than two numbers I would get anything that had that digit in it. (Ex. – Searching for ‘%4%’ would also give me entries of 4, 14, 24, 34, 42, 44, etc.)

I may have been able to use RLIKE, but I didn’t fully understand it and there were no good examples of doing what I needed.

That was when I stumbled across FIND_IN_SET. Here is what has to say about it:

Returns a value in the range of 1 to N if the string str is in the string list strlist consisting of N substrings. A string list is a string composed of substrings separated by “,” characters. If the first argument is a constant string and the second is a column of type SET, the FIND_IN_SET() function is optimized to use bit arithmetic. Returns 0 if str is not in strlist or if strlist is the empty string. Returns NULL if either argument is NULL. This function does not work properly if the first argument contains a comma (“,”) character.

// output -> 2

Here is what I ended up with: ($state_id is being passed by PHP)

    FIND_IN_SET('$state_id', `assoc_state`) > 0;

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Application Architect from Florida

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