I am in the same case discussed on https://stackoverflow.com/questions/11709043/mysql-update-column-with-value-from-another-table, that is, I need to copy the value of a column from tableA to tableB based on a common column in each table.

I have used the suggested code inside of PHPMyAdmin, and it works perfectly:

SET TableB.value = (
    SELECT TableA.value 
    FROM TableA
    WHERE TableA.name = TableB.name

My problem is that I have been unable to translate this into something that I can use inside of my mod_xxx.php file. On the same Stack Overflow page, there is a suggested code that uses mysql_query and supposedly works, but Joomla doesn´t accept it. I know that any code has to be translated to Joomla's coding standards but I have spent three complete days trying it with no success.

I have tried the following code unsuccessfully:

$db = JFactory::getDBO();
$query = $db->getQuery(true);
$query ->UPDATE ('#__gruposlocales')
       ->SET ('#__gruposlocales.name') =
             (SELECT ('#__community_groups.name')
              FROM ('#__community_groups')
              WHERE ('#__community_groups.ownerid = #__gruposlocales.id'));
$result = $db->execute(); 

As you may guess, I am not knowledgeable on PHP coding, so I am in serious need of your help, please. My question is how can I translate the upper code into something that Joomla will take?

  • Are you trying to execute it as a raw sql query or build it using the query builder? You should be able to run it like this if you know that it works in phpmyadmin $db->setQuery($your_sql); $result = $db->execute(); Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 21:18
  • Thank you, James. I have tried the following code unsuccessfully: $db = JFactory::getDBO(); $query = $db->getQuery(true); $query ->UPDATE ('#__gruposlocales') ->SET ('#__gruposlocales.name') = (SELECT ('#__community_groups.name') FROM ('#__community_groups') WHERE ('#__community_groups.ownerid = #__gruposlocales.id')); $db->setQuery($query); $result = $db->execute(); Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 3:20

2 Answers 2


You can do the following:

$db = JFactory::getDbo();
$sql = "UPDATE TableB SET TableB.value = (SELECT TableA.value FROM TableA WHERE TableA.name = TableB.name);
  • The common column is id/ownerid, not name. And since this problem can be confusing, I'll try to clarify it a little further. TableB = josok_gruposlocales ; colum to update= name Table A= josok_community_groups ; colum to be copied= name Primary key= id ; foreign key= ownerid lab.latinface.com/images/photos/567/1/Problem-TableA&B.jpg TableB was updated from inside phpmyAdmin using the upper code that uses #__tablenames. But when I try to translate it into terms of $query and #__tablaname to be used inside of the mod_module.php I am creating, the update does not happen. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 19:20
  • 1
    mr octopus meant to write: "$db->setQuery($sql); " If you have a query that works in phpmyadmin then you can assign the raw query to $sql and it should work. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 22:17
  • @jamesgarrett Correct! Sorry the query was updated.
    – itoctopus
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 22:24
  • Am I doing something wrong? $db = JFactory::getDbo(); $sql = "UPDATE josok_gruposlocales SET josok_gruposlocales.name = ( SELECT josok_community_groups.name FROM josok_community_groups WHERE josok_community_groups.ownerid = josok_gruposlocales.id )"; $db->setQuery($sql); $db->execute(); Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 23:10
  • 1
    I know what happened. This is surely a beginner's mistake but telling about it could be useful for somebody else. The code is not executed as I save my mod_module.php file but when a user logs in and the mod_module is loaded. Thanks again and I am sorry for my lack of expertise. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 16:34

Joomla should be able to understand this... You must let Joomla's query building functions render the "child query"/subquery before placing it inside of the "parent query"/main query.

Here are some other answers of mine that may prove helpful while writing/testing your own query:

Code: (untested)

$subquery = $db->getQuery(true)
    ->from("#__community_groups AS cg")
    ->where("cg.ownerid = gl.id");

$query = $db->getQuery(true)
    ->update("#__gruposlocales AS gl")
    ->set("gl.name = ({$subquery})");


I am deliberately omitting all quoting techniques in my answer because they are unnecessary fir stability/security in this snippet and would only serve to make the snippet more difficult to read.

As for discussions on how/when/why to quote query entities, how to view the rendered query with dump(), how to write a try{}catch{} block to aid in debugging, and how to check for affected rows -- please see my other mysql-tagged answers in this community.

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