8.13.7. LEFT JOIN and RIGHT JOINOptimization

MySQL implements an A LEFT JOIN B join_condition as follows:

The implementation of RIGHT JOIN is analogous to that of LEFT JOIN with the roles of the tables reversed.

The join optimizer calculates the order in which tables should be joined. The table read order forced by LEFT JOIN or STRAIGHT_JOIN helps the join optimizer do its work much more quickly, because there are fewer table permutations to check. Note that this means that if you do a query of the following type, MySQL does a full scan on b because the LEFT JOIN forces it to be read before d:

SELECT *  FROM a JOIN b LEFT JOIN c ON (c.key=a.key)  LEFT JOIN d ON (d.key=a.key)  WHERE b.key=d.key;

The fix in this case is reverse the order in which a and b are listed in the FROM clause:

SELECT *  FROM b JOIN a LEFT JOIN c ON (c.key=a.key)  LEFT JOIN d ON (d.key=a.key)  WHERE b.key=d.key;

For a LEFT JOIN, if the WHERE condition is always false for the generated NULL row, the LEFT JOIN is changed to a normal join. For example, the WHERE clause would be false in the following query if t2.column1 were NULL:

SELECT * FROM t1 LEFT JOIN t2 ON (column1) WHERE t2.column2=5;

Therefore, it is safe to convert the query to a normal join:

SELECT * FROM t1, t2 WHERE t2.column2=5 AND t1.column1=t2.column1;

This can be made faster because MySQL can use table t2 before table t1 if doing so would result in a better query plan. To provide a hint about the table join order, use STRAIGHT_JOIN. (See Section 13.2.9, "SELECT Syntax".)

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