> I want to store the results of a multiple select input box in a mysql
> db.

Store each possible selection as a different record in a separate table and
then create a three-table join for which selections match which "main"

You'll be tearing your hair out for the rest of time otherwise.

Here's what I mean:

Assume table "foo" is what you have right now, and you've been trying to
stuff things into "lists_actual" (that is you, isn't it?) for the names
selected.  Do this instead:


create table foo(
    foo_id int(11) auto_increment not null primay key,
    foo text
insert into foo(foo) values('Foo 1');
insert into foo(foo) values('Foo 2');

create table name(
    name_id int(11) auto_increment not null primary key,
    name text
insert into name(name) values('a');
insert into name(name) values('b');
insert into name(name) values('c');
insert into name(name) values('d');
insert into name(name) values('e');

create table foo_name(
    foo_id int(11),
    name_id int(11)

    if (!isset($foo_id)){
        $query = "select foo_id, foo from foo";
        $foos = mysql_query($query) or die(mysql_error());
        while (list($foo_id, $foo) = mysql_fetch_row($foos)){
            echo "<A HREF=$PHP_SELF?foo_id=$foo_id>$foo</A><BR>\n";
    if (isset($names)){
        $query = "delete from foo_name where foo_id = $foo_id";
        mysql_query($query) or die(mysql_error());
        while (list($name_id, $name) = each($names)){
            $query = "insert into foo_name (foo_id, name_id) values($foo_id,
            mysql_query($query) or die(mysql_error());
    $query = "select foo_id, foo from foo where foo_id = $foo_id";
    $foos = mysql_query($query) or die(mysql_error());
    list($foo_id, $foo) = mysql_fetch_row($foos);
    echo $foo, "<BR>\n";
    <INPUT TYPE=HIDDEN NAME=foo_id VALUE=<?php echo $foo_id;?>>
            # It is CRITICAL that the two ORDER BY clauses match!
            # So you can run through the records "in parallel"

            $query = "select name_id, name from name order by name";
            $allnames = mysql_query($query) or die(mysql_error());

            $query = "select name.name_id from foo_name, name ";
            $query .= " where foo_id = $foo_id ";
            $query .= "   and foo_name.name_id = name.name_id ";
            $query .= " order by name ";
            $selected_names = mysql_query($query) or die(mysql_error());

            # We'll run through TWO result sets "in parallel"
            # Advancing the "selected" names only when we have a "match":
            $selected_row = 0;
            while (list($name_id, $name) = mysql_fetch_row($allnames)){
                if ($name_id == mysql_result($selected_names, $selected_row,
                    $selected = 'SELECTED';
                    $selected = '';
                echo "<OPTION VALUE=$name_id $selected>$name</OPTION>\n";

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