I am trying to get a query to retrieve all the posts where a specific
meta_key does not exist and then create it.
I am having problems finding those posts as the query I am testing does not seem to work.
Here is the code I am using to try to get those posts:
$args = array( 'posts_per_page' => 18, 'cat'=>1955, 'post_status'=>'publish', 'meta_query' => array( array( 'key' => 'colors', 'compare' => 'NOT EXISTS' ), )); query_posts($args);
This returns nothing if there are no posts with the key
colors, but returns they
ids of the posts with the key
colors whenever that key is present (the opposite of what I need). I tried with
EXIST instead but no luck.
If someone can tip me on the correct way of creating a query like the one I need I will appreciate it.
I did some more testing with this, and honestly can’t find a reason it wouldn’t work (unless the code above is just a snippet and the real code fits on my examples below). I did, however, discover a couple of things that might lead you in the right direction.
1) By itself, this meta query is the equivalent of “colors IS NULL”, i.e. it’ll return the posts which don’t have that key set in the postmeta table. This is the case shown above, and it should’ve worked.
'meta_query' => array( array( 'key' => 'colors', 'compare' => 'NOT EXISTS' // this should work... ), )
2) Prior to WordPress 3.9, establishing the ‘relation’ index to ‘OR’ changes this condition. It returns the opposite. Don’t ask me why. This is especially important when doing multiple meta queries. That means that is not initially possible to do a query for posts that have ‘colors’ key set to ‘blue’ (or whatever) or not set at all. The query below will ignore the first condition and return only those that match the second condition.
'meta_query' => array( 'relation' => 'OR', array( 'key' => 'colors', 'compare' => 'NOT EXISTS' // doesn't work ), array( 'key' => 'colors', 'value' => 'blue' ) )
3) However, we can fool WordPress into using the first condition if we set the ‘value’. It doesn’t need a relevant value (it’s ignored, as far as I know), but it needs to be set in order for the
NOT EXISTS condition to have any effect.
'meta_query' => array( 'relation' => 'OR', array( 'key' => 'colors', 'compare' => 'NOT EXISTS', // works! 'value' => '' // This is ignored, but is necessary... ), array( 'key' => 'colors', 'value' => 'blue' ) )
This was true up until WordPress 3.9. If you’re still using an older version, this is a viable workaround.