Function and usage of maybe_create_table() in wordpress


Answers ( 1 )


    The maybe_create_table() function in WordPress is a utility function used for database table creation. It's particularly useful for plugin and theme developers who need to ensure that a specific database table exists for their functionality to work properly.

    Function Signature:

    maybe_create_table( string $table_name, string $create_ddl ): bool


    • Purpose: To create a table in the WordPress database if it doesn’t already exist.
    • How it Works: Instead of using MySQL's "IF NOT EXISTS" clause, maybe_create_table() first queries the WordPress database to check if the table is already present. If the table is not found, it executes the provided SQL statement ($create_ddl) to create the table.


    1. $table_name (string, required): The name of the table you want to create. It’s important to ensure that this name is unique within your WordPress database to avoid conflicts.
    2. $create_ddl (string, required): The SQL statement used to create the table. This statement should be a valid SQL CREATE TABLE statement.

    Return Value:

    • bool: Returns true if the table creation is successful or if the table already exists. Returns false if the table creation fails.

    Sample Usage:

    Here's an example of how you might use maybe_create_table() in a WordPress plugin:

    function my_plugin_activate() {
        global $wpdb;
        $table_name = $wpdb->prefix . 'my_custom_table';
        // SQL to create table
        $create_ddl = "
        CREATE TABLE $table_name (
        id mediumint(9) NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
        name tinytext NOT NULL,
        description text NOT NULL,
        PRIMARY KEY  (id)
        // Check and create table if not exists
        require_once(ABSPATH . 'wp-admin/includes/upgrade.php');
        maybe_create_table($table_name, $create_ddl);
    register_activation_hook(__FILE__, 'my_plugin_activate');

    In this example, when the plugin is activated, it calls the my_plugin_activate() function. This function constructs the table name (typically using the WordPress table prefix), defines the SQL for table creation, and then calls maybe_create_table() to create the table if it doesn't exist. The register_activation_hook() function ensures that my_plugin_activate() is called when the plugin is activated.

    Best Practices:

    • Always use the WordPress table prefix ($wpdb->prefix) to avoid table name conflicts.
    • Include the upgrade.php file before calling maybe_create_table() as it contains the necessary function definitions.
    • Use this function within plugin activation hooks or in scenarios where you need to ensure the existence of a database table for your plugin or theme.

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