[SQL] Pick random rows from SELECT?

Discussion in 'Python' started by Gilles Ganault, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. Hello

    I have a working Python script that SELECTs rows from a database to
    fetch a company's name from a web-based database.

    Since this list is quite big and the site is the bottleneck, I'd like
    to run multiple instances of this script, and figured a solution would
    be to pick rows at random from the dataset, check in my local database
    if this item has already been taken care of, and if not, download
    details from the remote web site.

    If someone's done this before, should I perform the randomization in
    the SQL query (SQLite using the APSW wrapper
    http://code.google.com/p/apsw/), or in Python?

    Thank you.

    Here's some simplified code:

    sql = 'SELECT id,label FROM companies WHERE activity=1'
    for row in rows:
    id = row[0]
    label = row[1]

    print strftime("%H:%M")
    url = "http://www.acme.com/details.php?id=%s" % id
    req = urllib2.Request(url, None, headers)
    response = urllib2.urlopen(req).read()

    name = re_name.search(response)
    if name:
    name = name.group(1)
    sql = 'UPDATE companies SET name=? WHERE id=?'
    cursor.execute(sql, (name,id) )
    Gilles Ganault, Sep 21, 2009
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  2. Gilles Ganault

    Peter Otten Guest

    I don't think you need to randomize the requests. Instead you could control
    a pool of worker processes using


    Peter Otten, Sep 21, 2009
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  3. You really think making MULTIPLE, overlapping requests to a web site
    is going to be more efficient than just suffering the single transfer
    time of one large query?
    Pardon, I thought you implied the bottleneck is the web-site
    database -- I'd worry about any web-site that exposes a file-server
    based database to direct user access.
    Ah... You mean you are retrieving the names from a local database,
    and then requesting web-site details based upon that name.

    No matter how you look at it, you appear to want to process the
    entire local list of companies... Multiple randomized local queries will
    just add to the final run-time as you start to get duplicates -- and
    have to reject that one to query for another random name.

    I'd suggest either a pool of threads -- 5-10, each reading company
    names from a shared QUEUE, which is populated by the main thread
    (remember to commit() so that you don't block on database updates by the
    threads). OR... determine how many companies there are, and start
    threads feeding them <start> and <length> (length being #names /
    #threads, round up -- start then being 0*length+1, 1*length+1, etc...)
    and use those in thread specific selects using "... limit <length>
    offset <start>"... This way each thread retrieves its own limited set of
    companies (make sure to use the same sorting criteria).
    Dennis Lee Bieber, Sep 22, 2009
  4. Thanks for the help :)
    Gilles Ganault, Sep 23, 2009
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