Dump a PostgreSQL table as insert statements

FYI: Like the previous post, this is a really quick tip.

This week I’m working closely to the “front-end guy”. Not that I don’t know how to front end, but he is helping me.

We are developing an internal tool, that, for this first version, will use only a few tables of one of our databases.

Doing the “back end” part of it, I created tons of rows in my local database, and, in order to properly test the front end part, the “front end guy” needed some data. He could just create a lot of rows in that table. That would be easy. And boring. And inaccurate.

Dump an entire database is also boring, and usually takes a lot of time. Besides, he only needs one table.

So, I dumped that one table in the form of inserts. pg_dump, with some parameters, can easily do that:

$ pg_dump \
  -h localhost \
  -p 5432 \
  -U user -W \
  --table="table-name" \
  --data-only \
  --column-inserts \
  database-name > table.sql

So, I just had to send him this table.sql file somehow, and he had to execute that SQL file in his database, which can be easily done with the pg command:

$ psql \
  -h localhost \
  -p 5432 \
  -U user \
  database-name \
  -f table.sql

That’s it. A quick and useful tip that I have used many times and will probably use many more.

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