Create test databases in MySQL

Sometimes you need to create some database on a development MySQL server, to run some tests on, and you want to populate it with many records, to make your tests more meaningful. This document lists a couple of quick and dirty ways that I use to achieve that.

Using /usr/share/dict/words

On most Linux distributions, there is a file at /usr/share/dict/words which simply contains a list of words, each on a separate line. On my Linux Mint 15 installation, I count more than 99000 lines. The following commands will put those words in a table called words, in a database called test, one word per table row.

Create the table:

mysql> CREATE TABLE words (id INT AUTO_INCREMENT, word VARCHAR(256));

Populate the table with the words. I 'm using double quotes to wrap the words, since many of them already contain a single quote:

while read word; do mysql test -e "INSERT INTO words (word) VALUES (\"$word\")"; done < /usr/share/dict/words

Using /var/log/messages

I have also used the contents of /var/log/messages to populate a table, and that is documented in the blog post How to create a large MySQL database for tests. That is a painfully slow method, but can create tables that are many GigaBytes in size, which might be necessary for some tests.