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Querying a repater field where a value is NOT inside any repater-entry

  • Hi,

    I found out by looking at other topics here how to meta_query a repeater-field for a given value. Now I’m trying to do the opposite: Get all posts, where a given value is not inside any repeater field. Simply setting the operator to != doesn’t work (obviously), as long there is at least one repeater field entry which isn’t the value.

    Is there any way to achive this inside a single wp_query? I thought about getting all posts first and filter afterwards, but was wondering, if there is an easier way to achieve this.

    Any hint would be great, even a simple “Nope, not possible” would help.

    Thanks and regards, Christian

  • Okay, here is something I found out, which is working for my use case and might be helpful as a starting point for someone in the future. There might be better and more elegant ways to do this, but at least it does the trick in some cases.

    Background: I use a post_relation field (among other) inside a repeater field and want to query all posts, which do not have a relation to one or more given post ids. As an example: I query posts of a post_type ‘recipe’ and want to get all posts (=recipes) which dont have a relation to some ingredients (‘ingredient’ is a post_type as well). The repeater field is named ‘ingredients’ and the relation field inside the repeater is called ‘ingredient’.

    I build my wp_query step by step: standard query_args, meta_query_args and so on. Then I have an array of unwanted recipes. If this array is set (has values) I build a subquery and simply attach it at the end of the where clause (maybe not the best spot in regards to performance?). All of this happens in a closure (also, maybe not the best way to do this?).

    if ( isset( $without_ingredients ) ) {
    			add_filter ('posts_where', function($where) use ($without_ingredients) {
    				global $wpdb;
    				$sql_in_no_repeater_extension = " AND $wpdb->prefix" . "posts.ID NOT IN (SELECT post_id FROM $wpdb->prefix" . "postmeta WHERE meta_key LIKE 'ingredients_%_ingredient' AND meta_value in (" . implode (',', $without_ingredients). "))";
    				return $where . $sql_in_no_repeater_extension;

    What the simple subquery does, is getting the post id of all posts, having one of the uwanted post (ingredient) ids inside their ‘ingredients’-repeater subfields. Then these ids get removed from the original query.

    So, maybe this helps someone sometime. If anyone has a hint how to do this better, I’d realy appreciate to read them.

  • I gave this some thought when you first posted it, but could not thing of a way to do this then. I can’t say if the way your doing it is efficient or not, but reading it gave me an idea for the only way that it might be done using only wp_query.

    First do a query to find any post that has that post ID, then do a query to get any post not in that list

    // your original query args created before here
    $result = new WP_Query($args);
    $post__not_in = array();
    if (count($result->posts)) {
      $post__not_in = wp_list_pluck($results->posts, 'ID');
    // args for new query
    $args = array(
      'post_type' => 'your-post-type',
      'posts_per_page' => -1,
      'post__not_in' => $posts__not_in
    $final_results = new WP_Query($args);
  • Thanks John! Why didn’t think of this? It’s straight forward and so much easier to understand then what I did.

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