Simon Willison’s Weblog

How to number rows in MySQL. MySQL’s user variables can be used to add a “rank” or “row_number” column to a database query that shows the ranking of a row against a specific unique value. This means you can return the first N rows for any given column—for example, given a list of articles return just the first three tags for each article. I’ve recently found myself using this trick for a few different things—once you know it, chances to use it crop up surprisingly often.