I am unsure whether this is WordPress specific or perhaps is more associated with mySQL. I'm attempting to discover an amount be came back when the transaction using the database fails. Within the following scenario, I'm upgrading a row. If no values are transformed false is came back. If changes are created true is came back. How do i know if the transaction has unsuccessful?

$result = $wpdb->update($this->table_name, $dbfields, $where);
if($result == false)//do fail - this is not really a fail!
if($result == true)//do success

Any pointers appreciated.

Have a look in wp-includes\wp-db.php. The header comments of wpdb's update function states:

 * @return int|false The number of rows updated, or false on error.

So, I'd suspect that you would like to obtain the distinction between false (a boolean value showing failing) and 0 (an integer showing that no rows were came back.)

Should you compare using ==, false and 0 are equal. You thus want to use the === operator to check on whether you are coping with the boolean false or even the integer 0.

So, try these:

if ($result === false) // Fail -- the "===" operator compares type as well as value
if ($result === 0) // Success, but no rows were updated
if ($result > 0) // Success, and updates were done. $result is the number of affected rows.

See the PHP manual for additional info on the === comparison operator.