I want to create a database that tracks different projects and their finances. As finances are tracked monthly, a new column has to be created for each month. I could create all tables together at the start, yeah, but I guess it would be bad development strategy. Also I would be guessing the number of months. I will be creating an application to monitor those projects (like graphs and such)... so maybe I could code the program to do it at regular intervals.

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    a new column has to be created for each month -- why? This really sounds like you've got it designed wrong. The date itself should be a column, and multiple rows (one for each date) rather than one column for each date. – user40980 Aug 7 '13 at 14:51
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  • its not multiple columns for dates....we will store data about the finance for Some 600 projects in that column....like project A month Y amnt M project B month Y amnt N project C month Y amnt L....etc hope you get the msg! :) – Kinda New Aug 7 '13 at 14:55
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    We get the message, but you should really post your data model here; perhaps draw.io can help, @MichaelT is right, you have your model wrong. What database server are you using? Is this by chance an access database? – Jimmy Hoffa Aug 7 '13 at 15:09
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    @MarjanVenema it just sounds like access may be the tool in use, and if so we can solve two problems here: Help him get the design right and instruct him to not use access – Jimmy Hoffa Aug 7 '13 at 17:35

Your problem is solved by not adding columns at run-time. You need to apply normalization.

You use two tables:

  1. PROJECTS containing a PROJECT_ID field (generated ID, guaranteed unique and unchanging)
  2. PROJECT_FINANCES containing PROJECT_ID (foreign key), PERIOD (date), AMOUNT (number)

Each time you have a new month, you add rows for each project to the PROJECT_FINANCES table. No need to add tables or columns in production.

  • +1 - Good answer to the problem of trying to store data the same way it is used in the application from a visual perspective. – JeffO Aug 7 '13 at 18:34

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