SQL merge duplicate rows and join values that are different

I have a table with films and the dates they were shown on along with other info in other columns, in MySQL

So relevant columns are...

FilmID FilmName DateShown

The dates are stored as Unix timestamps.

I currently have multiple instances of films that were shown on different dates yet all other information is the same. So I want to merge rows where the FilmName is the same but the DateShown is different, and join the DateShown fields into a comma separated list.

I've searched but struggled to find this exact query. Is it possible?

Also is it bad form in terms of database design to store the timestamps as a comma separated list?



Bad practice to use comma separated lists. You can read documentation about database normalization.


<strong>Comma-separated lists have a lot practical problems</strong>:

    <li>Can’t ensure that each value is the right data type: no way to prevent 1,2,3,banana,5</li> <li>Can’t use foreign key constraints to link values to a lookup table; no way to enforce referential integrity.</li> <li>Can’t enforce uniqueness: no way to prevent 1,2,3,3,3,5</li> <li>Can’t delete a value from the list without fetching the whole list.</li> <li>Can't store a list longer than what fits in the string column.</li> <li>Hard to search for all entities with a given value in the list; you have to use an inefficient table-scan. May have to resort to regular expressions, for example in MySQL: idlist REGEXP '[[:<:]]2[[:>:]]'</li> <li>Hard to count elements in the list, or do other aggregate queries.</li> <li>Hard to join the values to the lookup table they reference.</li> <li>Hard to fetch the list in sorted order.</li> <li>Storing integers as strings takes about twice as much space as storing binary integers. Not to mention the space taken by the comma characters.</li> </ul> <hr>

    But If you need It for any case, you could use something like that:

    SELECT FilmID, FilmName, Id = REPLACE( ( SELECT DateShown AS [data()] FROM YourTable WHERE FilmID = a.FilmID ORDER BY FilmName FOR XML PATH('')), ' ', ',' ) FROM YourTable a WHERE FilmName IS NOT NULL GROUP BY FilmID, FilmName

    More about Comma-Separated lists


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