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Develop a query exploding values in a column and comparing

I have a table contest_setup and it contains (simplified)


the ContestStartDate column contains dates that a particular contest will run ie:
2013-02-18 00:00:00,2013-02-19 04:00:00,2013-02-20 16:00:00
(this contest would run on 3 different dates for example)

Some rows may contain just one date, others a few like above.

My question is: how can I construct a query to check for all the Contests that may be running on 2013-02-19 (from 00:00:00 to 23:59:59) and arrange them by date/time soonest to latest?

I'm guessing I need to go through the rows that belong to a certain account_id that would be passed to it (for example '17'),

I need to explode the ContestStartDate on the comma and check the values for the date I'm interested in and somehow 'magically' display them earliest to latest.

Can anyone throw me a bone to get going in the right direction? Its beyond my ability currently.
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1 Solution
Ray PaseurCommented:
Make a Google search for "Should I normalize my database" and read the interesting opinions on either side of the idea.  In the instant case, the answer for you is "Yes, I must normalize."  Any column that contains more than one atomic data element is a recipe for catastrophe.  So create a "junction table" to connect your contest_setup table to your contest_dates table.  Put all the dates in a row of the contest_dates table, using the column data type of DATETIME.
tjyoungAuthor Commented:
changed my approach but not sure about the junction table or why to use one?
Here is where I'm at now:

2 tables
contest_setup - id (auto), contestname, account_id
contest_dates - contestsetup_id, contestdate(datetime)

So I'm thinking I would be able to query contests slated for today for example by joining the tables and matching up the id and the contestsetup_id where its todays date and the account_id is 'x'

That right? I wasn't sure how or why you would introduce a junction table.

I haven't got to querying the tables etc. yet so if there is a fatal flaw, I may have just not come across it at this point.
Ray PaseurCommented:
I don't see anything wrong with that design.  You may find that you do not need a junction table and you can just use the JOIN clause.  Be sure to index any columns used in JOIN, just as you would index any columns used in WHERE, and add LIMIT statements if possible.

Best regards, ~Ray
tjyoungAuthor Commented:
very good advice.
Ray PaseurCommented:
Thanks for the points, it's a great question, ~Ray
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