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Is there a name for this database structure?

The Entity Attribute Value (EAV) pattern usually has three columns: foreign key, attribute, and value. Attributes of data are stored in rows instead of columns. This avoids the need to add a new column to a table whenever a new attribute needs to be stored.

Though I often see the EAV pattern, I rarely feel like it was a good choice.

When is the EAV pattern the correct solution? When is it the wrong solution?

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  • I think you are referring to the Entity Attribute Value (EAV) pattern. As a rule it should be avoided. – JNK Aug 8 '12 at 15:52
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    Does this help? dba.stackexchange.com/a/20763/180 – Derek Downey Aug 8 '12 at 15:59
  • @DTest Yeah I just found that too. I guess that renders my question useless. – user10719 Aug 8 '12 at 16:01
  • @JustinY I closed this as a duplicate, then. If you have a question on anything about this topic that ISN'T covered in the other Q, feel free to post a new question about it though! – JNK Aug 8 '12 at 16:03