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Let's say I'm selling 3 products. I have a products table with id and name (so that table would have 3 entries). I want each product to have a serial number, each independent from one another, but I don't want to create a table for each product as the product count might grow.

How can I achieve this so that the serial number auto increments for each product? I figured I would need some pivot table but that requires me to make 3 pivot tables for each product.

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From here: http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/example-auto-increment.html

For MyISAM and BDB tables you can specify AUTO_INCREMENT on a secondary column in a multiple-column index. In this case, the generated value for the AUTO_INCREMENT column is calculated as MAX(auto_increment_column) + 1 WHERE prefix=given-prefix. This is useful when you want to put data into ordered groups.

CREATE TABLE animals (
    grp ENUM('fish','mammal','bird') NOT NULL,
    id MEDIUMINT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
    name CHAR(30) NOT NULL,
    PRIMARY KEY (grp,id)
) ENGINE=MyISAM;

INSERT INTO animals (grp,name) VALUES
    ('mammal','dog'),('mammal','cat'),
    ('bird','penguin'),('fish','lax'),('mammal','whale'),
    ('bird','ostrich');

SELECT * FROM animals ORDER BY grp,id;

Which returns:

+--------+----+---------+
| grp    | id | name    |
+--------+----+---------+
| fish   |  1 | lax     |
| mammal |  1 | dog     |
| mammal |  2 | cat     |
| mammal |  3 | whale   |
| bird   |  1 | penguin |
| bird   |  2 | ostrich |
+--------+----+---------+

In this case (when the AUTO_INCREMENT column is part of a multiple-column index), AUTO_INCREMENT values are reused if you delete the row with the biggest AUTO_INCREMENT value in any group. This happens even for MyISAM tables, for which AUTO_INCREMENT values normally are not reused.

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