Dr. Unknown, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the NULL

9 Comments
Two months ago, I posted the first two parts of a series about NULL. After that, I went quiet. Much to do and little time was one excuse. But to be honest, I also lost interest. However, I felt I owe my readers to conclude the series, so I have now forced myself to write and publish the last parts before moving on to more interesting subjects J.   Before reading on, I suggest that you first read (or reread) the first and second part of this series, so that we’re all on the same level again.   Finished reading?…
Read More

Upcoming speaking events

4 Comments
I know I’ve been neglecting my blog lately, but I at least have a valid excuse this time. Four weeks ago, I received two emails on a single day, both inviting me to speak at two different Dutch events that will be held in the same week.   I replied “yes” to both mails, and since have been preparing my sessions. For those readers who would like to catch me speaking, I’ll give the details below.   For the “Software Developer Conference 2007”, to be held in Arnhem, the Netherlands on the 17th and 18th of September, I’ll deliver two…
Read More

A Better Developer in 6 months? Deal!

It’s all the fault of Denis Gobo. He tagged me, and now I feel obliged to publish my plans for the last half of 2007 as well. I am not quite as ambitious as Denis, though.   My first commitment Like Denis, I will read more technical books. I have a huge stack of unread books on my desk, that I will try to finish. Here are the books, in planned reading order: Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2005: T-SQL Programming, by Itzik Ben-Gan. A Developer’s Guide to SQL Server 2005, by Bob Beachemin and Dan Sullivan. MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit…
Read More

The logic of three-valued logic

In my previous post, I explained what NULL does and does not mean, how and why the rule of NULL propagation forces any expression involving NULL to result in NULL. I also mentioned that comparisons involving NULL do not result in NULL but, rather, in a new “truth value” called “Unknown”. But there’s a lot more to be written about Unknown and it’s effect on logical expressions, and that’s exactly what this blog post (and the next one as well) will be about.   Most software developers will be intimately familiar with what is popularly known as Boolean logic but…
Read More

NULL – The database’s black hole

I once read a scientific article on black holes that started of on the observation that, since a hole is the absence of anything and black is invisible in space, a black hole is in fact an invisible nothing – so what the heck are we talking about? Well, almost the same can be said about NULL in databases.   Let’s first take a look at what NULL is supposed to be. Here is the definition of NULL from the SQL-2003 standard:               null value: A special value that is used to indicate the absence of any data value.…
Read More

The Bounding Box, corrected version

In a previous posting, I explained a minor problem in the “Bounding Box” and “Dynamic Bounding Box” algorithms I describe in chapter 9 of Adam Machanic’s book Expert SQL Server 2005 Development. In short, the problem is that I calculated the boundaries of the search area just a tiny bit too small, introducing a (very small) chance of relevant data not being found. I also presented a quick and dirty fix that basically works by deliberately making the search area too big, sacrificing (a small bit of) performance for correctness. And I promised to keep trying to find a better…
Read More

Going to Dublin

I still lack the time to blog about proper hardcore SQL stuff, but I do want to make a quick post to let you all know about a great conference that I’ll be attending and speaking at.   I’m talking about the Irish Microsoft Technology Conference, to be held in Dublin, Ireland later this week (June 7th, to be precise). I am particularly excited about this conference, not only because it marks my first speaking engagement outside the Netherlands, but also because (unlike some other conferences I have attended) there is actually a pretty decent number of SQL Server related…
Read More

Correcting my mistake

Probably the worst thing that can happen to a budding technical book author, is to find an error, even if it’s a minor one, in the submitted material just after the deadline for corrections closes. Figures that it should happen to me, eh?   Back in November last year, Adam Machanic asked me to contribute a chapter on spatial data for his book, Expert SQL Server 2005 Development. I have cursed myself for accepting his proposal several times, but I must admit that now all the hard work is done and the book has finally hit the shelves, I am…
Read More

Can you trust your constraints?

SQL Server allows you to temporarily disable your CHECK and FOREIGN KEY constraints. I would not recommend this as part of your regular production schedule, but there are certainly cases where this comes in handy.   One example is if you’re copying thousands of rows from another table, and you already know with 100% certainty that the data doesn’t violate any constraint. The overhead of checking could impact performance of your process; in the worst case making the execution time exceed your maintenance window. Disabling the constraints can result in a tremendous reduction of execution time.   Another example would…
Read More

Back with a vengeance!

It’s been quite a while since my last blog post. Almost three months, in fact. In case you have been wondering if I was ill, dead, or abducted by aliens – not at all. The reality was far worse: Adam Machanic has coerced me into contributing a chapter on spatial data for his excellent book “Expert SQL Server 2005 Development”, due out in May (rather than the original plan to ship in March, possibly due to a certain author of a certain chapter not meeting any of his deadlines…).   Anyway, the chapter is finished and I now finally find…
Read More
Menu

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close