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I know that you can't compare a value to NULL and expect a result without adding something like in the following code...

SELECT
    *
FROM 
    A INNER JOIN 
    B ON A.ID = B.ID
WHERE
    A.STRING <> B.STRING OR (A.STRING IS NULL AND B.STRING IS NOT NULL) OR (A.STRING IS NOT NULL AND B.STRING IS NULL) OR 
    A.DT <> B.DT OR (A.DT IS NULL AND B.DT IS NOT NULL) OR (A.DT IS NOT NULL AND B.DT IS NULL) OR 
    A.B <> B.B OR (A.B IS NULL AND B.B IS NOT NULL) OR (A.B IS NOT NULL AND B.B IS NULL) OR 
    A.NUM <> B.NUM OR (A.NUM IS NULL AND B.NUM IS NOT NULL) OR (A.NUM IS NOT NULL AND B.NUM IS NULL) 

My question is:

Is there a more elegant way to test for changed values across the two tables where either one could be null?

Solution needs to work uniformly across the data types.

Here is the code to set up the test tables...

CREATE TABLE A
(
    ID INT IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    STRING VARCHAR(20) NULL,
    DT DATETIME NULL,
    B BIT NULL,
    NUM INT NULL
)

CREATE TABLE B
(
    ID INT IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    STRING VARCHAR(20) NULL,
    DT DATETIME NULL,
    B BIT NULL,
    NUM INT NULL
)


INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES (NULL, '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', NULL, 0, 23)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', NULL, 23)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, NULL)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO A (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)


INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('STAGE', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2555-11-11 00:00:00.000', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 23)
INSERT INTO B (STRING, DT, B, NUM) VALUES ('TEST', '2012-03-16 16:39:04.893', 0, 999)
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2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

You can use

SELECT * 
FROM   A 
       INNER JOIN B 
         ON A.ID = B.ID 
            AND EXISTS(SELECT A.* 
                       EXCEPT 
                       SELECT B.*) 
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This is great, I tested it out and it seems to behave exactly as I need it to. Thanks very much. –  robarwebservices Mar 16 '12 at 20:28
1  
Drat it you beat me to it! Though I have to confess you taught me this method. It's so beautiful. :) –  ErikE Mar 16 '12 at 20:47
    
Martin, are you using this approach to compare the tables that are too large for Data Compare? –  AlexKuznetsov Mar 17 '12 at 23:09
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Standard SQL, supported in SQL Server 2005 and better:

WITH A_MINUS_B 
     AS
     (
      SELECT * 
        FROM A
      EXCEPT 
      SELECT *
        FROM B
     )
SELECT * 
  FROM A_MINUS_B AS T 
       JOIN B ON T.ID = B.ID;
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