Our company is interfacing with another software company for a joint project, and we were told that, if a particular value should not be displayed, we should pass in a -5000 (their arbitrary sentinel value); the reason is that no number column in their Oracle database supports null values, on the recommendation of their (now former) Oracle dev. This company also writes the vast majority of their code in VB6 (slowly transitioning to VB.NET, which is another topic for another day...). Out of pure curiosity, is there any valid reason for this recommendation? I can't think of any on my side.
Thanks for the feedback all. I posed the same question on CodeProject.com (link) and received very similar feedback. It appears the only time one could possibly begin to justify this practice is related to foreign keys, and I can state that they use no foreign keys anywhere in the system. The developer that made this determination (I used to work at that company) has significantly more experience than I, so I wanted to make sure there wasn't a valid reason for this before derision ensues.