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When I am looking to create some timestamp fields (or other date/time style fields), what is the best way to name them? Should I just put record_timestamp?

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@Garik - timestamp as in date/time or as in generated binary? – Marian May 12 '11 at 20:06
@Marian Timestamp is datatype in sql server and it is equivalent of binary(8), or varbinary(8) for nullable field. It is just an auto-generated number. – garik May 12 '11 at 20:21
@Garik - good, we have the same set of words. I asked because I have seen developers use this name for a datetime field, because it's close to English name for time. See wikipedia for what I mean. Now for a binary generated field I'm always using column name RowVersion. – Marian May 12 '11 at 20:38
Given the ambiguity of the question, the above comments don't match the accepted answer. You should either modify the question and change the accepted answer or create a new question asking about column names for SQL Servers timestamp data type. – Leigh Riffel May 12 '11 at 20:56
@Leigh Riffel it does not matter what product I am using. There is one rule for me for naming is avoiding any reserved words for this product. Any way, I agreed with your concept of naming. Thanks. @Marian By the way, rowversion is reserved word for datatype as we know. It's a good enough if we use "[" and "]" around name, but there is a high probability of getting a naming conflict. – garik May 12 '11 at 22:17
up vote 21 down vote accepted

You should describe the purpose of the column and not necessarily the data type. You can include date/time/timestamp in the name, but you should also include the meaning. For example

  • CreationDate
  • StartDate
  • Start
  • End
  • StatusTime
  • Accessed
  • Updated

Adding Date/Time/Timestamp and such at the end is particularly useful when the abscence of the addition would conflict with another column. For example, a table may need both a Status and a StatusTime.

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it makes sense. thanks. – garik May 12 '11 at 20:22
The trouble comes when “CreationDate” is actually a timestamp. Makes it difficult to talk about. – bignose May 13 '11 at 1:25
@bignose - then I suppose it follows that you'd use "CreationTimestamp" or something like "CreatedAt" – Jack Douglas May 13 '11 at 11:33
@bignose and yet calling it a timestamp is also misleading and confusing in SQL Server, since the data type timestamp has very little to do with date or time. – Aaron Bertrand Oct 13 '13 at 15:32
That said, timestamp is also a MySQL reserved keyword. – Jack Mar 28 '14 at 9:06

How about xyz_at for a timestamp and xyz_on for a date field - eg start_at or start_on?

Normally I'd avoid including the data type in the field name - much better if you can infer what you need to know about the type from the name of any field (a field called description is unlikely to be an integer) - but being able to tell the difference between a timestamp and a date is often helpful.

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I use:

  • created_at
  • updated_at
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"at" can imply location too. What about "when" instead of "at"? – Sepster Oct 22 '13 at 1:12
"at" or "as at" is used frequently in legal and financial documents to refer to when something happened.… – Neil McGuigan Dec 19 '13 at 19:05

I looked at your profile and it says you work with SQL Server and in SQL Server TIMESTAMP data type has nothing to do with date or time and its used to kind of version stamping the rows. This is very useful in identifying which rows have been modified from a given point of time.

If you use TIMESTAMP then you don't have to specify a column name and SQL Server will create a column "TimeStamp" for you. But it is recommended to use "ROWVERSION" data type and in this case you have to specify the column name.

What's the best name for a column like this? It depends, and I would use something like VersionStamp, RV etc... What I consider important is NOT how you name it but are you using that consistently across the board.



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+1 for recommendation (rowversion). I am old-school sql-man, so it was useful. – garik May 12 '11 at 20:10

I prefer to use a prefix of DT for date stamps. For example: DTOpened, DTClosed, DTLastAccessed. This lets me list out all the DTxxxx for a quick reference of all date stamps in a given table.

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I would used a meaningful prefix and _TSMP as a suffix e.g. CREATION_TSMP or LAST_UPDATE_TSMP

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−1, the data type shouldn't be part of the name. – bignose May 13 '11 at 1:26

I work for Texas Instruments, and on their systems they use xxxx_dttm

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