A database concept used to represent missing, unknown or inapplicable data.

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3
votes
4answers
6k views

In SQL Server 2008, how can I get all the columns that are marked as nullable in their schemas even though no records contain NULL for those columns?

In my legacy database, a lot of the time the schema needlessly allows null entries for particular columns. To help find out which columns in particular, I need to do some querying of SQL Server 2008 ...
3
votes
1answer
732 views

PostgreSQL pl/perl trigger, differentiate null vs empty

I've been trying to speed up a generic auditing trigger that I had written in pl/pgsql some time back. On update, it generates a list of columns in the table being updated and inserts rows in the ...
4
votes
1answer
212 views

Is there some drawback to define SPARSE columns?

I have a table which has a lot of NULL values in columns. But some columns don't contain NULLs at all (although nullable). Is there some drawback to declare all of these columns as SPARSE?
58
votes
8answers
5k views

Does SQL Server read all of a COALESCE function even if the first argument is not NULL?

I'm using a T-SQL COALESCE function where the first argument will not be null on about 95% of the times it is ran. If the first argument is NULL, the second argument is quite a lengthy process: ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I help SQL Server recognize my indexed view column is NOT NULL-able?

I have the following indexed view defined in SQL Server 2008 (you can download a working schema from gist for testing purposes): CREATE VIEW dbo.balances WITH SCHEMABINDING AS SELECT user_id ...
3
votes
0answers
282 views

To NULL or not to NULL? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why shouldn't we allow NULLs? I've heard that it's a bad idea to do database design such that nullable fields exist. However, eliminating nullables often cause much ...
61
votes
7answers
13k views

Why shouldn't we allow NULLs?

I remember reading this one article about database design and I also remember it said you should have field properties of NOT NULL. I don't remember why this was the case though. All I can seem to ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the purpose of SET NULL in Delete/Update Foreign Keys constraints?

I am probably being narrow minded, but if I create a foreign key constraint and a row gets updated or deleted, I lose that connection if the child table's column gets set to NULL. What is the purpose ...
12
votes
4answers
771 views

Does NULL have a type?

Various sources (eg Wikipedia, PSOUG) state that Oracle's null does not have a type. Is this true? What about other RDBMSs?
4
votes
4answers
7k views

Why does = NULL not work in Oracle?

I recently realized that we need to use a special syntax IS NULL to compare a literal to NULL. Why does = NULL not work here?
3
votes
1answer
3k views

MySQL - LOAD DATA INFILE - Handling unescaped NULL in INFILE or creating INFILE with escaped NULL

I am selecting data from a database on server A, dumping the output into a file locally, and then doing a LOAD DATA INFILE on my local database. The bash command looks something like this: mysql -e ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

null check and string concatenation

Can I do better than this query? select func_returns_str('key1') || nvl2( func_returns_str('key2'), ',' || func_returns_str('key2'), null) from dual; I ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

PostgreSQL: count datasets / lines containing NULL values

I'm looking for a easy function to get the number of datasets (of any table) containing NULL values. It's not important how many columns are involved. For example: CREATE TABLE tab1 ( id INTEGER ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

Finding empty columns of a table in PostgreSQL

What query would return the name of the columns of a table where all rows are NULL?
47
votes
4answers
17k views

What is the difference between select count(*) and select count(any_non_null_column)?

I seem to remember that (on Oracle) there is a difference between uttering select count(*) from any_table and select count(any_non_null_column) from any_table. What are the differences between these ...
0
votes
2answers
763 views

Is where x = 0 or x is null to be replaced by where isnull(x, 0) = 0 resp. where NVL(x, 0) = 0

Think of x as a column containing null, 0, 1. Only less than 1 % of the rows contain 1. There is no logical difference between 0 and Null. Is it a good idea to insist, that isnull rather than NVL is ...
32
votes
2answers
10k views

NULL or NOT NULL by default?

In MySQL, is it better to always allow nulls unless you know a field is required, or always use Not Null unless you know a field will contain nulls? Or doesn't it matter? I know in some DBMSs they ...
56
votes
8answers
21k views

When to use NULL and when to use an empty string?

I'm interested mainly in MySQL and PostgreSQL, but you could answer the following in general: Is there a logical scenario in which it would be useful to distinguish an empty string from NULL? What ...