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

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76
votes
7answers
19k 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 ...
65
votes
8answers
7k 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: ...
60
votes
8answers
29k 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 ...
51
votes
7answers
13k views

If a person's name is Null then how would it break the database?

I was reading this article on BBC. It tells a story of a person named Jenifer Null and how she faces day to day problems while using online databases like booking plane tickets, net banking etc. I am ...
49
votes
4answers
23k 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 ...
47
votes
3answers
39k views

PostgreSQL multi-column unique constraint and NULL values

I have a table like the following: create table my_table ( id int8 not null, id_A int8 not null, id_B int8 not null, id_C int8 null, constraint pk_my_table primary key (id), ...
42
votes
5answers
30k views

Why does ALTER COLUMN to NOT NULL cause massive log file growth?

I have a table with 64m rows taking 4.3 GB on disk for its data. Each row is about 30 bytes of integer columns, plus a variable NVARCHAR(255) column for text. I added a a NULLABLE column with ...
39
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
5k views

Why does ANSI SQL define SUM(no rows) as NULL?

The ANSI SQL standard defines (chapter 6.5, set function specification) the following behaviour for aggregate functions on empty result sets: COUNT(...) = 0 AVG(...) = NULL MIN(...) = NULL MAX(...) = ...
17
votes
5answers
18k views

Why does a UNIQUE constraint allow only one NULL?

Technically, NULL = NULL is False, by that logic no NULL is equal to any NULL and all NULLs are distinct. Shouldnt this imply that all NULLs are unique and a unique index should allow any number of ...
14
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does NOT IN with a set containing NULL always return FALSE/NULL?

I had a query (for Postgres and Informix) with a NOT IN clause containing a subquery that in some cases returned NULL values, causing that clause (and the entire query) to fail to return anything. ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Reason to not use nullable number in Oracle?

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
683 views

Can IS DISTINCT FROM be combined with ANY or ALL somehow?

Is a postgres way of combining IS DISTINCT FROM with ANY or some other neat way of getting the same result? select count(*) from (select 'A' foo union all select 'Z' union all select null) z where ...
12
votes
4answers
796 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?
10
votes
4answers
6k 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?
10
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Comparing Columns that can contain NULLS - is there a more elegant way?

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
13k views

How do I check for a null or empty table-valued parameter?

I have a stored procedure (SS2k8) with a couple table-valued parameters that will sometimes be null or empty. I have seen this StackOverflow post that says that null/empty TVPs should simply be ...
7
votes
4answers
40k views

Getting SELECT to return a constant value even if zero rows match

Consider this select statement: SELECT *, 1 AS query_id FROM players WHERE username='foobar'; It returns the column query_id with value 1 along with a player's other columns. How would ...
7
votes
2answers
929 views

Why is a NOT NULL computed column considered nullable in a view?

I have a table: CREATE TABLE [dbo].[Realty]( [Id] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL, [RankingBonus] [int] NOT NULL, [Ranking] AS ([Id]+[RankingBonus]) PERSISTED NOT NULL .... ) And a ...
7
votes
1answer
704 views

Adding SPARSE made table much bigger

I have a generic log table, about 5m rows. There's a "strongly typed" field that stores event type, and a bunch of "losely typed" columns that contain data relevant to the event. That is, meaning of ...
7
votes
1answer
12k views

MySQL column defined with NOT NULL is allowing nulls

I had created a table a while back and started adding data to it. Recently I added a new column (address) to it with NOT NULL as part of the new column. The old rows (pre-addition) are still null, ...
6
votes
3answers
10k views

Test if any fields are NULL

I'm trying to figure out an easy query I can do to test if a large table has a list of entries that has at least ONE blank (NULL / empty) value in ANY column. I need something like SELECT * FROM ...
6
votes
7answers
940 views

Database table and NULLs

I know that there have been many opinions/sides concerning NULL values in a database. I have not understood though what is the best practice for this. I.e. if I have a relational table with an ...
6
votes
1answer
19k views

“Cannot insert the value NULL”, but there is no NULL values! [closed]

This question follows the answer of my other question there: Insert with OUTPUT correlated to sub query table The Person.LastName column has a NOT NULL constraint. When I execute this code: CREATE ...
6
votes
1answer
454 views

SQL Server Left Join strange NULL check

I've just been going through some old stored procedures, doing some optimizations and stumbled across this oddity: SELECT ISNULL(bt.BusinessTypeID, 0) AS BusinessTypeID FROM BusinessType bt LEFT JOIN ...
6
votes
1answer
689 views

MySQL loading NULLs in numeric columns

MySQL 5.6.23, InnoDB I am loading tables from character delimited text files using the LOAD DATA INFILE commnd and I would like every field with a \N, which is the NULL character in this setting, to ...
5
votes
4answers
11k 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?
5
votes
4answers
3k views

How to exclude NULL values inside CONCAT MySQL?

If I have this - tadd is the Address table: CONCAT(tadd.street_number, ' ', tadd.street_name,', ', tadd.apt_number,', ', tadd.city,', ', ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Quickly change NULL column to NOT NULL

I have a table with millions of rows and a column that allows NULL values. However no row currently has a NULL value for that column (I can verify this fairly quickly with a query). However when I ...
5
votes
2answers
47k views

Select column names whose entries are not null

I would like to have a list of those columns of a table that have at least one not-NULL data entries in them. In other words, I would like to get the column names for which the following returns at ...
5
votes
2answers
115 views

Need help with null field values

I am having a problem with syntax. I have the following statement which updates a field in a table with a value from a field in a different table. I need the statement to update the field with the ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Count null and not null values in a column

How to count and retrieve null and not null on same column in MySQL? mytable --------------------------------------------------- id | name | visited | registDate | ...
4
votes
5answers
786 views

Enforce NOT NULL for set of columns with a CHECK constraint only for new rows

I have a table and need to add a new column without a default value: Constraint: ALTER TABLE integrations.billables DROP CONSTRAINT IF EXISTS cc_at_least_one_mapping_needed_billables, ADD ...
4
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
387 views

Adding hstore entries to an uninitialized (NULL) column

I got bitten by this "feature" recently. If your hstore column is uninitialized and you start adding entries to it, they are all silently swallowed without error. Is this expected? create table ...
4
votes
2answers
77 views

Deleting NULL results

Currently I'm just trying to delete objects with the Name column being Null from a temp table with the following... delete from #PulledData where #PulledData.Name0 = NULL I've also tried = 'NULL', ...
4
votes
3answers
16k views

Oracle empty string converts to null

When doing an insert, an empty string is converted to null: insert into test (f) values (''); Now, there is a row with f containing a null. But, when I query the table, I cannot use '': select * ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Update “NULL” string to Actual NULL value

I have a table that contains NULL values but the problem is that some of the values are actually string "NULL" and not actual NULLS so when you trying something like where date is null it will not ...
4
votes
2answers
220 views

Checking a wide table for nulls [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Test if any fields are NULL I am new here. I have a table with 70-odd columns. Is there a way I can check the number of rows with at least one null value in any column ...
4
votes
1answer
215 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?
4
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

SQL Server 2008R2 - Why is my index not used

I have a table defined in the following way: CREATE TABLE [dbo].[MyTable] ( [MyTable_ID] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL, [COLUMN_WITH_DATA] [varchar](128) NOT NULL, [COLUMN_A] [varchar](128) ...
4
votes
1answer
788 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
2answers
2k views

Are many NULL columns harmful in mysql InnoDB?

As I explored the clustered B-tree index system of InnoDB, I think that the presence of many NULL (or small) columns has no significant effect on InnoDB performance. Does the presence of excess ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Query to find GUID's “not in” null containing subquery returns no results

When I have a query that checks if a column of type uniqueidentifer does not exist in a table that has a null value then I get no results back. If the subquery does not return a null it works fine and ...
3
votes
2answers
884 views

Using sp_BlitzIndex - Diagnosed as “Index Hoarder: Addicted to nulls”

Context: MS SQL Server 2012 In using Kendra Little's awesome tool, sp_BlitzIndex, a number of tables were diagnosed as "Index Hoarder: Addicted to nulls". I'm not looking for a debate over NULLs and ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Best way to work around NOT IN NULL issue?

There are plenty of explanations of why NOT IN NULL doesn't work, but I didn't see any solutions. (recent question here: Why does NOT IN with a set containing NULL always return FALSE/NULL?) I have 6 ...
3
votes
2answers
75 views

Enforce uniqueness across optional attributes for an entity

I have an entity that has multiple attributes, and these attributes are themselves entities. No two entities may have the same attributes, so there needs to be a uniqueness constraint across them. ...