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Re: Watch out for this one :o)

From: Connor McDonald <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 22:02:27 +0100
Message-ID: <>

Niall Litchfield wrote:
> Here's the problem I have with this behaviour. You will note that I put bug
> in * characters as I know that this is the behaviour I just can't justify
> it. The result from Pl/SQL is correct given the behaviour of SQL.
> How do we sum? answer start at zero and add the value of each of the items
> in the series to a running total till we get to the end. If we have no
> values in the series the answer would be on this understanding zero NOT not
> known.
> Take the following scenario:
> You go down to the shops. You buy nothing at all? how much have you spent?
> Answer according to this behaviour of Oracle. "I don't know". Answer
> according to me. "Nothing."
> --
> Niall Litchfield
> Oracle DBA
> Audit Commission UK
> *****************************************
> Please include version and platform
> and SQL where applicable
> It makes life easier and increases the
> likelihood of a good answer
> ******************************************
> "Vladimir M. Zakharychev" <> wrote in message
> news:ahhfu5$qdc$
> > > So it seems to me that the *bug* is not in PL/SQL but SQL, given that
> surely
> > > the answer is zero.
> >
> > Surely the answer is NULL (interpreted as "I don't know as there was no
> > data to sum"). :)
> >
> > --
> > Vladimir Zakharychev (
> > Dynamic PSP(tm) - the first true RAD toolkit for Oracle-based internet
> applications.
> > All opinions are mine and do not necessarily go in line with those of my
> employer.
> >
> >

(Strictly from a philosophical perspective) I actually agree with the SQL definition...

If someone tells me "I'm about to give you a list of numbers to add up", I don't scribble down '0' on a piece of paper in order to add the subsequent numbers, I don't write down anything until the first number comes along...

Similarly, if (before any numbers are presented), someone says "What is the total so far", I'd probably reply with "Nothing! You ain't given me none" (as opposed to) "zero".



Connor McDonald

"Some days you're the pigeon, some days you're the statue..."
Received on Tue Jul 23 2002 - 16:02:27 CDT

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