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Re: All hail Neo!

From: Marshall Spight <>
Date: 26 Apr 2006 16:50:00 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Bob Badour wrote:
> Marshall Spight wrote:
> > It is worth noting that this is a *design* issue and
> > not a theoretical one per se.
> Which is why one should leave it to the designer. Give me a good logical
> model to use, and if I wish the behaviour that null purports to give, I
> will design it that way. Quite easily, I might add. And without the
> ensuing internal damage to all functions of the dbms.

Yes, that's exactly what I am saying. A good logical model would be based on sparing use of the empty set, rather than on something like SQL's null, which taints most every calculation it takes part in.

> > The semantics of SQL's
> > null are well-defined, if rather clunky.
> You and I use differing definitions of "well-defined".

Is there some places in the SQL standard where the behavior of null is undefined? I admit I don't pay much attention to the standard.

> Since this is a design
> > issue, the only way to validate that assertion is through
> > HCI testing, which I don't expect either side to perform.
> What makes you think I have not performed those tests? I have directly
> observed hundreds of dbms users interacting with dbmses. I have been
> paid large sums of money to 'solve' problems caused by nulls and
> duplicate rows in existing designs. I have watched "hundred-million
> dollar+" projects succeed or fail over such nonsense.

Okay. Did you ever do any HCI testing? I expect not; it doesn't seem like something that would appeal to you.

> I witnessed a hundred-million dollar family business that dominated its
> market fail over such nonsense.

I used to be quite pedantic around these kinds of issues as well, but my current position has turned me around. The company philosophy is that rough answers are better than no answers, and that mostly-right answers right now are better than exactly right answers too late.  

Marshall Received on Wed Apr 26 2006 - 18:50:00 CDT

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