Toilets and Your Systems

  • I am sort of famous for being the "standards Uber Alles" guy in the SQL community. I'm very proud of it and it served me very well. I've written 10 books on SQL which adhere as strictly as I could to those standards, collected the royalties on those books and gotten free drinks at bars.

    However, I'm the first guy to admit that not all standards cover all things. A lot of basic definitions are not standardized. For example, what is the median? If I have the set {1,2,2,3,3,3}, how to find the median? One way says that it has to be in the set, so the only thing you can consider is {2,3}, but we don't allow a set result for a median, so pick one. The other way is to do an average so you use ((2+3)/2.) = 2.5 instead. However, I prefer to do a weighted median because I feel it's more representative of a central tendency to give us SUM(2,2,3,3,3)/5 = 13/5 = 2.6 instead.

    So which one should be a standard? For those of you are old enough to remember when Pascal was the "language du jour", they had a whole debate on how to define modular arithmetic. The problem is that when it goes to negative numbers in the two parameters, it's not well defined.

    Now going back to my defense standards. The one thing that they do at least is the terms which we use to describe things are standardized. We know that an expression is not the same as a function, that a variable is not the same as a constant, and so forth. We might disagree on how they interact or work in a language (I'm trying to get an article on this assignment statement and all the variations that it has, even though it looks like it's one of the most fundamental in any language).

    Damn, I guess this programming thing is trickier than it looked. 🙁

    Please post DDL and follow ANSI/ISO standards when asking for help. 

  • Awesome points. Thanks for sharing Joe.

    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... Theodore Roosevelt
    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2022 Query Performance Tuning, 6th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

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