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7 Tips You Should Use When Programming With SQL

Programming with SQL

11Aug

When it comes to data management, you will find yourself using SQL at one point in time. This is a domain-specific programming language that is used mainly in the design and management of data within a relational database management system. It is also used for stream processing in relational data stream management systems. Simply put, this is one of the programming languages you should consider learning if you have an interest in data management. The good news is that there are many resources you can use out there to learn more about SQL and how you can use it to achieve better results.

The purpose of this post is to discuss some of the tips and tricks you should consider using so as to achieve more with SQL. The post is a summary of some of the important tips you must understand before you start working with SQL.

Everything is a table

The first thing you need to understand about SQL is that everything here is a table. This is more of a fundamental rule than a tip. Programming is all about creating tables. You can create a wide range of tables with SQL including the derived table, and ad-hoc in-memory tables. The rule of thumb that you must remember at all times when working with this programming language is that everything is a table. When you are inserting individual rows, you are actually inserting entire tables.

The understanding that everything with this programming language is a table will help you become a better programmer. Don’t assume that when inserting a row you are simply doing that. Each row is a table.

Generate data with recursive SQL

The common table expressions (CTE) are the only way you can declare variables when using SQL. This is with the exception of the obscure WINDOW clause which only PostgreSQL and the Sybase SQL Anywhere know.

Running the Total Calculations

When it comes to data management, you have to engage in the running of total calculations. With Microsoft Excel, you need to calculate the sum of the two previous values then use the crosshair cursor to pull the formula through the whole spreadsheet. With SQL, the case is a bit different. To run the total calculation, you have to use the window functions. The window functions are rankings/aggregations on the subset of rows relative to a current row that is being transformed by the SELECT.

The window function will be able to perform calculations on rows that are either ‘above’ or ‘below’ the current row. However, unlike the GROUP BY and the ordinary aggregations, they will not transform the rows. If you need some help with programming with SQL, you should consider getting expert help from RemoteDBA.com. The team here will take the burden off your shoulders and help you focus on the primary operations of your business.

Time series pattern recognition

This is common in fraud detection or fields that involve real-time analytics on large data sets. With SQL, you can add an application for the MATCH_RECOGNIZE. You can order a table by ID in order to match events then specify the values of the results you want. You can also specify regular expression-like patterns. This helps identify matches in the table.

Secure the code

Creating a database is easy if you are familiar with the programming language you are using and understand the basics of the process. Even so, it is important to remember that you will be storing sensitive data in your database, hence the need to make it as secure as possible. You should start by securing your code. This is important, especially when considering the fact that databases are the main targets for attacks.

To write secure code, you need to focus on DBMS-specific solutions. This varies between MySQL, SQL and Oracle server. It is important that you understand the DBMS that you are working with as well as the inherent security problems. SQL injection is the most common method of attack. You need to test the code and be familiar with all the security vulnerabilities for the DBMS. This is the only way you will be able to better protect your database from attacks.

Understand the data types

When it comes to SQL, every table column has an associated data type. It is imperative that you select the right data type for your columns during development. The dates need to be DATE variables, the numbers should be the numeric type and so on. This will be very important when it comes to indexing. The use of the wrong data types will make your database slow and can lead to inaccuracies. It is for this reason that developers must pay more attention to the data types throughout the development process.

Use compliant code

Last but not least, you have to keep up with the standards. SQL was standardized by the ANSI and later by the ISO. Revisions to the language have been submitted occasionally. The latest revision is the SQL:2008. The revision developers need to be aware of is the SQL: 1999. This is the revision that introduced the recursive queries, support for PL/SQL, triggers and T-SQL and a range of other features.

Adhering to the compliant standards is imperative when writing code. Standards are used for maintainability and cross-platform standardization. Systems spend the bigger part of their lifespan in the maintenance phase. Adhering to the compliant standards will make maintenance easier.

All that this article has done is to discuss a few tips and tricks that you can use to make your work easier when working with SQL. One thing you may already know is that working with this programming language is not as easy as it seems. To perfect your skills, you have to practice more and understand that the syntax with SQL is more awkward and declarative thinking is not as straightforward. If you are just getting started with this language, it is highly recommended to work with the experts. This is for the simple reason that creating a flawed database can cause a myriad of issues, some of which may lead to financial losses.

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