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IDS Forum

NULL situation

Posted By: John Adamski
Date: Monday, 8 February 2010, at 4:30 p.m.

HPUX 11.23 IDS 10.00.FC9

We are trying to find the best solution for a situation that our third-party software and their database design has created. Since we do not have full control of the third-party software nor their database design we need a way to clean up the mess left behind.

The situation is this: we get null values where the software is not expecting nulls or is not coded to handle nulls might be more accurate. Most of the null values come for the software itself. Example might be program A creates a row in an accounting table and program Q down the road then tries to do something with that row after a number of other programs have manipulated the data, but it fails cause a field has a null. Or worse yet is processes the row incorrectly because it did not have coding to handle nulls.

Since we have a bit more flexibility in changing the tables in the system rather than the actual software, the tentative plan is to modify the tables to have default values on the fields we know causes us problems.

A question came up that I can't remember back to my training 8 years ago so want to pose it here. If we add a default to a field already in the table will it apply that default to null records or will it just apply the default to new records? My memory say as long as not null clause is not added it will leave current rows alone.

Example if we have a NAMES table that has a field called fullname that is a char(32) with no default set an also doesn't have the not null clause - just a plain char(32). And now I alter the table to have a default of blank (''), my assumption is since null are still allowed it would leave the nulls already in the table alone. I would have to add the not null clause, which seems like a catch 22 as wouldn't I get an error cause I have nulls? I need a memory refresh.

alter table modify fullname char(32) default ''; -- only new rows get a blank value ?

alter table modify fullname char(32) default '', not null; -- will this change nulls already in table or cause an error?

John

Messages In This Thread

  • NULL situation
    John Adamski -- Monday, 8 February 2010, at 4:30 p.m.

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