Joe Celko

Joe Celko is one of the most widely read of all writers about SQL, and was the winner of the DBMS Magazine Reader's Choice Award four consecutive years. He is an independent consultant living in Austin, TX. He has taught SQL in the US, UK, the Nordic countries, South America and Africa.
He served 10 years on ANSI/ISO SQL Standards Committee and contributed to the SQL-89 and SQL-92 Standards.
He has written over 800 columns in the computer trade and academic press, mostly dealing with data and databases. He is the author of eight books on SQL for Morgan-Kaufmann, including the best selling SQL FOR SMARTIES.
Joe is a well-known figure on Newsgroups and Forums, and he is famous for his his dry wit. He is also interested in Science Fiction.

30 November 2012
30 November 2012

Row Sorting in SQL

It should be easy to model a game of poker in SQL. The problem is, however, that you need to model a permutation from a set of elements. Joe Celko argues that using a group of columns to do this isn't necessarily a violation of 1NF, since a permutation is atomic. Then comes the second problem: how would you sort such a column-base permutation in order? Sorting columns in SQL?… Read more
10 May 2012
10 May 2012

SQL VIEW Basics

SQL Views are essential for the database developer. However, it is common to see them misused, or neglected. Joe Celko tackles an introduction to the subject, but there is something about the topic that makes it likely that even the experienced developer will find out something new from reading it.… Read more
26 September 2011
26 September 2011

Mimicking Network Databases in SQL

Unlike the hierarchical database model, which created a tree structure in which to store data, the network model formed a generalized 'graph' structure that describes the relationships between the nodes. Nowadays, the relational model is used to solve the problems for which the network model was created, but the old 'network' solutions are still being implemented by programmers, even when they are less effective.… Read more
17 August 2011
17 August 2011

Mimicking Magnetic Tape in SQL

The sequential nature of early data storage devices such as punched card and magnetic tape once forced programmers to devise algorithms that made the best of sequential access. These ways of doing data-processing have become so entrenched that they are still used in modern relational database systems. There is now a better way, as Joe explains.… Read more
09 June 2011
09 June 2011

A Tale of Identifiers

Identifiers aren't locators, and they aren't pointers or links either. They are a logical concept in a relational database, and, unlike the more traditional methods of accessing data, don't derive from the way that data gets stored. Identifiers uniquely identify members of the set, and it should be possible to validate and verify them. Celko somehow involves watches and taxi cabs to illustrate the point. … Read more
07 April 2011
07 April 2011

Check your Digits

The most persistent struggle in data processing has been to ensure clean data. There are many ways that data can be incorrect and a database must check, as best it can, that the data is correct. The CHECK constraint is ideally suited for this sort of work, and the checking routine can become quite complex when dealing with check digits in data. … Read more
01 April 2011
01 April 2011

Improving Comparison Operators and Window Functions

It is dangerous to assume that your data is sound. SQL already has intrinsic ways to cope with missing, or unknown data in its comparison predicate operators, or Theta operators. Can SQL be more effective in the way it deals with data quality? Joe Celko describes how the SQL Standard could soon evolve to deal with data in ways that allow aggregation and windowing in cases where the data quality is less than perfect … Read more
04 January 2011
04 January 2011

BIT of a Problem

The BIT data type is an awkward fit for a SQL database. It doesn't have just two values, and it can do unexpected things in expressions. What is worse, it is a flag rather than a predicate, and so its overuse, along with bit masks, is a prime candidate for being listed as a 'SQL Code Smell'. Joe Celko makes the case. … Read more
22 November 2010
22 November 2010

Contiguous Time Periods

It is always better, and more efficient, to maintain referential integrity by using constraints rather than triggers. Sometimes it is not at all obvious how to do this, and the history table, and other temporal data tables, presented problems for checking data that were difficult to solve with constraints. Suddenly, Alex Kuznetsov came up with a good solution, and so now history tables can benefit from more effective integrity checking. Joe explains... … Read more
28 October 2010
28 October 2010

VALUES() and Long Parameter Lists – Part II

The use of the comma-separated list of parameters to a SQL routine, that Phil Factor calls the 'comedy-limited list, is a device that makes seasoned SQL Database developers wince. The best choice of design for passing variable numbers of parameters or tuples to SQL Routines varies according to the importance to you of SQL Standards. Joe Celko discusses the pros and cons of the front-runners … Read more
08 October 2010
08 October 2010

State Transition Constraints

Data Validation in a database is a lot more complex than seeing if a string parameter really is an integer. A commercial world is full of complex rules for sequences of procedures, of fixed or variable lifespans, Warranties, commercial offers and bids. All this requires considerable subtlety to prevent bad data getting in, and if it does, locating and fixing the problem. Joe Celko shows how useful a State transition graph can be, and how essential it can become with the time aspect added.… Read more