Chapter 6. The Nine Situations

Recognizing Classic SQL Patterns

Je pense que pour conserver la clarté dans le récit d’une action de guerre, il faut se borner à raconter que les faits principaux et décisifs du combat.

To preserve clarity in relating a military action, I think one ought to be content with...reporting only the facts that affected the decision.

Général Baron de Marbot (1782-1854) Mémoires, Book I, xxvi

Any SQL statement that we execute has to examine some amount of data before identifying a result set that must be either returned or changed. The way that we have to attack that data depends on the circumstances and conditions under which we have to fight the battle. As I discuss in Chapter 4, our attack will depend on the amount of data from which we retrieve our result set and on our forces (the filtering criteria), together with the volume of data to be retrieved.

Any large, complicated query can be divided into a succession of simpler steps, some of which can be executed in parallel, rather like a complex battle is often the combination of multiple engagements between various distinct enemy units. The outcome of these different fights may be quite variable. But what matters is the final, overall result.

When we come down to the simpler steps, even when we do not reach a level of detail as small as the individual steps in the execution plan of a query, the number of possibilities is not much greater than the individual moves of pieces in a chess game. But as in a chess ...

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