Hints and Tips Rants

I’m not a smart-arse

Well not all of the time…

When I re-read some of my posts I wonder if I come across as an utter smart-arse. Often my posts appear to be critical of all developers in general – but in many cases my criticisms can be traced back to two fundamentals:

  • Aptitude and analytical skills.

Both of which appear (to me at least) to be “dying arts”.

Rants SQL

Respect SQL!

I am by no means an SQL guru – there are many people far more skilled in SQL than I am. But I like to think I write well structured and clean SQL that is maintainable and performs well. Sadly, all to often I find poorly thought out SQL written in hard to read styles and with little respect for the language and it’s power.

SQL is not easy to write well but it is easy to write. Unfortunately, many developers think it is easy and place minimal emphasis on improving their skills beyond what they first learned. In the PeopleSoft market in particular, I have met many developers who are extremely skilled in (say) PeopleCode but all too often their SQL is poorly constructed. I’d describe it as “baby SQL”.

I’ll write a longer article with some tips and style guides for SQL at some point, but the message here is:

Respect SQL, Learn it, Embrace it’s strengths and it will reward you.

Rants SQL


Developers absolutely love DISTINCT don’t they? They use them everywhere but often for the wrong reasons. My current pet hate in this area is DISTINCT in UNIONs. I’m guessing they:

  • Don’t realise UNION will give them the DISTINCT list
  • Somehow believe DISTINCT in that part of the UNION will make the statement miraculously faster

None of which are necessarily true – in fact the addition of a DISTINCT can adversely affect execution plans in some cases.

Humour Rants



You don’t pay road tax (well for the bike at least)

You aren’t insured

Surely you could at least obey traffic lights? They do apply to you “entitled” sods too you know!


OK .. I know some of you **might** be insured. But I seriously doubt your insurance covers running a red light! 🙂