By Donald K. Burleson, Joe Celko, John Paul Cook, Peter Gulutzan
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Additional info for Advanced SQL Database Programmers Handbook
In the Unix-style representation, each point in time is shown as a very large integer number that represents the number of clock ticks from a base date. This is how the Unix operating system handles its temporal data. The use of clock ticks makes calculations very easy — it becomes simple integer math. However, it is hard to convert the clock ticks into a yearmonth-day-hour-minute-second format. In the Cobol-style representation, the database has a separate internal field for the year, month, day, hour, minute, and seconds.
When you give a year, say 2000, you are really giving me an interval of 365 days. Give me a date, say 2000-01-01, you are not giving me a point; you are identifying an interval of 24 hours. Give me the date and time 2000-01-01 00:00:00 and you are giving me an interval of 60 seconds. It never stops!! The decision in SQL was to view time as a series of open ended intervals. That is, the segment includes the starting point in time, but never gets to the end point of the interval. This has some nice properties.
There are two forms of the UNION statement: the UNION and the UNION ALL. There was never a UNION DISTINCT option in the language. The UNION is the same operator you had in school; it returns the rows that appear in either or both tables and removes redundant duplicates from the result table. In most older SQL implementations, this removal is done by merge-sorting the two tables and discarding duplicates during the merge. This has the side effect that the result table is sorted, but you cannot depend on that.
Advanced SQL Database Programmers Handbook by Donald K. Burleson, Joe Celko, John Paul Cook, Peter Gulutzan