Shop Talk: 2022-06-06

The Recording

The Panelists

  • Kevin Feasel
  • Mala Mahadevan
  • Mike Chrestensen

Notes: Questions and Topics

T-SQL and Language Generations

Our first major topic of the night came from an Aaron Bertrand post covering expressive T-SQL queries. This led me to a discussion of language generations. This post does a good job of describing the generations though I disagree strongly with the idea that Perl, Python, Ruby, etc. are 4th generation languages—they are third generation languages. The most popular 4th gen language is either SQL or the Unix shell but it turns out that there were a few more popular languages on the list that I didn’t see during the show.

For a really quick synopsis:

  • The first generation of programming language is machine code.
  • The second generation is assembly, which acts as an abstraction of machine code.
  • The third generation is structured, imperative programming languages. C and its family are some of the big boys here but almost every general-purpose programming language fits in this space.
  • The fourth generation covers declarative languages: I explain to you what I need and you determine how to get it. I don’t tell the database engine how to get the data, just that I need data meeting certain criteria.
  • The fifth generation of programming languages were intended for knowledge systems: I explain some facts to you and you draw inferences from them. In practice, 5GL never really took off, though we do see use of it in academia and AI research.

Fun with Indexing

Mike had a couple of questions which ate up the rest of the show.

  1. If I have no filters on a query and select an indexed column vs. not, is there a performance difference? In other words, if I have EmployeeID INT which has a non-clustered index and SomeOtherID INT which does not have a non-clustered index, is there a performance difference if I run SELECT EmployeeID FROM Table versus SELECT SomeOtherID FROM Table?
  2. If an index has multiple columns, how do you best make use of the index in terms of writing a query?

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