5 Articles tagged “Window Functions”

Today I want to react to an article that claims that Relational Algebra Is the Root of SQL Problems in which the author hand-waves the following position:

SQL becomes more a hindrance to data manipulation than an efficient tool. SQL’s greatest problem isn’t in the implementation level, but at its theory foundation. The problem can’t be solved by application optimization. Relational algebra isn’t sophisticated enough for handling the complicated data manipulation scenarios.

Then they go on to several arguments from authority to “prove” their point. My reading of the article is that SQL is very hard when you didn’t care to learn it, as most technologies are.

In this article, we’re going to look at the simple examples provided where apparently SQL makes it so much harder to find a solution compared to writing some Java or C++ code. Contrary to the original article, we go as far as to actually writing both the SQL solution and a complete Python solution, so that we can compare.

Sometimes you need to dive in an existing data set that you know very little about. Let’s say we’ve been lucky to have had a high level description of the business case covered by a database, and then access to it. Our next step is figuring out data organisation, content and quality. Our tool box: the world’s most advanced open source database, PostgreSQL, and its Structured Query Language, SQL.

There was SQL before window functions and SQL after window functions: that’s how powerful this tool is. Being that of a deal breaker unfortunately means that it can be quite hard to grasp the feature. This article aims at making it crystal clear so that you can begin using it today and are able to reason about it and recognize cases where you want to be using window functions.

We see a part of the data as if through a little window

Tonight I had the pleasure to present a talk at the Dublin PostgreSQL User Group using remote technologies. The talk is about how to make the most ouf of PostgreSQL when using SQL as a developer, and tries to convince you to dive into mastering SQL by showing how to solve an application example all in SQL, using window functions and common table expressions. PostgreSQL for developer

Dimitri Fontaine

PostgreSQL Major Contributor

Open Source Software Engineer

France