Let me begin this, the first post in my blog, by restating my mantra for all to read, "SQL is your friend." Let me also state, for the record, that I believe that those who use SQL should face the fact that SQL is, indeed, another programming language, whether it is ad hoc SQL, "dynamic" SQL, SQL in a stored procedure, or the SQL used in creating a View. Whether you are a developer of database applications or a designer/developer of databases, I believe that the more you learn about SQL and the specifics of the database(s) with which you are involved, the better you will write code and the faster your code will run. Part of the reason why you will be writing better code is that you will learn to use more than one tool to accomplish your task. (According to Mark Twain, "To a man with a hammer, all the world looks like a nail.") Part of the reason that your code will run faster is that you can off-load some of the work to a tool (the database server) that is specifically designed to do certain tasks much more efficiently than your "general purpose" software development tool. The problem, of course, is the same problem that is encountered with any programming (or human, for that matter) language . . . one must learn the syntax, verbs, functions, and short-cuts and one must learn to understand the various dialects and "regional accents" represented by the personal styles of others. For the most part, there is NOT one "right" or "perfect" way to write a SQL statement, so what I will be presenting is going to often have the abbreviation "IMHO" which stands for "In My Humble Opinion" and it will also reflect my coding style . . . which, although I do not claim it to be "the perfect style", I have found to be quite functional. ;-) To briefly explain why I feel like I am qualified to author this blog, let me begin by honestly stating that I actually question whether or not I am qualified . . . but I was invited to take on this task and, upon reflection, I decided that I probably couldn't do any worse than most who might undertake the task. I developing for over 35 years and have been working with RDBM systems for about 28 years. I first tangled with SQL in the early 1980's (although, as I remember it, it was called SEQUEL) which, I recently discovered preceded the first "official" ANSII Standard release of SQL (which somewhat follows a pattern in my career in that I have tended to be there before whatever got named). In the process of developing database applications and being a "Road Warrior", I have worked with several RDBM systems (everything from an Adabase-like system to DBase to Teradata) and have had the opportunity to observer a similar variety of approaches to database design and usage. Now, having said all of the above, let me also say that I do not consider myself to be the ultimate authority on SQL, SQL Databases, or, for that matter, much of anything else. If you have a comment regarding any of my posts, I will read it . . . I will even reflect upon it and be willing to discuss your point of view vs. mine. In fact, I may even point out to others that you have a better idea about how to accomplish a task I have mentioned . . . and I even look forward to having that happen. ;-)