You paid HOW MUCH for that?!!?

I couldn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. Oracle — the 800-lb gorilla of database servers, the mighty Oracle — cannot distinguish between an empty string (“”) and a NULL! From the current Oracle documentation, available on-line at their Web site (although you have to register and give them your E-mail address to get access to it):

“Note: Oracle Database currently treats a character value with a length of zero as null. However, this may not continue to be true in future releases, and Oracle recommends that you do not treat empty strings the same as nulls.”

That last sentence sounds promising until you realize that it’s been there since version 7, and Oracle is now at version 10.

From now on, when someone’s extolling the virtues of Oracle to me, I’ll just ask them, “Oh, and have they fixed their empty string == NULL problem yet?”

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