Sam Sam - 4 months ago 11
SQL Question

NULL values are excluded. Why?

This is about a bizarre behaviour I found in Microsoft Sql Server. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

SELECT COUNT(*) FROM TABLEA
WHERE [Column1] IS NULL;


This returns 30018 rows.

CREATE VIEW VIEWB AS
SELECT * FROM TABLEA AS t1
WHERE t1.[Column1] NOT IN ('Cross/Up sell', 'Renegotiation', 'Renewal')


If I check
VIEWB
, I don't find
NULL
in
Column1
:

SELECT COUNT(*) FROM VIEWB
WHERE [Column1] IS NULL;


This returns 0 rows.

Why? The query above excludes the 3 values, but it isn't supposed to exclude NULL. Why does Ms Sql Server behave this way? Should I have expected this?
How can I fix it?

Answer

This is actually a common mistake made with SQL Server in treating NULL as a value. By default, it's treated as UNKNOWN, as documented here. So, in your view, you also need to include an OR t1.[Column1] IS NULL.

You can change this behavior by calling SET ANSI_NULLS OFF. It is not recommended to use this, however, as the feature is deprecated as pointed out by @Martin Smith.

This is not a SQL Server specific issue, however. It's part of the ANSI SQL standard.

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