Introduction to Structured Query Language

Introduction to Structured Query Language

Conditional Selection

To further discuss the SELECT statement, let’s look at a new example table (for hypothetical purposes only):

EmployeeStatisticsTable

EmployeeIDNoSalaryBenefitsPosition
0107500015000 Manager
1056500015000 Manager
1526000015000 Manager
2156000012500 Manager
2445000012000 Staff
3004500010000 Staff
3354000010000 Staff
400320007500 Entry-Level
441280007500 Entry-Level

Relational Operators

There are six Relational Operators in SQL, and after introducing them, we’ll see how they’re used:

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=Equal
< or != (see manual)Not Equal 
<Less Than
>Greater Than
<=Less Than or Equal To
>=Greater Than or Equal To 

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The WHERE clause is used to specify that only certain rows of the table are displayed, based on the criteria described in that WHERE clause. It is most easily understood by looking at a couple of examples.

If you wanted to see the EMPLOYEEIDNO’s of those making at or over $50,000, use the following:

SELECT EMPLOYEEIDNO
FROM EMPLOYEESTATISTICSTABLE
WHERE SALARY >= 50000;

Notice that the >= (greater than or equal to) sign is used, as we wanted to see those who made greater than $50,000, or equal to $50,000, listed together. This displays:

EMPLOYEEIDNO
------------
010
105
152
215
244

The WHERE description, SALARY >= 50000, is known as a condition (an operation which evaluates to True or False). The same can be done for text columns:

SELECT EMPLOYEEIDNO
FROM EMPLOYEESTATISTICSTABLE
WHERE POSITION = 'Manager';

This displays the ID Numbers of all Managers. Generally, with text columns, stick to equal to or not equal to, and make sure that any text that appears in the statement is surrounded by single quotes (‘). Note:Position is now an illegal identifier because it is now an unused, but reserved, keyword in the SQL-92 standard. 

More Complex Conditions: Compound Conditions / Logical Operators

The AND operator joins two or more conditions, and displays a row only if that row’s data satisfies ALL conditions listed (i.e. all conditions hold true). For example, to display all staff making over $40,000, use:

  SELECT EMPLOYEEIDNO
FROM EMPLOYEESTATISTICSTABLE
WHERE SALARY > 40000 AND POSITION = 'Staff';

The OR operator joins two or more conditions, but returns a row if ANY of the conditions listed hold true. To see all those who make less than $40,000 or have less than $10,000 in benefits, listed together, use the following query:

  SELECT EMPLOYEEIDNO
FROM EMPLOYEESTATISTICSTABLE
WHERE SALARY < 40000 OR BENEFITS < 10000;

AND & OR can be combined, for example:

SELECT EMPLOYEEIDNO
FROM EMPLOYEESTATISTICSTABLE
WHERE POSITION = 'Manager' AND SALARY > 60000 OR BENEFITS > 12000;

First, SQL finds the rows where the salary is greater than $60,000 and the position column is equal to Manager, then taking this new list of rows, SQL then sees if any of these rows satisfies the previous AND condition or the condition that the Benefits column is greater than $12,000. Subsequently, SQL only displays this second new list of rows, keeping in mind that anyone with Benefits over $12,000 will be included as the OR operator includes a row if either resulting condition is True. Also note that the AND operation is done first.

To generalize this process, SQL performs the AND operation(s) to determine the rows where the AND operation(s) hold true (remember: all of the conditions are true), then these results are used to compare with the OR conditions, and only display those remaining rows where any of the conditions joined by the OR operator hold true (where a condition or result from an AND is paired with another condition or AND result to use to evaluate the OR, which evaluates to true if either value is true). Mathematically, SQL evaluates all of the conditions, then evaluates the AND "pairs", and then evaluates the OR’s (where both operators evaluate left to right).

To look at an example, for a given row for which the DBMS is evaluating the SQL statement Where clause to determine whether to include the row in the query result (the whole Where clause evaluates to True), the DBMS has evaluated all of the conditions, and is ready to do the logical comparisons on this result:

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True AND False OR True AND True OR False AND False

First simplify the AND pairs:

False OR True OR False

Now do the OR’s, left to right:

True OR False 
True

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The result is True, and the row passes the query conditions. Be sure to see the next section on NOT’s, and the order of logical operations. I hope that this section has helped you understand AND’s or OR’s, as it’s a difficult subject to explain briefly.

To perform OR’s before AND’s, like if you wanted to see a list of employees making a large salary ($50,000) or have a large benefit package ($10,000), and that happen to be a manager, use parentheses:

SELECT EMPLOYEEIDNO
FROM EMPLOYEESTATISTICSTABLE
WHERE POSITION = 'Manager' AND (SALARY > 50000 OR BENEFITS > 10000);

Walid BaniHani

 

College of Applied Sciences - Al Rustaq

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