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Equality comparisons and inequality comparisons

Create Joins with INNER JOIN Rather than WHERE

Some SQL developers prefer to make joins with WHERE clauses, such as the following:

SELECT Customers.CustomerID, Customers.Name, Sales.LastSaleDate
FROM Customers, Sales
WHERE Customers.CustomerID = Sales.CustomerID

This type of join creates a Cartesian Join, also called a Cartesian Product or CROSS JOIN. In a Cartesian Join, all possible combinations of the variables are created. In this example, if we had 1,000 customers with 1,000 total sales, the query would first generate 1,000,000 results, then filter for the 1,000 records where CustomerID is correctly joined. This is an inefficient use of database resources, as the database has done 100x more work than required. Cartesian Joins are especially problematic in large-scale databases, as a Cartesian Join of two large tables could create billions or trillions of results.

To prevent creating a Cartesian Join, INNER JOIN should be used instead:

SELECT Customers.CustomerID, Customers.Name, Sales.LastSaleDate
FROM Customers
   INNER JOIN Sales
   ON Customers.CustomerID = Sales.CustomerID

The database would generate the 1,000 desired records where CustomerID is equal.

Some DBMS systems are able to recognize WHERE joins and automatically run them as INNER JOINs instead. In those DBMS systems, there will be no difference in performance between a WHERE join and INNER JOIN. However, INNER JOIN is recognized by all DBMS systems. Your DBA will advise you as to which is best in your environment.