SELECT column1, column2 FROM Table1 ORDER BY column1 COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General in Java

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SELECT column1, column2 FROM Table1 ORDER BY column1 COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General
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For many DBMSs, NULLs sort Low that is, NULLs are considered to be less than the smallest nonNULL value For IBM, Ingres, and Oracle, NULLs sort High that is, NULLs are considered to be greater than the largest non-NULL value For InterBase and PostgreSQL, NULLs sort At the End whether you're sorting in ascending or in descending order That means the set of values {-1, +1, NULL} sorts four different ways depending on DBMS and depending on your sort order:
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{NULL, 1, +1} /* result after ORDER BY column1 for many DBMSs, including Informix, Microsoft, MySQL, and Sybase */
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{ 1, +1, NULL} /* result after ORDER BY column1 for IBM, Ingres, InterBase, Oracle, PostgreSQL */
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{+1, 1, NULL} /* result after ORDER BY column1 DESC for Informix, InterBase, Microsoft, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Sybase */
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{NULL, +1, 1} /* result after ORDER BY column1 DESC for IBM, Ingres, Oracle */
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The result is that ORDER BY column1 * -1 and ORDER BY column1 DESC return different results (with NULL in a different spot) unless you use InterBase or PostgreSQL The use of expressions in ORDER BY is not 100% portable, but some useful expressions can help speed or clarity:
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ORDER BY LOWER(column1)
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Useful if case-insensitive sorting is unavailable
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ORDER BY SUBSTRING(column1 FROM 1 FOR 6)
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Rough sorts are faster because tags are small
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ORDER BY CAST(column1 AS CHAR)
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Useful if column1's data type is not sortable
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Such functions would be unacceptable if the DBMS called them multiple times However, the DBMS evaluates the sort-key value only once per input row, at the time it forms the tags To make sure of this, we tested ORDER BY with a user-defined function that simply counted how many times the function was called Six of the Big Eight called the function only once per row (GAIN: 6/6) Portability Informix and InterBase don't allow expressions in ORDER BY The gain shown is for only six DBMSs
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To Sort or Not to Sort
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"Do not use ORDER BY if the query has a DISTINCT or GROUP BY on the same set of terms, because they have the side effect of ordering rows" Kevin Kline et al, Transact-SQL Programming, O'Reilly & Associates Sometimes there is a temptation to follow such advice and skip ORDER BY if it's certain that the rows are in order anyway Our tests showed this about such assumptions:
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SELECT column1 FROM Table1
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is returned in order by column1 if Table1 is clustered and column1 is the cluster key (see 9, "Indexes") or is otherwise preordered
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SELECT column1 FROM Table1 WHERE column1 > -32768
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is returned in order by column1 if column1 is indexed (in ASC order) and the DBMS makes use of the index
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SELECT DISTINCT column1 FROM Table1
is returned in order by column1 if column1 is not unique
If you add ORDER BY column1 in any of these three cases, the SELECT is always slower (AVERAGE GAIN: 5/8 without ORDER BY) This suggests that DBMSs will not remove unnecessary ORDER BY clauses automatically However, our tests also showed that the effect is
unpredictable with more complex statements that contain any of the following: joins, unions, multiple columns in the select list, long columns, columns indexed with a descending index, or columns requiring secondary sorts (we'll talk about secondary sorts later in this chapter) Finally, we failed to find that any such side effect was documented in any vendor manual So we urge caution
The Bottom Line: General Sorts
The three variables that affect sort speed are, in order of importance:
The number of rows you select The number of columns you put in the ORDER BY clause The defined length of the columns you put in the ORDER BY clause
An increase in the row count has a geometric effect on sort speed If you multiply the number of rows by ten, the job takes twenty times as long Take drastic action to reduce the number of rows you sort Take severe action to reduce the number of sorted columns Take moderate action to reduce the length of sorted columns The fastest sort is an ascending sort of a presorted integer with unique values Partial duplicates slow sorts Presorting speeds sorts It's the defined length that matters Some DBMSs sort NULL high Some DBMSs sort NULL low Some DBMSs sort NULL at the end of a list Since there's no standard way of sorting NULL; don't write code that depends on the DBMS putting all the NULLs in a specific place The use of expressions in ORDER BY is not 100% portable But using expressions like ORDER BY LOWER(column1), ORDER BY SUBSTRING(column1 FROM 1 FOR 6), and ORDER BY CAST(column1 AS CHAR) can help speed or clarity