A Gentle Introduction to


Pick an engine:

ACME Accounts

Details of the database.

Some items from the database.

1a Identify customers 'C001', 'C005'

1b Identify products 'P001', 'P007'

Invoices and receipts

2a View the payments made by customer 'C001'

2b View the shipments made to customer 'C001' by date order

Preparing accounts

3a Prepare a list of all items purchased by customer 'C001', show the date, the product description, the unit price, the quantity shipped and the total value (quantity * price).

3b Calculate the total value of all items shipped to customer 'C001' on 23rd July 1998. The SQL standard way to write this date is DATE '1998-07-23'

3c Prepare a shipping statement for customer 'C001' it should show the date, the legend 'Delivery' and the total value of the products shipped on each day.

3d Prepare a receipts statement for customer 'C001' it should show the date, the notes and the amount received.

3e Use the UNION command to prepare a full statement for customer 'C001' - it should be laid out as follows. (Note that the values shown below are not correct.) You may be able to use '' or NULL for blank values - if necessary use 0.

  10-JUL-1998 Delivery       100.00
  15-JUL-1998 Cheque                       100.00
  22-JUL-1998 Delivery       210.00
  23-JUL-1998 Delivery        45.00
  23-JUL-1998 Cash                         255.00

The following VIEW , accountline has been created (if not create it yourself). It shows one line for each payment or shipment, money out is negative (a debit), money in positive (a credit).

CREATE VIEW accountline AS
  SELECT shipped.badguy AS badguy, shipped.sdate AS LineDate,
        'Delivery' AS Legend, -[price]*[quantity] AS amount
    FROM product, shipped 
    WHERE product.id = shipped.product
  SELECT receipt.badguy, receipt.rdate,notes, amount
    FROM receipt
    ORDER BY linedate;
4a Issue the command to see the accountline.

4b Create a list showing the outstanding balance for each customer.

What is wrong with this database.

  1. There is no mechanism for recording returns. Suggest what action should be taken when faulty goods are returned and money refunded.
  2. The price of item P001 is to be increased. What effect will this have on the calculated balance for customers who previously purchased the item? Suggest how the structure of the database should be amended to prevent this problem.
  3. All goods must be purchased at list price. In practice discounts may be given on an ad-hoc basis. Suggest how such discounts might be recorded.
  4. As it stands the data will just grow and grow. It may be desirable to have a consolidation routine which removes old records and leaves an outstanding balance for each customer. This is unlikely to be worth doing for technical reasons. You could store hundreds of years worth of data for a small company at only a marginal cost of processing time or disk space.

Tutorial Six: Edinburgh Buses concerns self joins and includes some ridiculously complex SQL queries