Friday, October 19, 2012

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Today I was trying to tackle an assignment from my DBMS class. Write SQLs and extract information from the database. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, if it were so easy everyone would be working on databases and DBAs would be a dime a dozen. Well, the hard part is getting the sql exactly right, and ofcourse there is the issue of performance. You do not want to write an sql that takes hours to run in order to give you the answer. You want it to be crisp and exact. It was back to the drawing board for me every few minutes. Everytime, I thought I got it, I would make a few changes to the database and find out it is not the perfect query. Finally I have it nailed down but not without multiple trials and errors, and of course it can be fine tuned further. It's just the right time to remember I stand on the shoulders of real giants who were masters of invention by iteration. In the words of John Backus, who was instrumental to the development of FORTRAN language - "You need the willingness to fail all the time. You have to generate many ideas and then you have to work very hard only to discover that they don't work. And you keep doing that over and over until you find one that does work." If the head of the the team that revolutionized the first genreation of programming has that to say, I guess I really have no right to complain.

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