Appendix G – Errata


You are reading a digital copy of SQL-99 Complete, Really, a book that documents the SQL-99 standard.

For more information specific to CrateDB, check out the CrateDB Reference.

This concise errata list concerns apparent errors in some of our source literature, such as the SQL standard documents or the ODBC manual. We do not intend this as a comment. Like any errata list, its sole use is to help you avoid confusion if you happen to read one of those texts. And, like any errata list, it’s ephemeral. At some time, the original documents will cease to contain these errors.

Table of Contents

SQL Foundation

  • The data type and size of CURRENT_ROLE is not defined, but we have assumed that it’s supposed to match the data type and size defined for CURRENT_USER.

  • The Standard declares that precision is the number of “significant digits”. We have to assume they don’t use the usual definition of significant.

  • The Standard speaks of valid datetime or interval results “according to the Gregorian calendar”. But the Gregorian calendar only validates dates. We assume they mean “based on a 24 hour clock” for times, with adjustments according to the Gregorian calendar in the case of timestamps and (where applicable) intervals.

  • The word “satisfies” means “is TRUE” when the context is the HAVING clause, or “is not FALSE” when the context is a constraint. But it is not clear what “satisfies” means when the context is a WHEN clause or a view’s WITH CHECK OPTION clause. Therefore it is not possible to be sure whether these clauses are “satisfied” if the search conditions that they refer to are UNKNOWN.

  • SQL3’s BOOLEAN data type should have four values: TRUE, FALSE, UNKNOWN and NULL.

  • For “effect of replacing rows in base tables”, the trigger event is defined as DELETE. We assume that UPDATE is meant.

  • The DROP TABLE ... CASCADE definition fails to specify that all dependent triggers will also be dropped. The DROP TABLE ... RESTRICT definition fails to specify that, if there are dependent triggers, the drop will fail. Since analogous statements are true for DROP VIEW, we assume that they should also be true for DROP TABLE.

  • The Standard states six times that the following statement, or a slight variation thereof, is “implicit” (in column definitions etc.):


    But SET CONSTRAINT statements are illegal within triggers.

  • According to the Standard, DROP TRIGGER is legal in Core SQL; but CREATE TRIGGER is illegal. We assume that the intent is not to include DROP TRIGGER in Core SQL either.

  • In the description of <cast specification> there is a reference to an SQLSTATE error 'Data exception - invalid interval format'; this error does not appear in the list of SQLSTATE exception conditions so we haven’t been able to provide an SQLSTATE code for it.

  • The ASCII_FULL character set does not include the \0 character. This contradicts FIPS, and makes casts from bit strings difficult.

  • The Standard’s Section 9.7 <type name determination> has no mention of BOOLEAN. Neither does Section 10.14. BOOLEAN appears to have been forgotten in many places.

  • There is an initial definition of “subtype”. The Standard’s description of UDTs is comprehensible only if this definition is ignored.

  • The Standard’s definition of “direct subtype” is confusing:

    “A type T(a) is a direct subtype of a type T(b) if T(a) is a proper subtype of T(b) and there does not exist a type T(c) such that T(c) is a proper subtype of T(b) and a proper subtype of T(a).”

    Perhaps it should read:

    “A type T(a) is a direct subtype of a type T(b) if T(a) is a proper subtype of T(b) and there does not exist a type T(c) such that T(c) is a proper subtype of T(b) and a proper supertype of T(a).”

    If this emendation is correct, then the terms “every direct supertype” and “every direct supertable” are misleading; more English are the terms “the direct supertype” and “the direct supertable”, passim.

  • The CREATE TYPE definition contains a contradiction:

    "4) If <subtype clause> is not specified, then <representation> shall be specified.
     5) If <subtype clause> is not specified, then NOT FINAL shall be specified.
     6) If <representation> specifies <predefined type>, then:
         a) ...
         b) FINAL shall be specified.
         c) <subtype clause> shall not be specified."

    We have made no assumption as to the Standard’s intent here.

  • The BNF nonterminal <method specification> is defined differently in two separate sections. We have made no assumption as to which definition is the correct one.

  • For the NEW statement, the Standard contains this suspicious looking grammer:

    "<new specification> ::= NEW <routine invocation>
       <new invocation> ::= <method invocation>"

    <new invocation> is not used elsewhere. We assume that the definition is actually “NEW <method invocation>”.

    If this assumption is incorrect, the first syntax rule for the NEW statement seems like it would work only for the main option:

    “1) Let RN be the <routine name> immediately contained in the <routine invocation>. Let MN be the <qualified identifier> immediately contained in RN.”

    Possibly what is meant is:

    “1) Let RN be the <routine name> immediately contained in the <routine invocation> or <method invocation>. Let MN be the <qualified identifier> immediately contained in RN.”

  • This note looks out of place, and in any case is superseded by Note 243:

    “NOTE 242 - The comparison categories of two user-defined types in the same type family must be the same.”

    Possibly what is meant is:

    “NOTE 242 - The comparison forms of two user-defined types in the same type family must be the same.”

  • The INFORMATION_SCHEMA.ATTRIBUTES view definition contains references to TABLE_CATALOG and COLUMN_DEFAULT columns – neither of which are applicable here. We assume they should be UDT_CATALOG and ATTRIBUTE_DEFAULT.

  • The DEFINITION_SCHEMA.ATTRIBUTES base table is also defined as having two columns – TABLE_CATALOG and TABLE_SCHEMA – which are not applicable here. We assume they should be UDT_CATALOG and UDT_SCHEMA.


    But everywhere else, such columns are defined on domain INFORMATION_SCHEMA.SQL_IDENTIFIER. We assume the intent is to be consistent here as well.

  • The NUMERIC_PRECISION_RADIX value for datetime / interval data types is unclear. The GetTypeInfo description of the ODBC 3.0 manual says: “If the data type is an approximate numeric type, this column contains the value 2 to indicate that COLUMN_SIZE specifies a number of bits. For exact numeric types, this column contains the value 10 to indicate that COLUMN_SIZE specifies a number of decimal digits. Otherwise, this column is NULL.”

    The same section in the SQL/CLI document says:

    "r) The value of NUM_PREC_RADIX is
         i) If the value of PRECISION is the value of a precision, then the radix of that precision.
         ii) Otherwise, the null value."

    While the definition of the DEFINITION_SCHEMA.DATA_TYPE_DESCRIPTOR base table, where this information is stored has this constraint:

    "    CHECK (
                        'TIME WITH TIME ZONE', 'TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE' )

    From the above quotes, some disagreements are visible:

    1. The writers of ODBC thought datetime/interval radices are nullable.

    2. The SQL/CLI writers had no idea PRECISION is a nonexistent column but agree that radices can be nullable if a data type has no precision.

    3. The foundation writers thought datetime/interval radices couldn’t be NULL.

    For GET_TYPE_INFO, we assume the first two quotes reflect the true intent: that NUMERIC_PRECISION_RADIX value for datetimes and intervals is NULL.

  • The definition of the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.ROLE_ROUTINE_GRANTS view contains:


    But these three columns do not exist in the ROUTINE_PRIVILEGES table. We assume these columns should be omitted from the view.

  • The definition of the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.ROLE_USER_DEFINED_TYPE_GRANTS view contains:


    But this column does not exist the in USER_DEFINED_TYPE_PRIVILEGES table. We assume this column should be omitted from the view.


  • The “Description of CLI item descriptors” says that DEFERRED is true if the octet length pointer points to SQL NULL DATA.

  • For SQLGetTypeInfo, NULL values are returned for sql_prefix and sql_suffix – i.e.: NULL is used to mean “blank string”. In other fields it means N/A.

  • For SQLExecute and SQLExecute, the general rules are ordered in such a way that input parameters will be checked for consistency AFTER execution. We assume that checking should take place before execution. The embedded SQL document has parameter-checking in the logical place.

  • The SQLDisconnect function description contains a reference to an exception “active SQL-statement”; we assume this should read “active SQL-transaction”.

  • The SQLGetData function description contains a reference to IP and DP, which do not exist.

  • The SQLSetDescField function description suggests that it is illegal to set the SQL_DESC_TYPE field to SQL_SMALLINT, SQL_INTEGER, SQL_REAL or SQL_DOUBLE_PRECISION (or several other legal data types). This is clearly an oversight.

  • The SQLSetDescField function description fails to state that the RecordNumber parameter should be ignored if FieldIdentifier is SQL_DESC_COUNT. We assume this is the case.

  • The SQLGetDescRec function description is ambiguous about the field to be used as the source for Length.

  • For SQLGetDiagField, the Standard says SQL_DIAG_MORE is associated with a return of 'Y' or 'N'. But SQL_DIAG_MORE is not defined as a string.

  • For SQLGetLength: exception “Invalid argument value” is undefined.

  • For SQLColumns: for a <fractional seconds precision>, the value is taken from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS.NUMERIC_PRECISION. The value is actually in INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS.DATETIME_PRECISION and we assume this is the intent. Also: the SQL_DATA_TYPE column has been forgotten; we assume it is included. Also: for calculating SQL_DATETIME_SUB, the Standard says one is supposed to use INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS.DATA_TYPE to look up a 'Code' – however, the information is actually in found in INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS.INTERVAL_TYPE; we assume this is the intent.

  • There is an implicit assumption that CAST is possible between two character sets (otherwise, why bother having character set in the descriptor IDA?). But CAST is illegal if repertoires differ.


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