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Correcting Design Mistake - Primary Key Type

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  • Correcting Design Mistake - Primary Key Type

    I made a stupid mistake when I initially setup my SQL database a few years ago.
    The mistake was that I have used two different data types in two tables to refer to the same field. For example:

    Table 1:
    Machines with primary key machineid, data type numeric(12,0) <-- This is good

    Table 2:
    Repairs with primary key repairid.
    This table also has field machineid but here it was defined as datatype char(12) and is actually holding characters not numeric values. <-- This is bad!

    I want machineid in table 2 to be numeric not char.
    Ideally, I would like to convert machineid char(12) to numeric(12,0) but that's not possible.

    So, the thought was to rename machineid to machineid_old and create a new machineid field properly defined as numeric.
    Then I could do an UPDATE in table 2 and set machineid='1' where say machineid_old='Machine1'
    Of course, this would entail fixing all my code which used to refer to char but now refers to numeric.

    I got through the first part okay renaming and updating but then I quickly got bogged down with Alpha and got myself into too much of a mess.
    So basically I got frustrated and gave up but it still bugs the heck out of me.

    Do any of you database gurus have any sage advise or an easier way to approach this design mistake?
    Alpha Anywhere v12. Build 7582-5569 IIS v10.0 on Windows Server 2019 Std in Hyper-V

  • #2
    Re: Correcting Design Mistake - Primary Key Type

    I guess if you have a lot of linking grids etc it might be an issue. But I have done this typically in fairly short order. One way to do it if it is a real problem for you is to keep the machineid field just as it is for now. Add the new numeric id with a different name like mac_id or something. Update that field. Put in a trigger for you inserts to update the machineid based upon the mac_id. That keeps the old system in sync with the new one. Then do your Alpha conversions at your own pace. When it's all done. backup the sql and remove the machineid field and the trigger.
    AlphaBase Solutions, LLC


    • #3
      Re: Correcting Design Mistake - Primary Key Type


      I never thought about doing it that way, I like your way of thinking. This sounds very doable.
      I'll have to read up on how to set up triggers.

      Thanks very much for your thoughts. Really appreciate it.

      Last edited by iRadiate; 12-10-2013, 02:01 PM.
      Alpha Anywhere v12. Build 7582-5569 IIS v10.0 on Windows Server 2019 Std in Hyper-V


      • #4
        Re: Correcting Design Mistake - Primary Key Type

        Well it took me a lot of looking at how to do triggers but I finally have it set up and working. When a user inserts or updates a record, the MacID is set to the proper numeric MachineID based on the incorrect char MachineID.

        CREATE TRIGGER tr_Repairs_Set_MacID
        ON Repairs
        FOR Insert, Update
           DECLARE @ID int
           SELECT @ID = RepairID From Inserted
           UPDATE Repairs
              SET MACID = CASE WHEN MachineID = '21A' THEN 1
                               WHEN MachineID = '21B' THEN 25
                               WHEN MachineID = '21C' THEN 19
                               WHEN MachineID = '21D' THEN 4
                               WHEN MachineID = '21E' THEN 21
                               WHEN MachineID = '21F' THEN 17
                               WHEN MachineID = '21G' THEN 7
                               WHEN MachineID = '21H' THEN 8
                               WHEN MachineID = '21I' THEN 9
                               WHEN MachineID = 'Tomo' THEN 10
                               WHEN MachineID = 'CT1' THEN 11
                               WHEN MachineID = 'CT2' THEN 24
                               WHEN MachineID = 'Pantak' THEN 13
                               ELSE NULL
        So now I have it being kept in sync. On to making the web components work with the new MacID. Feel like I'm getting somewhere with this now.
        Thanks again Peter
        Alpha Anywhere v12. Build 7582-5569 IIS v10.0 on Windows Server 2019 Std in Hyper-V


        • #5
          Re: Correcting Design Mistake - Primary Key Type

          Okay, well maybe not quite there yet.
          The trigger is updating ALL MacID values when I really only want to update the current record.

          Is there a way in the SQL query get the current record and UPDATE only the current record. I think I need a WHERE @ID = RepairID From Inserted or something like that but I can't make it work with the CASE statement?
          Alpha Anywhere v12. Build 7582-5569 IIS v10.0 on Windows Server 2019 Std in Hyper-V