Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mayfly starts to get options, sooner than I thought it would

OK, a few weeks ago I mused about whether Mayfly was going to need some options (in that case, to set how it handles data types). Well, most of the reasons I imagine for options still remain in the future: "some day we may need/want this". But I did start adding an option to Mayfly. What was the first option? Some profound difference of philosophy about the data model which SQL should present? Maybe the ever-popular "should SQL be more relational?" or the subtle and deep issues around handling of SQL NULL?

No, nothing like that.

It is for case sensitive table names.

The SQL standard, and all databases I know except one, say that table names are case insensitive.

I say, "all databases except one". MIFOS of course is using that one (MySQL). And it is worse than "MySQL makes table names case sensitive". MySQL makes table names case sensitive only if file names are case sensitive (typically Unix). The practical effect of this is that half our team has case insensitive filenames and half has case sensitive ones, and the first group is often accidentally breaking the build (but only for the second group).

I thought a bit about various solutions, and there's a lot to be said about just having Mayfly run in case sensitive mode (on all platforms). So yeah, the CVS version of Mayfly has a method in Database called tableNamesCaseSensitive. Give me a few more days and most of Mayfly should honor it (large parts already do).

Yet another example of how it is hard to anticipate what will really be important (along with familiar cases like prioritizing software features only once you see what users look for and miss when they try to use a prototype, or only doing performance tuning once you have measured where the bottlenecks are).

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