SQL RAND Function

SQL RAND Function

The SQL RAND() function is used to generate some random numbers at run time. Here is the syntax:

Syntax

RAND ( [ seed ] )

Repetitive calls of RAND() with the same seed value return the same results.

For one connection, if RAND() is called with a specified seed value, all subsequent calls of RAND() produce results based on the seeded RAND() call. For example, the following query will always return the same sequence of numbers.

SELECT RAND(100), RAND(), RAND()

Examples:

The following example produces four different random numbers that are generated by the RAND function.

DECLARE @counter smallint
SET @counter = 1
WHILE @counter < 5
BEGIN
SELECT RAND() Random_Number
SET @counter = @counter + 1
END
GO

The following example returns random float numbers based on three different seed values.

CREATE TABLE Random (Seed1 float, Seed5 float, Seed10 float)
INSERT INTO Random Values (RAND(1), RAND(5), RAND(10))
SELECT * FROM Random

The RAND function is a pseudorandom number generator that operates in a manner similar to the C run-time library rand function. If no seed is provided, the system generates its own variable seed numbers. If you call RAND with a seed value, you must use variable seed values to generate random numbers. If you call RAND multiple times with the same seed value, it returns the same generated value. The following script returns the same value for the calls to RAND because they all use the same seed value:

SELECT RAND(159784)
SELECT RAND(159784)
SELECT RAND(159784)

A common way to generate random numbers from RAND is to include something relatively variable as the seed value, such as adding several parts of a GETDATE:

SELECT RAND( (DATEPART(mm, GETDATE()) * 100000 )
+ (DATEPART(ss, GETDATE()) * 1000 )
+ DATEPART(ms, GETDATE()) )

When you use an algorithm based on GETDATE to generate seed values, RAND can still generate duplicate values if the calls to RAND are made within the interval of the smallest datepart used in the algorithm. This is especially likely when the calls to RAND are included in a single batch. Multiple calls to RAND in a single batch can be executed within the same millisecond. This is the smallest increment of DATEPART. In this case, incorporate a value based on something other than time to generate the seed values.

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Introduction to SQL

SQL is a standard language for accessing and manipulating databases.

What is SQL?

  • SQL stands for Structured Query Language
  • SQL lets you access and manipulate databases
  • SQL is an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard

What Can SQL do?

  • SQL can execute queries against a database
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SQL is a Standard – BUT….
Although SQL is an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard, there are many different versions of the SQL language.

However, to be compliant with the ANSI standard, they all support at least the major commands (such as SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE, INSERT, WHERE) in a similar manner.

Note: Most of the SQL database programs also have their own proprietary extensions in addition to the SQL standard!

Using SQL in Your Web Site

To build a web site that shows some data from a database, you will need the following:

  • An RDBMS database program (i.e. MS Access, SQL Server, MySQL)
  • A server-side scripting language, like PHP or ASP
  • SQL
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RDBMS

RDBMS stands for Relational Database Management System.

RDBMS is the basis for SQL, and for all modern database systems like MS SQL Server, IBM DB2, Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft Access.

The data in RDBMS is stored in database objects called tables.
A table is a collections of related data entries and it consists of columns and rows.