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CHAPTER 5 DEFINING TABLES
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Try It Out: Defining a Table
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1. Ensure that SQL Server Management Studio is running. 2. Expand the Object Explorer so that you can see the ApressFinancial database, created in 3. 3. Expand the ApressFinancial database so that you can see the Tables node, as shown in Figure 5-2.
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Figure 5-2. ApressFinancial with no tables 4. Right-click the Tables node and select New Table. This will take you into the Table Designer. Figure 5-3 shows how the Table Designer looks when you first enter it.
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Figure 5-3. Creating our first table with no columns as yet 5. From this screen, you need to enter the details for each column within the table. Enter the first column, CustomerId, in the Column Name column. When naming columns, try to avoid using spaces. Either keep the column names without spaces, like I have done with CustomerId, or use an underscore (_) instead of a space. It is perfectly valid to have column names with spaces. However, to use these columns in SQL code, we have to surround the names by square brackets, [], which is very cumbersome.
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CHAPTER 5 DEFINING TABLES
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At the moment, notice that Column Properties in the middle of Figure 5-3 is empty. This will fill up when you start entering a data type after entering the column name. The Column Properties section is just as crucial as the top half of the screen where you enter the column name and data type. 6. The drop-down combo box that lists the data types is one of the first areas provided by SQL Server to help us with table creation. This way we don t have to remember every data type there is within SQL Server. By having all the necessary values listed, it is simple enough to just select the most suitable one. In this instance we want to select bigint, as shown in Figure 5-4.
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Figure 5-4. Selecting our data type 7. The final major item when creating a column within a table is the Allow Nulls check box option. If you don t check the box, some sort of data must be placed in this column. Leaving the check box in the default state will allow NULL values in the column, which is not recommended if the data is required (name, order number, etc.). You can also allow NULLs for numeric columns, so instead of needing to enter a zero, you can just skip over that column when it comes to entering the data. In this instance, we want data to be populated within every row, so remove the check mark. 8. The Column Properties section for our column will now look like the screen shown in Figure 5-5. Take a moment to peruse this section. We can see the name, whether we are allowing NULLs, and the type of data we are storing. There will be changes to what is displayed depending on the data type chosen. 9. We want this column to be an identity column. If you have not already done so, within the Column Properties area expand the Identity Specification node, as we need to set the Is Identity property to Yes. This will set the Identity Increment to 1 and the Identity Seed to 1 as well, as shown in Figure 5-6. 10. It is now possible to add in a few more columns before we get to the next interesting item as in Figure 5-7. Go ahead and do so now. Not everybody will have more than a first name and last name, although some people may have initials. Therefore, we will allow NULL values for any initials they may have. We leave the box checked on the CustomerOtherInitials column, as shown in Figure 5-7. We also alter the length of this column to 10 characters, which should be more than enough. 11. We can now define our final columns, which you see in Figure 5-8. The last column will record when the account was opened. This can be done by setting the default value of the DateAdded column. The default value can be a constant value, the value from a function, or a value bound to a formula defined here. For the moment we will use a SQL Server function that returns the current date and time, GETDATE(), as shown in Figure 5-8. Then every time a row is added, it is not necessary for a value to be entered for this column, as SQL Server will put the date and time in for you.
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