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Thread: MS SQL Server date and time

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    MS SQL Server date and time

    I am struggling to read date and time directly from the database in which I stores it and formatted it as date and time.
    From some threads I see it is probably a better practise to store it in varchar format.
    What is the best practise.
    Thanks.
    PK

  2. #2
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    What do you mean by you're having trouble reading data an time from your database? And NO NO NO! You should NOT store it as a varchar. Always store it as a DateTime. You wouldn't store an integer as a varchar, would you? No. So don't do the same to a datetime. Give it some dignity. Treat it with some respect and store it as a datetime. As for formatting it, I'd personally leave that to the front end... but that's just me. But there are ways to do that in the database too.

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    A SQL Server fool GaryMazzone's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    I have to agree with tg here. You should always store the values in the proper data type for what they are in the database. I've had to go and fix this stuff on peoples systems (as a consultant) when they stored everything as a varchar and then complained when things did not work as expected
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    TG and GM, Thanks so much. Can I store date as Date and time as Time?
    In my query I have formatted it so:

    format(appointments.startdate,'dd-MMM-yy'), format(appointments.starttime,'HH:mm'),

    But it does not show up on my grid, whilst I know there are values in there.

    PK

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    What TG and GM probably meant: Don't try to format in the SQL-Query. Leave that to the Frontend.

    Just pull your StartDate and StartTime "as is" from the DB, and then use the Format-Function for Display.

    Well, except you use DB-bound controls like DBGrid or whatever, then you have to Format the Output of the SQL-Query from within the Query, but that's just reading the Doc's for T-SQL

    EDIT: btw: Why do you have 2 separate fields? 1 Field with DataType "DateTime" is enough
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    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    If you hear a loud thumping, it's me banging my head into the desk. DateTime... DateTime.... There is no Time datatype... there's a Date and a DateTime ... Just store the date and time together in a DateTime in a single field... there is no reason to store them separated. None. Period. Full stop. The time takes place on a given day, right? They are not two separate things. They go hand in hand together.

    As for the formatting... again, I'll reiterate, do the formatting on the front-end. If you can get your query to return the data correctly, regardless of the format, do the formatting in the front-end. you can (or should be able to anyway) apply formatting to an entire column of data in the grid, then once you bind the data to the grid, it will format the data - providing the datatype is correct, which it will be since it is a datetime - correctly.


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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Thanks all you guys, I appreciate.
    TG, I wish to plead for some mitigating circumstances, if your desk has not been damaged beyond repair.
    When I have an appointment, people will many times only change the time of the meeting or other times only its date, so when I have one field for both, I need to go and read and rewrite the date when I only needed to change the time.
    PK

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    So what??? You would still be updating a field. Don't complicate things. There is rarely a need for keeping date and time in separate fields, and your example is definitely not one of them.

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    A SQL Server fool GaryMazzone's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Time is a valid data type but why use 2 fields just update or save one. Use the front end to format and display it
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    I feel somewhat inspired and intimidated by the knowledge of you guys and I am a newbie to MS SQL Server. I also appreciate the advice I get here and take it seriously, and that is why I will always be here on this Forum, the best on the Net for VB6. I have programmed in VB since Basic80 in 1975 and I am letting go of Access with tears in my eyes, but never of VB6, which I regard the ultimate tool for putting nuts and bolts together. Of course I would loathe VB.NET as I am not in the game of fitting four or five large components to build a car. Building up a car with millions of micro screws and parts is my game.
    So ... my environment is a bit different.
    And so, what I do is that I use a MSHflexgrid to show recordsets, and I use the individual cells to edit those recordsets. The way I do that is to place a relevant control over the cell on the enter_cell event, I let the user change the data on the control and update the data from the control to the database on the leave_cell event.
    Because I do not have a control that allows me to let the user select a date and a time simultaneously, I need, of necessity display and edit date and time in two separate cells, using variations of the DatePicker control.
    But that is not the only consideration.
    I also have users of many authority levels, some of whom may or may not enter certain cells, so I set an authority level on every cell or column and when a user enters a cell, that authority level decides whether he/she may edit that cell.
    I had thought that keeping time and dates apart for certain functions, like appointments works quite well in this type of setup.
    But ... I hear what you guys say and I need to work out a simply editing of the two parts of a date time field in a simple way in SQL Server, as I try to migrate from Access, the easiest and most user friendly database.
    I have asked many questions on this forum whether I should migrate and to what and was advised to leave Access, which is hard for me, knowing it so well. My maximum table size will be 500 000 records, and as I read the specs of Access, it is able to accommodate that up to 2 GB for all tables.

    PK

  11. #11
    A SQL Server fool GaryMazzone's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    I migrated away from Access a long while ago because of the issues I had with large tables. I would load water records from wells/test sites around nuclear power plants and it would always corrupt the data.... I would get 1/2 of the records in and then the load would fail... I had to do a repair on the database and the start the load from the failure point on. Some times I could do one repair and the load would complete and other it would take 3 or 4 rounds. So I moved away... I also found that the security offered by MS SQL Server or Oracle for the data was much better
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peekay View Post
    And so, what I do is that I use a MSHflexgrid to show recordsets, and I use the individual cells to edit those recordsets. The way I do that is to place a relevant control over the cell on the enter_cell event, I let the user change the data on the control and update the data from the control to the database on the leave_cell event.
    Because I do not have a control that allows me to let the user select a date and a time simultaneously, I need, of necessity display and edit date and time in two separate cells, using variations of the DatePicker control.
    I don't think any one said let the user edit it in one cell... the advice is for YOU to UPDATE the table in one cell... the problem (and it's not just you that does this, it's a pervasive problem I see from a lot of people, so it's nothing personal, I think it's just a common human, natural thing to do, and I totally get it) is that people tend to want to design their tables based on their display rather than what the data actually represents. You can (and should) in this case, store the date and time in a single field. Then when you SELECT the data, split the two pieces of information apart into two fields... one being the date, and the other being the time ... that can then be displayed to the user, edited and so on... then when you save... you put the two pieces back together when you update the field in the table. Granted it means you can't just simply use a disconnected recordset and do a simple .Update or .UpdateBatch... it might mean doing a loop through your recordset and passing everything to a stored proc that will then do an UPDATE on the table. Or, maybe there is a better/easier way that involves a hidden field or something... maybe someone has a better idea. It's early, I havent' had all my coffee yet and I'm still not thinking clearly yet, but I do know for certain that keeping the date and time together in single field is the way tog go.



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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    I also agree that it should be a single field in the DB and I would do so no matter which DB I am using. I used Access a lot back in the day and still do from time to time. Most of my newer projects use SQL Server or SQLLite though. As far as database goes there is not much difference in working with them. Access has a lot of extra stuff that you will not find in the others but I rarely used any of those features anyway.

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Thanks guys, I will do so.
    If I upgrade should I go to SQL Server or SQLLite for the quantity of data I have?
    I have not used stored procedures yet and do not foresee using it, so maybe SQLLite is an easier way for me to go, SQLLite being a file based and not server based database, as I understand. Newbie to that too.

    PK

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Thanks guys, I will do so.

    If I upgrade should I go to SQL Server or SQLLite for the quantity of data I have?
    I have not used stored procedures yet and do not foresee using it, so maybe SQLLite is an easier way for me to go, SQLLite being a file based and not server based database, as I understand. I am a newbie to that too.

    PK

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peekay View Post
    Thanks guys, I will do so.

    If I upgrade should I go to SQL Server or SQLLite for the quantity of data I have?
    I have not used stored procedures yet and do not foresee using it, so maybe SQLLite is an easier way for me to go, SQLLite being a file based and not server based database, as I understand. I am a newbie to that too.

    PK
    You need to let go of the notion that sql is a big scary thing that requires tons of expertise to run. There are tons of options and things you can do to get maximum performance, but the default settings will likely work great for your usage.

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Thanks DllHell,
    I am not scared of SQL Server, but I need to consider all the possibilities. It will take weeks or months for me to convert my programs from Access, and I cannot decide lightly over it.
    I am prepared to work with SQL Server as I am already doing on an experimental basis and it works for me, thus I started this thread to get the best practises as I go.
    PK

  18. #18
    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Here is a counter argument. I never store time in a "date time" datatype. I always store time in a varchar(4) field. With military storage - 24 hr...

    And I ALWAYS format my dates in the SQL query with Convert(varchar(10),SomeDateField,101) so that they are consistently formatted with 01/01/2019 (leading zeroes). That formatting of the date in the query has been a 10-commandment in my shop for 20 years - used in 100% of the queries produced (which are 100% of the time in stored procedures).

    Of course if I am using a timestamp type of field then I do allow the DATE TIME datatype to store both a DATE and TIME and I format with 121 instead of 101. And that is also done consistently - 100% of the time for decades now.

    Lets go theoretical. Let's say we have a CHECK IN DATE and a CHECK IN TIME. On the surface they are two different entities. And that is further amplified if we add a CHECK OUT TIME (assuming that all visits happen in a single day). All three of these items are distinct and nothing drives me towards wanting to attach the CHECK IN TIME to the CHECK IN DATE for storage other then the simple fact that MS gave us a date type like that! Let's say I want to look for all people who checked in prior to 8:00 am on any given date? Seems like having the CHECK IN TIME in a separate field surely helps that WHERE clause be more natural. If I attach the date to the time then how would I WHERE clause that? Subtract or remove the date? I guess we have all these fancy CONVERT options - those could be used. But we certainly are perverting the WHERE clause to "remove" the "date portion" in that case.

    Basically from my point of view, NEVER attach a TIME to a DATE for storage.

    Some of my views are constrained by the methods I use to serve up data to users - and also my desire to allow easy access to data through tools like Excel (and some of my own home grown view methods). I'm big into 4GL and big on putting 100% of my business logic in SPROCS.

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    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Code:
    WHERE DatePart(hour, checkInTime) <= 8
    No conversion... easy peasy... in fact, it's less conversion than if it was stored as a char... how would you do it?


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  20. #20
    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Not sure how this could be more clear...
    Code:
    Where CheckInTime <= "0800"

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    szlamany,

    What a fresh and divergent view! I appreciate, and that is after all why we are here. To hear divergent views.
    That is also why I asked what the best practise was for times and dates, because I saw your approach in other threads in other forums.
    I have really learned much here in the altercations we have had and again wish to thank you all.

    PK

  22. #22
    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    You are very welcome - healthy debate is always good stuff!

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  23. #23
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Switching existing code from Access backend to SQL Server backend is simple if the code is written in a compatible manner. Namely using ADO and not using any of the Access specific functions.
    On the other hand in the original code uses DAO it can be a big deal to convert and much worse if it makes use of Access specific methods and DAO extended properties.

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Have you considered making a UserControl that wraps a graphical CheckBox and a DTPicker so the user can flip between date and time modes?

    Quick example:

    Name:  sshot.png
Views: 94
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    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by dilettante; May 2nd, 2019 at 09:08 AM. Reason: reposted with minor tweaks

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Datamiser,
    I have thankfully already put all my DAO over to ADO - that was a Job!!

    Dilettante,
    That would be wonderful to have. I will try it. Thanks
    PK

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Dilettante,
    How do I make an ocx file from a ctl file?
    PK

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    I presumed that I can only run the user control project or publish the control to do that. However, it gives me an error on this code line.

    DTPicker1.Value = .ReadProperty("Value") - data value name "Value" not found.

    PK

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Dilettante,
    I created a new user control with your code and it works well now, Thank you so much.

    PK

  29. #29
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Glad to see you got it sorted out. Good luck.

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    For your information.

    The DTPicker does not respond to a customformat(HH:mm) property when you have selected Custom under format, although it does not give an error. I might be wrong, but I could not get it right.
    If you do not want the seconds to show on that control, change your regional settings for long time to what you need here. It does not allow the short time format on the control.

    PK

  31. #31
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Well it does help to read the fine manual.

    Since the child text box is a mask edit control you have to use formatting strings appropriate for such. Here is an example:

    Code:
    'Hard-coded custom formats:
    Private Const FORMAT_DATE As String = "d'-'M'-'yyy"
    Private Const FORMAT_TIME As String = "H':'m"
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    Name:  sshot2.png
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    I didn't add properties for the two CustomFormat values needed (FormatDate and FormatTime) but I'm sure you can add the extra code to support them if hardcoded values aren't good enough.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  32. #32

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Thanks dilettante. I will try it.
    PK

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Adjust the format strings to something appropriate. Most people will probably prefer "minutes" to have 2 digits with left-zero fill.

  34. #34

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    dilettante,

    I have decided that it would be better for me to have two DTPicker controls 1 and 2 on the user control, the one above the other and not changing their properties from time to date and vice versa.
    So I do not need the Check control and the two images.
    The top one showing time in format HH;mm and the lower one dates as short date (dd-MMM-yy).
    I have tried to change the code of your latest one to that, but did not get it right as I am not as conversant as you with user controls (and a lot of other things!).
    Do you mind giving me the code for this setup? In the process I can also learn from your coding to become more conversant with user controls.
    I appreciate the time you have spent on this already.

    Thanks
    PK

  35. #35
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    The problem with trying to use two DTPickers is that you only have one Date value.

    You might possibly make this work by coupling both of them to a DataSource object. The UserControl instance itself might even be made to be its own DataSource for this rather than using a separate DataSource Class for just one simple value, but that might get messy.

    Alternatively I suppose you might try relying on the GotFocus and LostFocus events to shuffle copies of the most recent value between the two.

    Either way you do it, trying to use this "DoubleDTP" as a marquee for a FlexGrid cell could be problematic. I was already worried that the Button/CheckBox might make the UserControl too wide to work well. But taking that out and stacking two DTPickers only makes matters worse, doesn't it?

    I can take a look at it though.


    If you split the date-part and time-part as two separate Date values then you would have two columns so you don't need a DoubleDTP any more. I'm not convinced that's a good solution at all, but since it is easier that might be why it was suggested above.

  36. #36
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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    Ok, it seems easy enough to couple the two together by relying on their Change events. So if this is what you really want or at least kind of close here it is:

    Name:  sshot.png
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    That was pretty simple so maybe I have misinterpreted what you needed. If so you can probably make adjustments as required.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by dilettante; May 3rd, 2019 at 04:03 PM. Reason: reposted attachment with a bug fix

  37. #37

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    Re: MS SQL Server date and time

    This is excellent, thanks dilettante.

    Your first one was very innovative, but I fear my users might make a mistake when updating if they do not see both date and time simultaneously.

    PK

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