Oracle SQL - Sort null values

Introduction

How should columns with missing information be sorted?

You have four options as to how to treat null values when sorting:

  • Always as first values regardless of the sorting order
  • Always as last values regardless of the sorting order
  • As low values, lower than any existing value
  • As high values, higher than any existing value

Oracle default behavior is as follows:

  • NULLS LAST is the default for ASC.
  • NULLS FIRST is the default for DESC.

Demo

SQL>
SQL>-- from  w w w.  ja  v  a2  s  .  com
SQL> drop table registrations;

Table dropped.

SQL> create table registrations(
  2  attendee    NUMBER(4)   not null,
  3  course    VARCHAR2(6) ,
  4  begindate   DATE      not null,
  5  evaluation  NUMBER(1)   check (evaluation in (1,2,3,4,5))) ;
SQL>
SQL> insert into registrations values (7002,'SQL',date '1999-04-12',4   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7934,'SQL',date '1999-04-12',5   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7006,'SQL',date '1999-04-12',4   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7011,'SQL',date '1999-04-12',2   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7008,'SQL',date '1999-10-04',NULL);
SQL> insert into registrations values (7009,'SQL',date '1999-10-04',3   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7902,'SQL',date '1999-10-04',4   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7902,'SQL',date '1999-12-13',NULL);
SQL> insert into registrations values (7006,'SQL',date '1999-12-13',NULL);
SQL> insert into registrations values (7003,'JSON',date '1999-08-10',4   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7012,'JSON',date '1999-08-10',4   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7902,'JSON',date '1999-08-10',5   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7010,'JSON',date '2000-09-27',5   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7002,'JAVA',date '1999-12-13',2   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7007,'JAVA',date '1999-12-13',NULL   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7011,'JAVA',date '1999-12-13',5   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7008,'JAVA',date '1999-12-13',5   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7009,'JAVA',date '1999-12-13',4   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7004,'JAVA',date '2000-02-01',3   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7008,'JAVA',date '2000-02-01',4   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7006,'JAVA',date '2000-02-01',5   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7012,'XML',date '2000-02-03',4   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7002,'XML',date '2000-02-03',5   );
SQL> insert into registrations values (7004,'PLS',date '2000-09-11',NULL);
SQL> insert into registrations values (7002,'PLS',date '2000-09-11',NULL);
SQL> insert into registrations values (7011,'PLS',date '2000-09-11',NULL);
SQL>
SQL>
SQL> select evaluation
  2  from   registrations
  3  where  attendee = 7008
  4  order  by evaluation;

EVALUATION
----------
  00004.00
  00005.00
 [N/A]

SQL>
SQL> select evaluation
  2  from   registrations
  3  where  attendee = 7008
  4  order  by evaluation DESC;

EVALUATION
----------
 [N/A]
  00005.00
  00004.00

SQL>
SQL>

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