Are You Writing Fossilized T-SQL Code Every Day?

There’s a long list of SQL Server features that are deprecated; i.e., will not appear in some future version—such as perhaps the next version.  See for this list.

Ignoring the list is one of those things that can lock an organization into staying with an old, and eventually unsupported, version of SQL Server—or into retiring a system earlier than they would like, or into spending precious resources rewriting code.

Many items on the list will hit someone, forcing them to revise existing code.  But there are a few features that are so widely used that when they are removed the impact will be enormous.  I think Microsoft will be pressured not to remove them, but in order for the product to move forward sometimes it needs to be done. 

The Short List

Here are the ones from the list that I think will cause the most wide-spread problems:

  • Use of the SQL 2000 and earlier system tables—sysobjects, sysindexes, etc.  Microsoft always warned against using these but I’ve never worked in an organization that didn’t use them somewhere in their code.
  • And now the big one:  not ending T-SQL statements with a semicolon.  Think of all the lines of SQL code you have written, and that your colleagues have written, that are still in use.  What percentage have a semicolon at the end of each statement?

Coding habits die slowly.  I’ve found that even when presented with this warning from Microsoft, I have had great difficulty in getting programming groups to even seriously consider adding a semicolon at the end of each statement.  It’s not hard; it could probably become a habit within a few weeks for people who write a lot of T-SQL.  (That’s about how long it took for me to start typing it automatically).  And I think it actually makes the code easier to read.  But most people don’t want to fight the inertia.

How about you?