I'm one of the people that try to avoid nulls when ever possible, usually using defaults. This is especially important since my apps do a lot of data exchange with external entities often involving flat files. A flat file can't
distinguish between a null or an empty value so to ensure consistancy between data types in both systems I try to make sure every field has some value. (E.g., If I have a null or empty string in a char field type a CSV flatfile shows
',,' for both. The target system might interpret this as an empty string or a null; I have no direct control. This could result in a null in one system and ' in another losing consistancy. For charactor and number types this is
rarely a problem if I communicate that there are no null fields in the data, but for dates it often becomes an issue.
Is there a industry standard approach to managing "empty dates" so I can make date fields not null and empty?
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