Have you ever wanted to be able to SELECT a random record or records from a database table, but was unsure how to do it with SQL, instead of through code?
I ran across this problem a few years ago when I was developing Vibez.ca. Vibez, if you would like to know, is an electronic music community that I developed when I first got into doing web development almost 6 years ago, and was written in ASP with Access (I know, I know …).
What I needed, was a way to SELECT one random link from the Links Directory, every time someone viewed the main page. I wasn’t able to properly figure out how to accomplish this, and ended up slapping together some code to give me the end result that I wanted. If you were to ever see the code, you probably would feel sick to your stomach.
Now that I’m in the planning stages of rewriting the site in ASP.Net with SQL Server 2005 replacing the Access back-end, I decided to revisit this problem and see if there was an easier way to do this.
Fortunately there is a way to do it in SQL Server (and MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, DB2, SQLite, and yes, even your favourite, MS Access), and I’ll show you how.