# Re: OUTER JOIN and DISJUNCTION

From: Simon Raboczi <raboczi@tucanatech.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 16:57:01 +1000
Message-Id: <B770E47E-379C-11D9-889A-000A95C5686E@tucanatech.com>

To: Eric Prud'hommeaux <eric@w3.org>
```

On 16/11/2004, at 3:11, Eric Prud'hommeaux wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 16, 2004 at 12:42:39AM +1000, Simon Raboczi wrote:
>
>> Can you demonstrate for the simplest case of
>>
>> SELECT ?a ?b WHERE (?a <x:p1> <x:o1>) UNION (?b <x:p2> <x:o2>)
>>
>> targeting a graph with the following triples
>>
>> <x:s1> <x:p1> <x:o1> .
>> <x:s2> <x:p2> <x:o2> .
>>
>> I'd expect the result
>>
>> +--------+--------+
>> |   ?a   |   ?b   |
>> +--------+--------+
>> | <x:s1> |        |
>> |        | <x:s2> |
>> +--------+--------+
>
>> What's the equivalent SPARQL using [ ] instead of UNION?
>
> The simple way would be to again reduce the sides of the conjunction
> to a single triple as we did in SQL:
>
> SELECT ?a ?b WHERE (?s ?p ?o)
>                AND ((?p=<x:p1> AND ?o=<x:o1>)
>                  OR (?p=<x:p2> AND ?o=<x:o2>))

Sneaky!  You've replaced UNION in the WHERE clause by OR in the AND
clause.  I didn't think of that because I'm still desperately hoping
the difference between the WHERE and AND clauses will somehow go away.
:)  I certainly agree that WHERE-UNION can always be transformed into
AND-OR, but I think this is a separate issue to being able to replace
it with outer join.

> If you want a challenge, and add NULLs to the language, maybe you can
> do it was a disjunction. You need a throw-away truth for this.
> Something like
>
>
> SELECT ?a ?b WHERE (moon madeOf greenCheese)
>                    [?a <x:p1> <x:o1>]
>                    [?b <x:p2> <x:o2>]
>                AND (?a IS NULL OR ?b IS NULL)
>
> but that assumes that you'll get a match on the astronomical trivia.
> You can be more assured that (?s ?p ?o) will match, and since the
> results are a set, you get no more logical results, but that might
> be a bit pricey to actually execute.

I'm pretty sure what happens here is that the (moon madeOf greenCheese)
LHS evaluates to the "always true" result, which has one unique
solution with no variable bindings.  Outer joins always have the same
number of solutions as their LHS argument, so the result after the two
optional clauses will still have one solution.  The AND clause might
reduce this to zero.  However, there's no way it'll ever produce two
solutions as would be needed to match the behavior of UNION.
```
Received on Tuesday, 16 November 2004 06:57:40 UTC

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