The Mystery Table

Yes I know. I don't post much here any more. But I work in a PostgresSQL database now. Thought I would recount some challenges I had in the DB today. Needed to make some last minute changes in a function. This function dynamically inserts data into tables. Turns out it was using a mishmash of source columns as input. Needed to handle a couple of scenarios based on whether the primary input was NULL.

It was easy enough. I inspected the catalog to figure out the sets of data I needed to choose from. There is no NVL function in this DB. So instead I had to use CASE expressions. I coded up the changes, compiled them into the database, and executed my function. The good news is I got all the primary data I needed. Unfortunately the copy of production data I had did not exercise all paths.

Okay. I could just clone some records in my own schema, modify them to simulate the second data set, and rock and roll. Unfortunately I don't have my own schema. I just share a schema with my whole team. We usually just make sure all objects are owned by a role. And we all have that role. That works until somebody creates an object and forgets to reassign ownership.

Wouldn't you know it? Somebody created the table I needed in our common schema. But they did not share ownership. I could not even select rows from the table. I needed to modify data in that table. What was my solution? We were running out of time, so I created a similar table with another name. Then I modified my function to use this other table. Hack? Yes. But it worked to test out my logic.