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With "cell" I mean the value of a particular column in a particular row. I'm not sure if its called just "cell" or this is a spreadsheet thing.


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For what I know, cell is used only in spreadsheets. In db that's a field... –  Marco May 13 '11 at 6:44
@Marco: A column cannot have a value, there are multiple rows. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Column_(database) or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_(computer_science) –  Lee Kowalkowski May 13 '11 at 6:46
@Lee Kowalkowski: I was just editing my comment, thanks :) –  Marco May 13 '11 at 6:47
Cell is not a reference to the value in a spreadsheet, its a reference to a placeholder for the value. That is why "value" is not an accurate equivalent. –  Lee Kowalkowski May 13 '11 at 13:39
Read the banner from Joe Celko's blog: "Rows are not records; fields are not columns; tables are not files!!" –  a_horse_with_no_name 14 hours ago

2 Answers 2

I would just call it a value.

+1. A database "field" is equivalent to a spreadsheet "column". The field gets filled in with values on each row. –  Dan Ray May 13 '11 at 12:54
@Dan Ray: Saying the field gets filled with values on each row does not prove equivalence, because saying the column gets filled with values on each row would be a confusing thing to say when column can refer to all the values within the column. You're using the term field and qualified it with "each row", meaning you've referred to the points where columns and rows intersect. –  Lee Kowalkowski May 13 '11 at 13:03
But a value is what's in the cell, what do you call the cell, i.e. the placeholder? –  Lee Kowalkowski May 13 '11 at 13:40
There is no "cell", no "placeholder" in a database. I would say you select/insert/update the "column" on the specified row(s). A "field" or "cell" only appears when you view the data in a screen or report of some sort. You could say I'm being pedantic; to which I would reply: it depends on exactly how you define "pedantic" ;-) –  Tony Andrews May 13 '11 at 13:53
This is turning almost philosophical. I'm not a DB expert at all, but just by common sense, if the value of a column called "A" at row 1 (where Id = 1) is 20, and then, tomorrow, the value of column "A" at row 1 is 30 because someone changed it, the value of what just changed? You might say "the value of a column at a particular row". So then can we come up with a name for that thing you refer to as "a column at a particular row"? If we would name it "value" we would have to say that "the value of the value" changed. –  Juan May 15 '11 at 0:00

Internally, we use the term 'co-ordinate' -i.e. a table reference, a column reference and a row reference (primary key). That should uniquely identify any table value.


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