Code Building Code

The dream for some people is to have an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that you use to describe some requirements and it will build an application that meets your needs. Certainly some AI and ML systems have reduced the need to write code for portions of an application, but I don’t think there is any AI framework that can build an entire application from scratch.

I was reading a blog post recently on using metadata in our database to produce a CREATE TABLE statement that could hold the output of a query. It’s not AI, but this is something I’ve done in the past, using code to help me get work done.

Excel was one of my earliest helpers and still is. I find myself sometimes using Excel to build a series of statements that follow a pattern, but the contents of which might be based on some result set. A common example is a set of inserts based on some data. I use values in cells to build up a final statement and then copy these to SSMS or another tool and execute them. It’s quick and dirty, but it works well.

In the past I have written code that would build other object code, usually to provide some API constructs for developers. In a few environments, we have had some standards about how to structure tables, views, and stored procedures, including at times an API-like standard that required certain functionality be implemented in stored procedures. Using a code writing stored procedure allowed me to quickly ensure that the required stored procedures were created and modified as tables were added or altered. This also ensured that we kept all these changes in sync, without depending on my to review every part of the API.

I don’t know that I’ll see a true AI system that we can give a few specifications to and have it build a system, but the more we implement standards and known structures, the more we can use code to help us ensure those standards are implemented in a consistent manner. Using templates in our work, such as powerful snippets in SQL Prompt, along with code analysis that looks for poor practices can help us write better applications. Even if it doesn’t do all the work, these helper tools certainly improve the quality of the code we do write.

Steve Jones

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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