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Why are bitwise operands useful?

Posted on 2007-11-24
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
I noticed that MSSQL provides quite extensive support for bitwise operands (& | ~ ^ ), and I'm wondering why on earth they might be useful.  Does anyone have any good uses for these in practice?
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Question by:PaultheBroker
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by:Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]
ID: 20343542
when you have a field where you store bitwise information, like on/off flags.

the databases view is a good example, it's status field actually contains many different status flags.
using bitwise operations, you can easily extract a single bit flag from it.
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by:PaultheBroker
ID: 20343607
Hi Angel !  - OK - I know I said I was 'Advanced' but can you give an example of the above?  :)  I'm not sure what you mean by the 'databases view' and don't get how using these bitwise operands will help....
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3] earned 1000 total points
ID: 20343658
ok, here we go:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms179900.aspx

look at the explanation of the status, status2 and category fields.
you see the (decimal) values, which are however added up as bit values:

1 = 0000000000001
2 = 0000000000010
4 = 0000000000100
8 = 0000000001000
etc.

so, adding up 2 status values (by bitwise OR), you would get for example 1+2=
3 = 0000000000011

now, to see afterwards if a certain bit value is set, you again use a bit mask operation (AND):
checking out if status=2 is "set", you do:
status & 2  
if that returns 2, it means that that bit is set.


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Author Comment

by:PaultheBroker
ID: 20343752
Great !  - actually, just found another example in the BOL (which thanks to your clear explanation above I now understand...)

IF @@OPTIONS & 512 > 0
   RAISERROR ('Current user has SET NOCOUNT turned on.',1,1)
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Expert Comment

by:Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]
ID: 20343755
yes, exactly
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Assisted Solution

by:imitchie
imitchie earned 1000 total points
ID: 20380083
http://Q_22992466.html
SELECT    SUM(value) as "UP", SUM(value^1) as "DOWN"
FROM            ItemVote
WHERE           itemID = '#attributes.itemID#'

quick way to select both sides of a coin (bit)
btw, the #s are from CF
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Author Closing Comment

by:PaultheBroker
ID: 31410786
Thanks to both of you...I'm sure there are more out there, but a week is about as long as I think reasonable to hold this question open.  Maybe other uses will occur in due time !!
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