Curse of the leading zero


October 14, 2014 | 0

Now lets be absolutely clear about one thing. Zero is just as good a number as any other.  In fact I have nothing against it. So nothing that I say now in any way implies the opposite. Except for one thing:

Why do systems and businesses insist on using leading zeros for data keys?  For example, where I have an Account code, why is it that a system will come up with “00000000000000000001552” instead of “1552”

Ok, ok , I hear you say. You need the zeros because we might want to embed letters into the code one day. That’s a valid reason, and I’ve seen this happen. But did we add the letters in because we needed it, or because we could? And if that was what we needed, why didn’t we do this to start out with?
What am I going on about? Take a look at these two images:

What am I going on about? Take a look at these two images:


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