Don't use OILS

Don't use OILS.  Ever.  Just don't.

No, I don't mean essential oils, and I don't mean petroleum.  This isn't a post about the evils of the supplement industry or petroleum cartels, although I do love my 2001 Honda Civic GX that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG).

I'm talking about these four letters in the alphabet: O - I - L - S.  That's "oh - eye - eL - ess".  Specifically, don't use these letters for numbering records in business systems (ERP) and their databases.

In ERP and SQL, we assign unique numbers to records like invoices or purchase orders.  This helps users differentiate each records.  We also often use "smart numbering" to differentiate them from other record types.  We may not want sales order 57596 confused with purchase order 57596, so many people will just use SO57596 and PO57596 instead.  Smart, right?   Wrong.  "Smart numbering" has its good and bad points, but don't use the four letters in OILS to …
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