If you’re talking about hints, you must be using Oracle. Don’t worry about join order, or about hinting. Oracle has an optimizer that plans out your queries. The use of hints is only needed when you know better than Oracle does how everything should be processed. Since Oracle does a reasonable job, you generally won’t need to do any of this. If you want details on what Oracle is planning, look up EXPLAIN PLAN and/or HINT in the Oracle manual.
Sheldon Linker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Linker Systems, Inc. (www.linkersystems.com)