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Designing Database Queries
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function to each row in the outer table. A table-valued function is just like an ordinary userdefined function, except that it returns a table as a result. The APPLY operator can be one of the following:
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OUTER APPLY Returns all rows that return a result set and will include NULL values in
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the columns that are returned from the table-valued function. CROSS APPLY Returns only rows from the outer table that produces a result set. To understand how the APPLY operator works; assume you wanted to return the total due on purchase orders for all employees in a certain year. To use the CROSS APPLY operator to accomplish this, you would first create a table-valued function, such as the following:
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CREATE FUNCTION fnGetPurchaseOrderTotal(@EmpID int, @Year varchar(4)) RETURNS @RetTable TABLE (TotalDue money) AS BEGIN WITH OrderTree(total) AS ( SELECT sum(totaldue) as OrderTotal FROM Purchasing.PurchaseOrderHeader WHERE EmployeeID = @EmpID AND YEAR(OrderDate) = @Year ) INSERT INTO @RetTable SELECT * FROM OrderTree RETURN END
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You would then create a query that used the CROSS APPLY operator to join the results of the table-valued function. This would be done on a row-by-row basis. The following example shows how a query that needs to return employees hired in the year 2002 would look:
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SELECT c.LastName + ', ' + c.FirstName as Employee, CONVERT(varchar, tot.TotalDue,1) as 'Total Due' FROM Person.Contact c JOIN HumanResources.Employee e ON c.ContactId = e.ContactID CROSS APPLY fnGetPurchaseOrderTotal(e.employeeid,2002) as tot WHERE tot.TotalDue IS NOT NULL ORDER BY tot.TotalDue desc
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Lesson 1: Writing Database Queries
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This query would return 12 results, which are ordered according to the Total Due, from largest to smallest, in Table 2-3.
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Table 2-3
Query Results When Using the APPLY Operator
Total Due 620,215.34 552,326.62 463,360.53 456,909.57 430,733.40 424,454.80 423,910.48 423,825.96 303,465.26 251,473.99 236,225.88 82,975.17
Employee Sandberg, Mikael Meisner, Linda Miller, Ben Hill, Annette Pellow, Frank Ogisu, Fukiko Hee, Gordon Hillmann, Reinout Kurjan, Eric Hagens, Erin Rao, Arvind Word, Sheela
IMPORTANT
Set database compatibility
To take advantage of both the APPLY and PIVOT operators, the database compatibility level needs to be set to 90 (the SQL Server 2005 default setting).
Using the EXCEPT and INTERSECT Operators
Prior to SQL Server 2005, the options for combining result sets included joins and the UNION operator. We reviewed the join statement earlier; the UNION operator can be used to combine the results of two or more SELECT statements if they have the same structure. SQL Server 2005 offers two additional operators, EXCEPT and INTERSECT, that can be used to combine and limit result sets. These operators are used to compare the results of two or more SELECT statements and return values that are common to the two. The EXCEPT operator returns any distinct values from the left-side query, and the INTERSECT operator returns distinct values from both the left-side queries and right-side queries.
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Designing Database Queries
The queries that are compared must contain the same columns and structure in order to be comparable. But, this can be a useful way of joining two result sets based on distinct values. For example, the following query can be used to identify which products have at least one document assigned to them:
Select ProductID FROM Production.Product INTERSECT SELECT ProductID FROM Production.ProductDocument
This query will return 31 records even though there are 32 records in the Production.ProductDocument table. This is because one of the products is associated with two documents, and this query will only return distinct values. Exam Tip
Make sure you focus on the new operators presented in this chapter, such as PIVOT, UNPIVOT, CROSS APPLY, OUTER APPLY, EXCEPT, and INTERCEPT.
Using Ranking Functions
SQL Server 2005 offers four ranking functions that can be used to indicate where each row falls in the result sets ranking. This can be useful if you need to build an array or rank search results. The four functions are as follows:
ROW_NUMBER Used to return the row number sequentially as it appears in the result set. The function can use both an order and partition clause. The ranking will start with the number 1. RANK Used to return the rank of each row within the partition of the result set. The function also uses an order and partition clause. The ranking will add one to the rank of the number of ranks that preceded it. With this function, you can have two or more rows that receive the same rank. DENSE_RANK Used to return the rank of each row within the partition of the result set. The function also uses an order and partition clause. The ranking will add one to the rank plus the distinct rows that preceded it, so the ranking will be sequential. NTILE Used to return data based on groups that are then numbered starting at one. This function accepts an integer that specifies the number of groups that each partition will be divided into.
The following is an example of the ROW_NUMBER function, which is used to return the row number for rows ordered by the contact s last name:
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