Lesson Summary in Visual Studio .NET

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Lesson Summary
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Avoid including unnecessary tables and columns in queries. Subqueries and outer joins can often be used interchangeably to query for matching and nonmatching data. Aggregate functions and the PIVOT operator can assist in creating more useful output for business users. The FTS functions can be used to more efficiently query text data.
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Lesson 1: Querying Data
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Lesson Review
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The following questions are intended to reinforce key information presented in this lesson. The questions are also available on the companion CD if you prefer to review them in electronic form.
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NOTE
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Answers
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Answers to these questions and explanations of why each answer choice is right or wrong are located in the Answers section at the end of this book.
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1. Which types of joins let you retrieve nonmatching data (Choose all that apply.) A. Full outer join B. Inner join C. Right outer join D. Left outer join 2. Which of the following aggregate functions returns a row count as an integer A. AVG B. COUNT_BIG C. STDEV D. COUNT 3. You need to find all matches from your Product table in which the Description column includes either the words book or booklet . Which of the following FTS syntaxes should you use A. FREETEXT(Description, Book ) B. FREETEXT(Description, Book* ) C. CONTAINS(Description, Book ) D. CONTAINS(Description, Book* )
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5
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Working with Transact-SQL
Lesson 2: Formatting Result Sets
Lesson 1 covered many of the finer points for basic data querying. However, this knowledge is not enough for most projects. In many cases, you will need to do more than just query the data; you ll have to return it in a useful format so that your users can understand it. In this lesson, you will learn how to format data using functions, query Common Language Runtime (CLR) user-defined data types, and use alias columns to make data easier for your users to consume.
After this lesson, you will be able to:
Use system functions. Use user-defined functions (UDFs). Query CLR user-defined types (UDTs). Create column aliases.
Estimated lesson time: 20 minutes
Using System Functions
SQL Server includes a variety of built-in functions that can help with data formatting. Table 5-2 describes the most commonly used functions.
Table 5-2
Commonly Used Data-Formatting Functions
Function CAST/CONVERT
Description The CAST and CONVERT functions let you convert between data types. CONVERT is especially useful because it lets you change formatting when converting certain types (for example, datetime) to strings. The DAY, MONTH, and YEAR functions return the numeric value corresponding to the day, month, or year represented by a datetime data type. The DATENAME function returns the localized name for whatever part of the date is specified. The REPLACE function replaces occurrences of a substring in a string with another string.
DAY/MONTH/ YEAR/DATENAME
REPLACE
Lesson 2: Formatting Result Sets
Table 5-2
Commonly Used Data-Formatting Functions
Function STUFF SUBSTRING/LEFT/ RIGHT STR
Description The STUFF function lets you insert strings inside of other strings at the specified position. The SUBSTRING function returns a slice of a string starting at a specified position. LEFT and RIGHT return slices of the string from the left or right, respectively. The STR function converts numeric types into strings.
These functions are most commonly used in a query s SELECT list to modify the output of the query to satisfy user requirements. For instance, the following query uses the CONVERT function to convert all the birth dates in the Employee table to the ANSI two-digit year format:
SELECT CONVERT(CHAR(10), BirthDate, 2) FROM HumanResources.Employee
CAUTION
Do not use functions in WHERE clauses
Avoid using formatting functions in your queries WHERE clauses. Using such functions can cause performance problems by making it difficult for the query engine to use indexes.
Using User-Defined Functions in Queries
In addition to the system functions available for formatting, database developers can create custom functions called user-defined functions (UDFs). Once defined, you can use these functions anywhere that you can use a built-in function. The only difference between using a built-in function and a UDF is that UDFs must be scoped by the name of the database schema in which they participate. The following query uses the ufnGetProductListPrice UDF that is defined in the dbo schema of the AdventureWorks database:
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