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SQL Server 2000 Stored Procedure Programming
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his chapter examines other types of procedures available in the SQL Server environment. Some of these procedures are just special types of stored procedures and others are completely different types of database objects. However, they all share a common attribute: that is, they are used to describe or implement an algorithm for the purpose of achieving some result.
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TYPES OF STORED PROCEDURES
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There are six types of stored procedures: User-defined System Extended Temporary Global temporary Remote
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As you may infer from the name, user-defined stored procedures are simply groups of Transact-SQL statements assembled by administrators or developers for later repetitive use. The design of this type of stored procedure is the primary focus of this book.
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Microsoft delivers a vast set of stored procedures as a part of SQL Server. They are designed to cover all aspects of system administration. Before Microsoft SQL Server 6.0, administrators had to use scripts from isql to control the server and their databases. Although administrators
9:
Special Types of Procedures
today customarily use Enterprise Manager, stored procedures are still very important, since Enterprise Manager uses the same system stored procedures, through SQL-DMO, behind the scenes.
NOTE: SQL-DMO stands for SQL Distributed Management Objects. It is a collection of objects designed to manage the SQL Server environment. You can use it to create your own Enterprise Manager or automate repetitive tasks. It is interesting that it does not support the return of a recordset to the caller. You should use other objects (such as ADO) to achieve this result.
System stored procedures are stored in the system databases (master and msdb), and they have the prefix sp_. This prefix is more than just a convention. It signals to the server that the stored procedure is located in the master database and that it should be accessible from all databases without the user s needing to insert the database name as a prefix to fully qualify the name of the procedure:
Exec sp_who -- instead of exec master..sp_who
It also signals to the server that the stored procedure should be executed in the context of the current database. For example, the script shown in Figure 9-1 will return information about the current database, and not the master.
NOTE: There is a small behavioral inconsistency between stored procedures in the master database and the msdb database. Stored procedures in the msdb database are delivered with SQL Server, but they must be referenced with the database name (for example: msdb..sp_update_job), and they do not work in the context of the current database. In this respect, you can understand them as system-supplied stored procedures rather than as system stored procedures as we have defined them.
SQL Server 2000 Stored Procedure Programming
Figure 9-1.
This system procedure works in the context of the current database
Extended Stored Procedures
Certain SQL Server features cannot be implemented through Transact-SQL statements. The designers of SQL Server have developed a way to use the functionality encapsulated in special .dll libraries written in languages such as C or C++. Extended stored procedures are actually these C functions encapsulated in .dll files. They have a wrapper stored in the master database that uses the prefix xp_. Using this wrapper, you can access them just as you would any other stored procedure.
NOTE: Selected extended stored procedures stored in the master database are named with the prefix sp_ to allow users to access them from any database (such as sp_execute, sp_executesql, sp_sdidebug).
9:
Special Types of Procedures
In the following example, the extended stored procedure runs an operating system command to list all scripts in the BINN directory. Since it is not declared with the sp_ prefix, you must qualify its name with that of the database in which it is located:
Exec master..xp_cmdshell 'dir c:\mssql7\binn\*.sql'
Design of Extended Stored Procedures
It is not possible to create an extended stored procedure from just any .dll file. The file must be prepared in a special way. It is also not possible to create these files from Visual Basic, since it does not create classic .dll files, but just in-process versions of COM objects.
NOTE: Fortunately, it is possible to access code in the form of COM objects from Transact-SQL. 11 describes the creation and execution of such code in detail.
The development of extended stored procedures is based on the use of ODS API (Open Data Services API). In the past, it was a tedious job and the developer had to perform all tasks manually. Nowadays, the process is automated in the Enterprise Edition of Visual C++ through the Extended Stored Procedure Wizard. We will quickly demonstrate its use. With the proper initialization code, the Extended Stored Procedure wizard generates Win32 DLL projects that contain an exported function. The developer should change the content of the exported function to perform the job of the future extended stored procedure. The wizard includes the header file (srv.h) and a library (opends60.lib) needed for using ODS in the code. To create an extended stored procedure: 1. In Visual C++ Enterprise Edition, select New from the File menu. The New dialog box should appear with Projects tab opened. You need to set the name of the project. You could and should also use the name of the extended stored procedure as
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