Category : SQL Server

Get hierarchical data in order 2

In this post, we are going to learn how we can get hierarchical data in order. We are dealing with a user defined hierarchical data which can have “n” number of siblings and their siblings can also have “n” number of siblings in turn.

For demo purpose, we have a Product_Master table, in which a product can be marked as a parent of another product, and that child product can also be marked as a parent of another product, such kind of hierarchy is known as user defined hierarchy. As any product can be marked as another product’s parent, we can have any number of nested products in the hierarchy. We have to retrieve all these products with their associated parent in ordered way.

Ordered hierarchical data from above user defined hierarchy, can be achieved with a recursive common table expression (CTE) or using a loop. We … More

Generate serial number for each consecutive set of numbers 2

In this post, we are going to generate serial number for each consecutive set of numbers in a given column. We have a table tbl_Donation with columns EmpId and DonationYear. For each consecutive set of years of each employee, we need to generate serial numbers. If employee “X” donated in 2006, 2007 and 2008 years consecutively and then in 2010 and 2011, we have to assign 1 for 2005, 2 for 2006, 3 for 2007 followed by 1 for 2010 and 2 for 2011. We need to generate incremental series for each consecutive set of years but as and when a gap occurs between donation years, series has to be restarted with 1.

PARTITION BY clause in a ROW_NUMBER() window function could be able to generate the required output, if we had same number along with donation years for each consecutive set of years for all employees. Initially, we … More

CHAR, NCHAR, VARCHAR and NVARCHAR default length

What is the default length of CHAR, NCHAR, VARCHAR and NVARCHAR when we don’t specify their length in their length argument? If we omit the size of CHAR, NCHAR, VARCHAR and NVARCHAR, how they behave? In this post “CHAR, NCHAR, VARCHAR and NVARCHAR default length”, we are going to discuss the default length of CHAR, NCHAR, VARCHAR and NVARCHAR data types, if length is not specified in their argument.

I would strongly suggest to define the length of CHAR, NCHAR, VARCHAR and NVARCHAR data types as per the need. In this post, I just explain the behavior of CHAR, NCHAR, VARCHAR and NVARCHAR data types, if length is omitted, and not encouraging to omit the size of these data types.

We can define these data types as below:

char [ ( n ) ]
nchar [ ( n ) ]
varchar [ ( n | max ) ]
nvarchar [ More

Insert into table with one identity column only 2

One of my friend asked me a question that “How we can insert values in a table with only one column which is identity, without using IDENTITY_INSERT ON?”. In this post “Insert into a table with one identity column only”, I am going to share a nice method to achieve this.

We know that using “SET IDENTITY_INSERT TableName ON” command, we can easily insert rows in an identity column. As per MSDN, we need to keep few things in mind related to “IDENTITY_INSERT ON”:

  1. Only one table can have IDENTITY_INSERT as ON in one session at a time. We must have to use “SET IDENTITY_INSERT TableName OFF” to use IDENTITY_INSERT on other tables.
  2. To execute IDENTITY_INSERT on a table, a user must own the table or has ALTER permission on the table. Only below types of user can execute IDENTITY_INSERT on a table:
    1. A member of sysadmin fixed server role

Delete all rows from all tables 2

Have you ever come across the problem to delete all rows from all tables available in a database? One of my colleague asked me this question that how can we delete all rows from all tables of a database. So, in this post, we are going to discuss, how we can delete all rows from all tables of a SQL Server database.

To delete all rows from a table named ProductCategory, we can simply use “DELETE FROM ProductCategory” command. But in case the table is being referred by a foreign key constraints from some tables and / or fires a trigger to insert few rows in an another table in the database, we must have to delete all related rows from child tables before we start deleting parent table rows. We also need to delete records from those table which are getting inserted rows as a result of a … More

Mutable logical condition in CASE expression 6

In our previous blog post Different data types in case expression, we have explored the behavior of CASE expression in case of different data types in “THEN” and “ELSE” part. Now in this post “Mutable logical condition in CASE expression”, we are going to unfold the behavior of CASE expression when we have a non deterministic function in logical expression (WHEN part).

Mutable logical condition in CASE expression

Have a look on the below query:

--Query 1
WHEN 0 THEN 'Case 0'
WHEN 1 THEN 'Case 1'
WHEN 2 THEN 'Case 2'


In above query, logical expression “ABS(CHECKSUM(NEWID())) % 3” of CASE expression, has a non deterministic function NEWID() wrapped inside a CHECKSUM function to generate some random number on fly. Going further the CHECKSUM value has also wrapped inside a ABS function which insures a positive number. Finally there is a … More

Different data types in case expression 5

In this blog post titled as “Different data types in case expression”, we will explore the behavior of CASE expression when dealing with different data types in THEN part (true) and ELSE part (false) of CASE expression. We will limit the scope of discussion of this post to data conversion issue only. If you are interested to explore more about the CASE expression, visit this MSDN link.

What is the Return type of CASE expression

As per MSDN, CASE expression returns the highest precedence type from the given set of types in THEN and ELSE part (true and false part). To explore data type precedence, you can visit Data Type Precedence link here.

Lets play with a simple demo to see this return type in action. This demo is for test and may look a bit silly. In below SQL query, we have two variables, @RetValThen as DATETIME … More

Unique Key is Clustered or Nonclustered 2

An easy question for you “Unique Key is Clustered or Nonclustered”? Lets explain in more detail, When I create a Unique key on a table without explicitly defining the type of index(clustered or nonclustered), which type of index will be used to accommodate the key?

I have already written a blog on behavior of primary key for clustered and nonclustered index type selection in such kind of scenarios and here is the link. In this post titled as “Unique Key is Clustered or Nonclustered”, we will explore the behavior of Unique Key in regards of Clustered and Nonclustered index type selection. Before going forward, I would like to focus on the differences between Primary Key and Uniquer Key below.

Difference between Primary Key and Unique Key

 Primary key

  1. It is a column or set of columns, used to uniquely identify each row of the given table.
  2. NULL values

Rename Table and Change Schema with SP_RENAME

In this post “SP_RENAME table with schema change” I will share a trick to rename a table using sp_rename and then transfer it schema. As we know that we can use SP_RENAME system stored procedure to rename user created objects like tables, procedures, functions, views, indexes, columns, user defined types, CLR user defined types etc in current database.

For example, if you have a table with name “TestTableA” in schema “dbo” and want to change its name to “TestTableB”, you can use below command;

SP_RENAME 'dbo.TestTableA', 'TestTableB'

But in case you want to change the table name with schema change using procedure “sp_rename”, putting “Schemaname.Tablename” as new name in second parameter, will not work. What will happen if we put “Schemaname.Tablename” as new name and why it will happen, I have explained it in next section of this blog post.

Schema.TableName as New Name in sp_rename will not work

In … More

NOLOCK table hint 9

A lot of people use NOLOCK table hint in their SELECT queries, some of them are expert and well aware of its pros and cons, but some are not. So, In this post we are going to focus on this table hint and its impact.

What is NOLOCK

NOLOCK and READUNCOMMITTED hints used with SELECT queries to get the data without issuing shared lock (which prevents modification of data by other transactions during read operation) on the data, and also allows to read the data acquired with exclusive lock by other transactions. NOLOCK hint is equivalent to READUNCOMMITTED isolation level which is least restrictive in SQL Server. It does not restrict the dirty reads and increases the concurrency by reducing blocking.

It holds a Sch-S (Schema stability) lock during its execution scope which blocks the transactions requesting for Sch-M (Schema modification) lock, required by DDL operations. Reverse is also true … More