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T-SQL User-Defined Functions: the good, the bad, and the ugly (part 2)

In a previous blog post, I demonstrated just how much you can hurt your performance by encapsulating expressions and computations in a user-defined function (UDF). I focused on scalar functions that didn’t include any data access. In this post, I will complete the discussion on scalar UDFs by covering the effect of data access in a scalar UDF. Note that, like the previous post, this all applies to T-SQL user-defined functions only. SQL Server also supports CLR user-defined functions (written in a .Net language like C# or VB.Net); those are not in the scope of this blog post. Data access…

T-SQL User-Defined Functions: the good, the bad, and the ugly (part 1)

So you thought that encapsulating code in user-defined functions for easy reuse is a good idea? Think again! SQL Server supports three types of user-defined functions. Only one of them qualifies as good. The other two – well, the title says it all, doesn’t it? The bad: scalar functions A scalar user-defined function (UDF) is very much like a stored procedure, except that it always returns a single value of a predefined data type – and because of that property, it isn’t invoked with an EXECUTE statement, but embedded in an expression where the returned value is immediately used. I…

Principles of Modeling: Avoid Redundancy

In 1994, I learned a method for data modeling that is based on three principles. I immediately knew that these principles should embraced by anyone who does any data modeling or process modeling. Or almost any other job, for that matter. I have described these principles in three previous blog posts: the Jargon Principle, the Concreteness Principle, and the Reproducibility Principle. But I have later found that there are more principles and guidelines that are important to keep in mind when modeling. Avoid Redundancy I almost hear you think: “Yes, avoid redundancy. Duh! Do you have any more open doors…

The Curious Case of the Optimizer that doesn’t

The optimizer is the part of SQL Server that takes your query and reorders and rearranges your query to find the optimal execution plan. In theory. In practice, that doesn’t always work out well. Often, the optimizer manages to come up with brilliant ways to execute a complex query very efficiently – but sometimes, it misses an option that appears to be so simple that you can only stare in utter amazement at the execution plan before going to the Connect site. Here is an example I recently ran into. I tested it on SQL Server 2012 and on SQL…
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