Transforming Cursors

Mickey Stuewe has a post in which she transforms a cursor into a set-based procedure:

His approach was to use a cursor to cycle through all the columns in the provided table, analyze each column, determine the new data type, and store the information in a table variable. After the cursor was completed, the data in the table variable was written to a permanent table for the next process to use.

This approach isn’t necessarily bad. If you are only running it infrequently and you needed to write this stored procedure quickly, then it’s fine. But if this type of stored procedure needs to be run frequently, then it should be rewritten.

Set-based code tends to be easier to read and more compact than cursors, so even without the performance improvements they bring, there are benefits.

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