Nested Sets

Kevin Feasel



Nate Johnson explains the nested sets model:

Put another way, the #3 rule is that you should always operate on the tree (CrUD ops) using stored-procedures and/or triggers that encapsulate all the nitty-gritty details of maintaining the correct position values during said insert/update/delete operations.  Of course, somebody is responsible for writing those stored-procs.  Any volunteers?  Easy now, don’t raise your hands all at once!  Generally, this responsibility falls to the DBA(s) or DBDev(s).

The problem at-hand, in my current situation, was that of “moving a sub-tree”, i.e. taking a node and all its descendants, and moving it to place it under another “parent” node.  In some models, and/or in some languages, this is a simple recursive operation.  However, SQL is not spectacular at recursion — after all, we’re working in a relational engine — so let’s try to play to its strengths:

This is a straightforward look at one of the major hierarchical models in relational design.  Well worth a look.

Related Posts


Kenneth Fisher explains a couple of database name functions in SQL Server: I’d never seen ORIGINAL_DB_NAME until recently and I thought it would be interesting to highlight it out, and in particular the difference between it and DB_NAME. I use DB_NAME and DB_ID fairly frequently in support queries (for example what database context is a query running from or what database are […]

Read More

Using STRING_AGG In SQL Server 2017

Derik Hammer talks about one of the nicer T-SQL additions in SQL Server 2017: Creating comma separated strings from a column, or delimited strings as I like to call it, is a very common problem in SQL. Beginning with SQL Server 2017 and Azure SQL Database, there is now another option to the existing set of solutions, STRING_AGG(). I […]

Read More

1 Comment

  • Nate_the_DBA on 2017-01-04

    Thank you so much for the pingback! It’s truly an honor to be mentioned in your blog, my good sir.

Comments are closed


January 2017
« Dec Feb »