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Alternatives to GREATEST() and LEAST()

Mike Scalise has an alternative to using the GREATEST() and LEAST() functions in SQL Server:

As of 4/14/21, Microsoft has officially announced that the GREATEST and LEAST functions are in Azure SQL Database and SQL Managed Instance. Unofficially, it seems they had silently included these functions in at least (no pun intended) SQL Managed Instance several months prior. In any case, here we are today with official Microsoft documentation on GREATEST and LEAST. This is all great news. What’s also great is that, in their statement, Microsoft stated they would be including these two functions in the next version of SQL Server.

But what about all of us on SQL Server 2019 and prior? Fortunately, there’s a way to mimic these two functions in your queries using a correlated subquery in the SELECT clause.

Click through for examples. This is a bit different from getting the largest or smallest value in a window, which you can do with MIN(val) OVER () or MAX(val) OVER (). But I’m looking forward to seeing GREATEST() and LEAST() in the box product.

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