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Thoughts on Common Table Expressions

Erik Darling has opinions:

Much like joins and Venn diagrams, anyone who thinks they have some advanced hoodoo to teach you about common table expressions is a charlatan or a simpleton. They are one of the least advanced constructs in T-SQL, and are no better or worse than any other abstraction layer, with the minor exception that common table expressions can be used to build recursive queries.

As I read through the post, I kept wanting to disagree with Erik more than I do. My short form is, I aesthetically prefer common table expressions to subqueries. But that doesn’t make CTEs faster.