More On String Splitting

Aaron Bertrand has a follow-up post on STRING_SPLIT():

So here, the JSON and STRING_SPLIT methods took about 10 seconds each, while the Numbers table, CLR, and XML approaches took less than a second. Perplexed, I investigated the waits, and sure enough, the four methods on the left incurred significant LATCH_EX waits (about 25 seconds) not seen in the other three, and there were no other significant waits to speak of.

And since the latch waits were greater than total duration, it gave me a clue that this had to do with parallelism (this particular machine has 4 cores). So I generated test code again, changing just one line to see what would happen without parallelism:

There’s a lot going on in that post, so I recommend checking it out.

Finding Nested Stored Procedures

Michael J. Swart has a script to find nested stored procedures:

Adventureworks seems just fine to me. Only four instances of procedures calling procedures. I looked at the database I work with most. Hundreds of procedures (representing 15% of the procedures) call other procedures. On the other end of the spectrum is Stackoverflow. I understand that they don’t use stored procedures at all.

Check out the comments for more notes.

Scientific Notation

Andy Mallon digs into one scenario in which you shouldn’t assume how ISNUMERIC behaves:

Someone posted to #sqlhelp on Twitter, asking the following: “Wondered if anyone could enlighten me as to why ISNUMERIC(‘7d8’) returns 1?”

Sure enough, SELECT ISNUMERIC('7d8') returns a 1.

Great answer and explanation, and his advice to use TRY_CONVERT() for 2012 and up is spot-on.

Correlated Subqueries

Kevin Feasel

2016-04-19

T-SQL

Jen McCown explains correlated subqueries by way of an error message:

What the what?? I literally JUST ran a query exactly like this, but without the join. I haven’t mixed aggregate and non-aggregate columns in the query without a GROUP BY…the only aggregate is in the subquery, and it’s all by its little lonesome!

It’s funny what one little letter can do to you.

Renaming A Column

Kevin Feasel

2016-04-19

T-SQL

Kenneth Fisher shows how to rename procedures and columns:

This works for tables, stored procedures, views etc, but there are a few things to be careful about. It doesn’t change the code behind code based objects so you need to modify that as well. And of course any time you use sp_rename you’ll get the warning:

As Kenneth notes, this does not change any underlying code, so renaming columns can potentially break code.

Modulo

Kevin Feasel

2016-04-15

T-SQL

Kenneth Fisher walks us through modulus division in SQL Server:

Now aside from the odd occasion when you actually need it for it’s simple purpose it’s a rather interesting way to get a rolling count. Basically you can use it to get a list back of 1,2,3,…n-1,0 where n is your divisor.

There are a few great use cases for modulo within SQL Server.  One not mentioned is building test data.  You can easily build a uniformly distributed set of randomized numeric values within a particular range using modulo math.

DATEADD With SYSUTCDATETIME

Aaron Bertrand blogs on an estimation failure with DATEADD and SYSDATETIME/SYSUTCDATETIME:

Essentially, the problem is that a poor estimate can be made not simply when SYSDATETIME() (or SYSUTCDATETIME()) appears, as Erland originally reported, but when any datetime2expression is involved in the predicate (and perhaps only when DATEADD() is also used). And it can go both ways – if we swap >= for <=, the estimate becomes the whole table, so it seems that the optimizer is looking at the SYSDATETIME() value as a constant, and completely ignoring any operations like DATEADD() that are performed against it.

Paul shared that the workaround is simply to use a datetime equivalent when calculating the date, before converting it to the proper data type. In this case, we can swap outSYSUTCDATETIME() and change it to GETUTCDATE()

I suppose switching to GETUTCDATE isn’t too much of a loss, but it looks like (according to Paul White in the second linked Connect item) this appears to have been fixed in SQL Server 2014.

Getting The Last Row Per Group

Daniel Hutmacher wants to get the last element in each group (for example, the current records in a type-two dimension):

The CROSS APPLY and the old-school solutions are by far the best choice for dense indexes, i.e. when the first column has a low degree of uniqueness. The old-school solution is only that fast because the optimizer short-circuits the query plan.

LEAD() and the old school strategy are best for selective indexes, i.e. when the first column is highly unique.

There’s a nice set of options available so if one doesn’t work well with your particular data set, try out some of the others and see if they work for you.

Keep Check Constraints Simple

Erik Darling shows performance implications around having scalar UDFs in check constraints:

Really. Every single time. It started off kind of funny. Scalar functions in queries: no parallelism. Scalar functions in computed columns: no parallelism, even if you’re not selecting the computed column. Every time I think of a place where someone could stick a scalar function into some SQL, it ends up killing parallelism. Now it’s just sad.

This is (hopefully. HOPEFULLY.) a less common scenario, since uh… I know most of you aren’t actually using any constraints. So there’s that! Developer laziness might be a saving grace here. But if you read the title, you know what’s coming. Here’s a quick example.

Yeah, UDFs in check constraints is a pretty bad idea most of the time.

Specify Schema

Kevin Feasel

2016-04-07

T-SQL

Kenneth Fisher warns that you should specify schemas in scripts:

But why? I mean the table gets created either way and since the default is dbothere is no real reason to name it.

Actually no. The default is not in fact dbo. It frequently is dbo but by no means always. The default schema is part of your USER information. Specifically theDEFAULT_SCHEMA option. Well, unless you are a sysadmin. Then it actually does always default to dbo.

Schemas are a very powerful grouping mechanism, and they’ve been around long enough that if you aren’t taking full advantage of them, you really should.

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