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A T-SQL Table Function

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I had an interesting conversation about table functions in Oracle’s PL/SQL; and the fact that they’re not available in MySQL. When I explained they’re available in Microsoft T-SQL User-Defined Functions (UDFs), my students wanted a small example. One of them said they’d tried to do it but couldn’t get it to work because they found the Microsoft web pages difficult to read and use. Specifically, they didn’t like the sparseness of this one on how to create a function.

Here’s a quick definition of a UDF table function that runs in the studentdb schema (created in this post for migrating SQL Server into a MySQL database). The following getConquistador function takes a single string, which acts to filter the result set from a query positioned as the return value of the function. You should note that this is an implementation of Microsoft’s Common Language Infrastructure (CLI).

CREATE FUNCTION studentdb.getConquistador
(@nationality AS VARCHAR(30))
RETURNS TABLE
RETURN SELECT * FROM studentdb.conquistador WHERE nationality = @nationality;

Unlike Oracle SQL, where you need to use the TABLE function to read the content of a table result from a function, you don’t need anything other than the function call in the FROM clause of a T-SQL query. Here’s an example of calling the table function:

SELECT * FROM studentdb.getConquistador('German');

The complete result from the query would produce these results when run from the sqlcmd command-line interface:

conquistador_id conquistador          actual_name          nationality
--------------- --------------------- -------------------- ------------
             11 Nicolas de Federman   Nikolaus Federmann   German
             13 Jorge de la Espira    George von Speyer    German
 
(2 rows affected)

However, you also have the ability to query only rows of interest without any specialized syntax, like this:

1> USE studentdb;
2> SELECT conquistador AS "Conquistador"
3> ,      actual_name AS "Name"
4> FROM   studentdb.getConquistador('German');
5> GO

This produces the following two-column result set:

Conquistador          Name
--------------------- --------------------
Nicolas de Federman   Nikolaus Federmann
Jorge de la Espira    George von Speyer
 
(2 rows affected)

Hope this helps those interested in T-SQL UDFs.

Written by maclochlainn

February 12th, 2013 at 1:16 am

2 Responses to 'A T-SQL Table Function'

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  1. Excellent Article, I recently have been delving into SQL Server and this was a great source for learning more

    Jordan S

    27 Feb 13 at 10:40 am

  2. […] Oracle requires object type before you can return a result set […]

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