Ben Richardson

Ben Richardson

Ben Richardson

Ben Richardson runs Acuity Training a leading provider of SQL training the UK. It offers a full range of SQL training from introductory courses through to advanced administration and data warehouse training – see here for more details. Acuity has offices in London and Guildford, Surrey. He also blogs occasionally on Acuity’s blog

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Ben Richardson

Understanding SQL Server’s TRY_PARSE and TRY_CONVERT functions

May 16, 2018 by

Data conversion is one of the most fundamental tasks of any programming language. Data received from different sources is often not in the right format. For example, if you receive an XML file where age is in the string format and you want to calculate an average age for the people in the file you will need to convert age into an integer.

To make the conversion process simple, the TRY_PARSE and TRY_CONVERT functions were introduced in SQL Server 2012. Before TRY_PARSE and TRY_CONVERT, SQL Server only had the PARSE and CONVERT functions.

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Sequence Objects in SQL Server

March 22, 2018 by

Sequence objects are used to sequentially generate numeric values. They were introduced in SQL Server 2012.

Sequence objects are similar to the IDENTITY column in any SQL table. However, unlike the IDENTITY column, they are independent and are not attached to any table. Sequence objects are used both independently and within the DML statements i.e. INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE.

This article will take a detailed look at sequence objects.

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Debugging stored procedures in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

February 20, 2018 by

Debugging is one of the most important but painful parts of any software process. To find some errors you have to run the code step by step to see which section of the code is responsible for the error. This is called runtime debugging.

Luckily, SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) comes with automated debugging capabilities to help developers debug their scripts. In this article, we will explain practically how SSMS can be used to debug stored procedures in SQL Server by working through a very simple example.

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Understanding SQL Server query plan cache

January 18, 2018 by

Whenever a query is run for the first time in SQL Server, it is compiled and a query plan is generated for the query. Every query requires a query plan before it is actually executed. This query plan is stored in SQL Server query plan cache. This way when that query is run again, SQL Server doesn’t need to create another query plan; rather it uses the cached query plan which improved database performance.

The duration that a query plan stays in the plan cache depends upon how often a query is executed. Query plans that are used more often, stay in the query plan cache for longer durations, and vice-versa.

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How to use SQL Server built-in functions and create user-defined scalar functions

July 7, 2017 by

A function is a set of SQL statements that perform a specific task. Functions foster code reusability. If you have to repeatedly write large SQL scripts to perform the same task, you can create a function that performs that task. Next time instead of rewriting the SQL, you can simply call that function. A function accepts inputs in the form of parameters and returns a value. SQL Server comes with a set of built-in functions that perform a variety of tasks.

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