Getting started with SQL Server stored procedures

By:   |   Updated: 2008-05-09   |   Comments (15)   |   Related: More > Stored Procedures

Problem
I have been using SQL Server for some time, but all of the code that is issued against the database is embedded in the application code.  I know that you can create stored procedures, but I am not exactly sure where to start or what I need to do to implement stored procedures.

Solution
Stored procedures are nothing more that a batch of T-SQL statements that are stored in the database.  Instead of having to issues multiple statements from your application you can issue one command to call the stored procedure to do a batch of work instead of just one statement.  In addition, since the code is stored in the database you can issue the same set of code over and over again even from different applications or a query window.  To get started the rest of this tip looks at some sample stored procedures and how you can get started and build upon them.

The below examples show you how simple it is to create stored procedures.  All of these examples use the AdventureWorks database, but these should be pretty straightforward that you can apply these concepts to your own databases and applications.

Example 1 - simple stored procedure
This first example creates a simple stored procedure that gets the TOP 1 record from the Person.Contact table.
CREATE PROCEDURE uspGetContact
AS
SELECT TOP 
1 ContactIDFirstNameLastName
FROM Person.Contact
After the above has been created use the command below to execute this stored procedure.
EXEC uspGetContact
This is the results from this first query.

 

Example 2 - stored procedure with a parameter
This next example is a modification of the first example, but this time adding a parameter that is passed into the procedure to dynamically select the records.  Instead of using CREATE PROCEDURE we are using ALTER PROCEDURE to modify the procedure that we created in Example 1 instead of dropping it first and then recreating it.
ALTER PROCEDURE uspGetContact @LastName NVARCHAR(50)
AS
SELECT TOP 
1 ContactIDFirstNameLastName
FROM Person.Contact
WHERE LastName @LastName
Below shows two different ways the stored procedure can be run.  The first example just passes the parameter value we want to use and the second example also includes the parameter name along with the value.  You can run the stored procedure with either one of these commands.
EXEC uspGetContact 'Alberts'

EXEC uspGetContact @LastName='Alberts'

This is the results from this first query.

 

Example 3 - stored procedure with a parameter and output parameter
In this example we have both an input parameter as well as an OUTPUT parameter.  The output parameter will be used to pass back the ContactID that we are looking up in the stored procedure.  This output parameter will then be used to select the persons ContactID, FirstName and LastName along with any address records for this person. 

Again we are altering the stored procedure uspGetContact and then secondly we are running the next set of code that executes procedure uspGetContact and then based on the return value it gets it will also query for the persons name and address info.

ALTER PROCEDURE uspGetContact @LastName NVARCHAR(50), @ContactID INT output
AS
SELECT TOP 
@ContactID c.ContactID
   
FROM HumanResources.Employee a 
       
INNER JOIN HumanResources.EmployeeAddress b ON a.EmployeeID b.EmployeeID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Contact c ON a.ContactID c.ContactID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Address d ON b.AddressID d.AddressID
WHERE c.LastName @LastName
After the stored procedure has been altered run the below block of code. This will execute the above stored procedure and if the ContactID has a value it will also return the person and address info.
DECLARE @ContactID INT
SET 
@ContactID 0
EXEC uspGetContact @LastName='Smith'@ContactID=@ContactID OUTPUT
IF @ContactID <> 0
BEGIN
   SELECT 
ContactIDFirstNameLastName
   
FROM Person.Contact
   
WHERE ContactID @ContactID

   
SELECT d.AddressLine1d.Cityd.PostalCode
   
FROM HumanResources.Employee a 
       
INNER JOIN HumanResources.EmployeeAddress b ON a.EmployeeID b.EmployeeID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Contact c ON a.ContactID c.ContactID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Address d ON b.AddressID d.AddressID
   
WHERE c.ContactID @ContactID
END
This is the results from this first query.

 

Example 4 - stored procedure using the RAISERROR statement
In this example we are combining the two steps in Example 3 into one stored procedure.  The first step is to get the ContactID and then the second part of the procedure will lookup the persons name and address info.  We also added in code to use the RAISERROR statement to return an error if no records are found. 

This is then being run twice to show what it looks like when data is found and when no data is found.  The RAISERROR statement can be used to control how your application handles no data or any other error that may occur.

ALTER PROCEDURE uspGetContact @LastName NVARCHAR(50)
AS
DECLARE 
@ContactID INT
SELECT TOP 
@ContactID c.ContactID
FROM HumanResources.Employee a 
       
INNER JOIN HumanResources.EmployeeAddress b ON a.EmployeeID b.EmployeeID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Contact c ON a.ContactID c.ContactID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Address d ON b.AddressID d.AddressID
WHERE c.LastName @LastName

IF @@ROWCOUNT 0
BEGIN
   SELECT 
ContactIDFirstNameLastName
   
FROM Person.Contact
   
WHERE ContactID @ContactID
   
   
SELECT d.AddressLine1d.Cityd.PostalCode
   
FROM HumanResources.Employee a 
       
INNER JOIN HumanResources.EmployeeAddress b ON a.EmployeeID b.EmployeeID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Contact c ON a.ContactID c.ContactID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Address d ON b.AddressID d.AddressID
   
WHERE c.ContactID @ContactID
END
ELSE
BEGIN
   RAISERROR 
('No record found',10,1)
END
EXEC uspGetContact @LastName='Walters'
This is the results from this first query.

 

EXEC uspGetContact @LastName='Job'
This is the results from this first query when no data is found.

 

Example 5 - stored procedure with a separate calling stored procedure
Here is another example where we have two stored procedures.  The first stored procedure uspFindContact lookups the first record that has an address record and then returns the ContactID to the calling stored procedure to again display the person and address info.
CREATE PROCEDURE uspFindContact @LastName NVARCHAR(50), @ContactID INT output
AS
SELECT TOP 
@ContactID c.ContactID
   
FROM HumanResources.Employee a 
       
INNER JOIN HumanResources.EmployeeAddress b ON a.EmployeeID b.EmployeeID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Contact c ON a.ContactID c.ContactID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Address d ON b.AddressID d.AddressID
WHERE c.LastName @LastName
The code below does an alter of the uspGetContact stored procedure that calls uspFindContact and returns the recordsets.
ALTER PROCEDURE uspGetContact @LastName NVARCHAR(50)
AS
DECLARE 
@ContactID INT
SET 
@ContactID 0

EXEC uspFindContact @LastName=@LastName@ContactID=@ContactID OUTPUT

IF @ContactID <> 0
BEGIN
   SELECT 
ContactIDFirstNameLastName
   
FROM Person.Contact
   
WHERE ContactID @ContactID

   
SELECT d.AddressLine1d.Cityd.PostalCode
   
FROM HumanResources.Employee a 
       
INNER JOIN HumanResources.EmployeeAddress b ON a.EmployeeID b.EmployeeID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Contact c ON a.ContactID c.ContactID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Address d ON b.AddressID d.AddressID
   
WHERE c.ContactID @ContactID
END
ELSE
BEGIN
   RAISERROR 
('No record found',10,1)
END
EXEC uspGetContact @LastName='Walters'
This is the results from this first query.

 

EXEC uspGetContact @LastName='Job'
This is the results from this first query.

 

Example 6 - stored procedure with comments
This last example takes the uspGetContact stored procedure and adds comments to the code so you can see how comments work within a stored procedure.  You can see that there are two ways that comments can be made.  1) using -- and 2) using /* to begin the comment block and */ to end the comment block.  Other than that nothing else has changed.
ALTER PROCEDURE uspGetContact @LastName NVARCHAR(50)
AS
/* This is a sample stored procedure to show
   how comments work within a stored procedure */

-- declare variable
DECLARE @ContactID INT
-- set variable value
SET @ContactID 0

-- execute stored proc and return ContactID value
EXEC uspFindContact @LastName=@LastName@ContactID=@ContactID OUTPUT

-- if ContactID does not equal 0 then return data else return error
IF @ContactID <> 0
BEGIN
   SELECT 
ContactIDFirstNameLastName
   
FROM Person.Contact
   
WHERE ContactID @ContactID

   
SELECT d.AddressLine1d.Cityd.PostalCode
   
FROM HumanResources.Employee a 
       
INNER JOIN HumanResources.EmployeeAddress b ON a.EmployeeID b.EmployeeID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Contact c ON a.ContactID c.ContactID
       
INNER JOIN Person.Address d ON b.AddressID d.AddressID
   
WHERE c.ContactID @ContactID
END
ELSE
BEGIN
   RAISERROR 
('No record found',10,1)
END

These are pretty simple examples, but hopefully this gives you an idea of how easy it is to create stored procedures for SQL Server.  If you can run a SELECT statement from either a query window or from your application you can just as easily run a stored procedure as show above.

Next Steps

  • If you are not already using stored procedures hopefully this gives you some insight as to what you need to do to begin using them
  • As mentioned these are pretty simple examples, but just about anything you can do with a batch of statements can be combined into a stored procedure and then used over and over again for your applications.


Last Updated: 2008-05-09


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MSSQLTips author Greg Robidoux Greg Robidoux is the President of Edgewood Solutions and a co-founder of MSSQLTips.com.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 1:17:28 AM - Irfan Back To Top

 Thank you so much Greg Robidoux, Your articlye is very insightful and helpful to understand the SP.

 

 

 


Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 7:40:20 AM - Imran Tamboli Back To Top

Thank you so much Greg Robidoux. your article is a very useful. 

 


Saturday, June 08, 2013 - 6:38:59 AM - Jaypee Huda Back To Top

This is very informative article. Thanks for sharing with us. Following links also helped me.

 

http://www.mindstick.com/Blog/354/Checking%20IF%20ELSE%20condition%20in%20Stored%20Procedure%20SQL%20Server

 

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms182717(v=sql.90).aspx


Monday, December 24, 2012 - 1:09:05 PM - Scott Back To Top

One of the things I think I've figured out that confused me is when I write a stored procedure, I'm not writing a stored procedure; I'm writing the instructions to create or modify a stored procedure. The actual stored procedure seems to be compiled in some sort of machine language and is never visible directly. This is similar to a programming language, such as Visual Basic or C++, in that what is written is translated to machine code to execute. But it's different in that the Visual Basic functions that I write are saved as written. In Visual Basic I'm writing the function, not writing a function to create a function. (I'm sure there's a lot going on under the surface, but this is what happens on the user interface level.) 

This is a different concept for me.


Friday, December 21, 2012 - 12:42:04 AM - Scott Back To Top

Greg,

Thanks, I got it to work. I was looking for a different window in which to type the command. I would never have guessed that I should type the command right under the text of the stored procedure, in the same window. The workings of the SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) will take some getting used to.

Scott


Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 11:00:39 AM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top

@Scott - sorry for any confusion.

Once you create a stored procedure using SSMS it is stored in the system tables.

Then from within SSMS in a query window you can execute a stored procedure as well by just typing the stored procedure name and hitting the execute button in SSMS or you can use the EXEC with the stored procedure name, it does the same thing.

If the stored procedure returns no data, does not have a SELECT, then it will do just as you said in your post.

You can also execute a stored procedure the way you mentioned using SSMS and selecting Execute from the toolbar.

Here is more info on Stored Procedures that may be helpful: http://www.mssqltips.com/sqlservertutorial/160/sql-server-stored-procedure/

 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 10:50:57 PM - Scott Back To Top

The above sample says:

    After the above has been created use the command below to execute this stored procedure.
    EXEC uspGetContact

I've been looking for an hour for a place to enter the command.

When I execute the stored procedure by clicking on Execute in the toolbar, it just says it was successful, but I get no output.

The title of this page is Getting Started, but the simple, obvious things that an experienced user takes for granted is what often blocks new users in any environment.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 11:41:43 AM - CB Back To Top

Hi.

I'm new to storedProcs

I'm trying to create a strore procedure that selects from a table Top 1 record but if a serialnumber of the max record selected is null or empty (String) I will move to the next record. If I reach the last record I return No records found.

Thanks

 

I Started with this:

CREATE PROCEDURE [dbo].[prcTopSerialNumber] @SerialNumber NVarchar(30)Output

 

AS

 

 

BEGIN

 

 

 

SelectTOP 1 @SerialNumber = SerialNumber

From

TagReadWeightAndScaleView

Where readCount in(SelectMax(A.readCount)asCountfrom TagRead A)

 

END

 


Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 1:16:44 AM - charan Back To Top

i create 4 tables with 7 columns n 6 rows each...

i want to create stored prcedure for this which contains selected 3 columns n their rows in that with primary key n foreign key relations


Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 7:54:30 AM - aprato Back To Top

 You create a temp table

 

CREATE PROCEDURE SelectCustomers
AS
BEGIN  
   SELECT * FROM Customers
END
GO

create table mytable(column_list....)

insert into mytable(column_list....)
EXEC [SelectCustomers]

 


Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 7:11:48 AM - mateia Back To Top

Hello

>In T-SQL, you can create a temp table/table variable to capture outputted rows.

Please see the example below:

USE [Northwind]
GO

SET ANSI_NULLS ON
GO

SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
GO

CREATE PROCEDURE SelectCustomers
AS
BEGIN  
   SELECT * FROM Customers
END
GO


EXEC [SelectCustomers]


How can I access here in Transact-SQL, the rows returned by the  SelectCustomers stored procedure ? 


Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 6:57:47 AM - aprato Back To Top

 Your language of choice does not have a ResultSet type object?

In T-SQL, you can create a temp table/table variable to capture outputted rows.


Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 6:51:39 AM - mateia Back To Top

Hello,

Thank you for your reply. 

However, maybe I wasn't clear enough, after calling the stored procedure I  need the actual selected rows, not the number of selected rows.

I'm afraid is not possible without an OUTPUT parameter returning the selected rows in a cursor.

 

 


Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 6:42:07 AM - aprato Back To Top

There are a few ways.  Below is one approach.

 

 CREATE PROCEDURE dbo.uspGetContact
AS
SET NOCOUNT ON

SELECT ContactID, FirstName, LastName
FROM Person.Contact

return @@rowcount
go

declare @rows int
exec @rows = dbo.uspGetContact
select @rows


Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 12:08:47 AM - mateia Back To Top

Hello,

Related to this code:

CREATE PROCEDURE uspGetContact
AS
SELECT
 ContactIDFirstNameLastName
FROM Person.Contact
EXEC uspGetContact

After calling EXEC uspGetContact, I would like in Transact-SQL to get the actual rows (dataset) selected by the uspGetContact stored procedure. Is it possible to have something like this:

EXEC uspGetContact

SELECT * FROM DataSetReturnedByuspGetContact ??

If it's not possible to do this in Transact-SQL, then how can application programs written in any language: e.g. C++, Delphi, Visual Basic receive a recordset/dataset without any modification of the 'uspGetContact' stored procedure ?? 

 

Thank you very much

 

 



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