Sunday, September 20, 2015

What is User Defined Functions?

Functions are subroutines made up of one or more Transact-SQL statements that can be used to encapsulate code for reuse. Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 does not limit users to the built-in functions defined as part of the Transact-SQL language, but allows users to create their own user-defined functions.

User-defined functions are created using the CREATE FUNCTION statement, modified using the ALTER FUNCTION statement, and removed using the DROP FUNCTION statement. Each fully qualified user-defined function name (database_name.owner_name.function_name) must be unique.

You must have been granted CREATE FUNCTION permissions to create, alter, or drop user-defined functions. Users other than the owner must be granted appropriate permissions on a function before they can use it in a Transact-SQL statement. To create or alter tables with references to user-defined functions in the CHECK constraint, DEFAULT clause, or computed column definition, you must also have REFERENCES permission on the functions.

Transact-SQL errors that cause a statement to be canceled and continue with the next statement in the module (such as triggers or stored procedures) are treated differently inside a function. In functions, such errors cause the execution of the function to stop. This in turn causes the statement that invoked the function to be canceled.
Types of User-Defined Functions

SQL Server 2000 supports three types of user-defined functions:

    Scalar functions

    Inline table-valued functions

    Multistatement table-valued functions

A user-defined function takes zero or more input parameters and returns either a scalar value or a table. A function can have a maximum of 1024 input parameters. When a parameter of the function has a default value, the keyword DEFAULT must be specified when calling the function to get the default value. This behavior is different from parameters with default values in stored procedures in which omitting the parameter also implies the default value. User-defined functions do not support output parameters.

Scalar functions return a single data value of the type defined in a RETURNS clause. All scalar data types, including bigint and sql_variant, can be used. The timestamp data type, user-defined data type, and nonscalar types, such as table or cursor, are not supported. The body of the function, defined in a BEGIN...END block, contains the series of Transact-SQL statements that return the value. The return type can be any data type except text, ntext, image, cursor, and timestamp.

Table-valued functions return a table. For an inline table-valued function, there is no function body; the table is the result set of a single SELECT statement. For a multistatement table-valued function, the function body, defined in a BEGIN...END block, contains the TRANSACT-SQL statements that build and insert rows into the table that will be returned. For more information about inline table-valued functions, see Inline User-Defined Functions. For more information about table-valued functions, see User-Defined Functions That Return a table Data Type.

The statements in a BEGIN...END block cannot have any side effects. Function side effects are any permanent changes to the state of a resource that has a scope outside the function such as a modification to a database table. The only changes that can be made by the statements in the function are changes to objects local to the function, such as local cursors or variables. Modifications to database tables, operations on cursors that are not local to the function, sending e-mail, attempting a catalog modification, and generating a result set that is returned to the user are examples of actions that cannot be performed in a function.

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