Jeff Smith Blog

Random Thoughts & Cartesian Products with Microsoft SQL Server

How to calculate Median in SQL Server

Nothing earth-shattering here, I was just helping out a colleague with this so I thought I'd post up the example I gave him. -- sample table:create table People(Person varchar(1) primary key,City varchar(10),Age int)go-- with some sample data: insert into People select 'A','Boston',23 union all -- odd #select 'B','Boston',43 union allselect 'C','Boston',29 union allselect 'D','Chicago',15 union all -- single #select 'E','NY',12 union all -- even #select 'F','NY',55 union allselect 'G','NY',57 union allselect 'H','NY',61go-- here's our query, showing median age per city: select city,AVG(age) as MedianAgefrom (select City, Person, Age, ROW_NUMBER() over (partition by City order by Age ASC) as AgeRank,COUNT(*) over (partition by City) as CityCountfromPeople) xwherex. Read more →

Database Column Names != Report Headings

Always remember that the column names returned in a result set do not have to be the same as what you eventually output at your presentation layer.  For example, suppose you have stored procedure that accepts a @CurrentYear parameter and returns a sales variance between the current year and the previous year for each customer. Read more →

UNPIVOT: Normalizing data on the fly

Everyone seems to want to "pivot" or "cross tab" data, but knowing how to do the opposite is equally important. In fact, I would argue that the skill of "unpivoting" data is more useful and more important and more relevant to a SQL programmer, since pivoting results in denormalized data, while unpivoting can transform non-normalized data into a normalized result set. Read more →

Composite Primary Keys

Ah … primary keys … such a topic! When discussing what columns to define as a primary key in your data models, two large points always tend to surface: Surrogate Keys versus Natural Keys Normalization These can be very complicated and sometimes polarizing things to debate. Read more →

Slightly more dynamic ORDER BY in SQL Server 2005

There's a very interesting way of handling complicated, multi-column dynamic sorts over at I am not sure about the efficiency of this approach, but in general dynamic sorting tends not to be very efficient anyway (unless you use dynamically-created SQL statements). Read more →