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Introduction to Data Analysis

 

Fundamentals of Data Selection

 

Introduction

After creating a table and populating it with records, you may want to see what you can do with data stored in it. One of the most commonly performed operations by the users of a database is to look for data or to isolate records that respond to a particular criterion.

Looking for data that is conform to a criterion is referred to as querying. The result of retrieving data based on a criterion is called a query.

As a database developer, you perform queries by passing instructions to the database engine. This is done using some specially reserved words.

Introduction to Databases

In this and other lessons, we will use a database named LambdaSquare1. The name itself means nothing.

The database represents a fictitious apartment complex. The building has three levels: First, second, and third.

Lambda Square

The apartments are referred to as units. These are what customers, named tenants, come to rent.

Each unit is represented with:

  1. A unit number: Normally, this is the number on the door of the apartment. One of the characteristics of this number is the first digit that specifies the floor or level. For example, if a unit has number 104, this means the apartment is on the first level
  2. Bedrooms: This is an integer from 0 to 3. The number 0 means the unit is an efficiency: A one-room apartment (the kitchen and the living room share a unique room; there is a separate bathroom)
  3. Bathroom: This is a nnumber that indicates the number of bathrooms in the unit
  4. Price: This is how much a tenant would pay every month
  5. Deposit: When a customer starts renting a room, he is usually asked to put some money down, to be optionnally reimbursed when the customer leaves
  6. Available: This is a Boolean value that indicates whether the unit can be rented
 

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing Data Selection

  1. Start the computer and log in
  2. Launch Microsoft SQL Server and click Connect
  3. On the main menu, click File -> New -> Query With Current Connection
  4. In the Query Editor, type the following code:
    -- ===============================================================
    -- Database:	 LambdaSquare1
    -- Author:	 FunctionX
    -- Date Created: Sunday, January 16, 2011
    -- Description:	 This database represents an apartment building.
    --		 This part of the dat2base is used to present the
    --		 apartments to a customer and select the right one
    -- ===============================================================
    USE master
    GO
    
    CREATE DATABASE LambdaSquare1;
    GO
    
    USE LambdaSquare1;
    GO
    CREATE SCHEMA Presentation;
    GO
    CREATE TABLE Presentation.Units
    (
    	UnitNumber nchar(10),
    	Bedrooms int,
    	Bathrooms real,
    	Price money,
    	Deposit money,
    	Available bit
    );
    
    INSERT Presentation.Units
    VALUES(N'101', 0, 1.00, 845.00,  200.00, 0),
          (N'102', 1, 1.00, 895.00,  250.00, 0),
          (N'103', 1, 1.00, 925.00,  275.00, 1),
          (N'104', 2, 1.00, 1050.00, 300.00, 0),
          (N'105', 1, 1.00, 885.00,  250.00, 1),
          (N'106', 3, 2.00, 1350.00, 425.00, 1),
          (N'107', 2, 2.00, 1185.00, 400.00, 0),
          (N'108', 0, 1.00, 865.00,  225.00, 1),
          (N'109', 2, 1.00, 1050.00, 350.00, 1),
          (N'110', 1, 1.00, 895.00,  250.00, 0),
          (N'111', 1, 1.00, 895.00,  250.00, 0),
          (N'112', 0, 1.00, 805.00,  200.00, 1),
          (N'201', 0, 1.00, 825.00,  200.00, 1),
          (N'202', 1, 1.00, 950.00,  325.00, 0),
          (N'203', 1, 1.00, 885.00,  250.00, 1),
          (N'204', 2, 2.00, 1125.00, 425.00, 1),
          (N'205', 1, 1.00, 1055.00, 350.00, 0),
          (N'206', 2, 1.00, 1165.00, 400.00, 1),
          (N'207', 1, 1.00, 895.00,  250.00, 0),
          (N'208', 0, 1.00, 815.00,  200.00, 1),
          (N'210', 1, 1.00, 895.00,  350.00, 1),
          (N'211', 2, 2.00, 925.00,  400.00, 1),
          (N'212', 3, 2.00, 1280.00, 500.00, 0),
          (N'301', 0, 1.00, 845.00,  200.00, 0),
          (N'302', 1, 1.00, 925.00,  250.00, 0),
          (N'303', 2, 1.00, 985.00,  275.00, 1),
          (N'304', 2, 2.00, 1250.00, 300.00, 0),
          (N'305', 1, 1.00, 945.00,  250.00, 1),
          (N'306', 3, 2.00, 1350.00, 425.00, 1),
          (N'307', 2, 2.00, 1285.00, 400.00, 0),
          (N'308', 0, 1.00, 875.00,  225.00, 1),
          (N'309', 2, 1.00, 1150.00, 350.00, 1),
          (N'310', 1, 1.00, 955.00,  250.00, 0),
          (N'311', 3, 2.00, 1325.00, 500.00, 0),
          (N'312', 0, 1.00, 825.00,  200.00, 1);
    GO
  5. To execute, on the main menu, click Query -> Execute
  6. In the Object Explorer, right-click the Databases node and click Refresh
  7. Expand the Databases node
  8. Expand LambdaSquare1 and expand its Tables node

Opening a Table for Data Selection

Microsoft SQL Server provides many ways and tools to perform data analysis, using a Query Editor, the PowerShell, or else:

  • If you are using Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio:
    • To open a window in which you can write the necessary statment(s):
      • On the main menu, click File -> New -> Query With Current Connection
      • On the Standard toolbar, click the New Query button New Query
    • To open a table to view its data and perform data alalysis, in the Object Explorer, right-click the table and click Select Top 1000 Rows
    • To open a table and have many options, including data analysis, in the Object Explorer, right-click the desired table and click Select Edit Top 200 rows
  • To use a Command Prompt:
    • In the SQL Server Management Studio, to open the PowerShell, right-click anything and click Start PowerSheel. Write the statement(s) as we will see

The Query Designer Window

 

Introduction

As one of the ways to get a window for data selection, in the Object Explorer, right-click the desired table and click Select Edit Top 200 rows. When you do this, the interface becomes equipped with the Query Designer toolbar.

The Query Designer window can be made of four sections.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing the Table Window

  • In the Object Explorer, right-click Presentation.Units and click Edit Top 200 Rows

The Diagram Pane

The top section is referred to as the Diagram window or the Diagram pane. To get it:

  • On the main menu, click Query Designer -> Pane -> Diagram
  • Right-click an area of the window -> Pane -> Diagram
  • On the Query Designer toolbar, click the Show Diagram Pane button Show Diagram Pane

The Diagram pane displays the table you had right-clicked in the Object Explorer. In future lessons, we will see how and when to use more than one table, in which case the Diagram pane would show the tables you are using. A table, or each table, in the Diagram pane contains the columns of the table(s) you want to query.

There are various ways you can manipulate a table. For example, if you position the mouse on its title bar, a tool tip would appear, made of TABLE:, the name of the table, and its schema between parentheses. If you click the title bar of the table, the Properties window would display some characteristics of the table. Here is an example:

The Properties of a Table

You can move the table window around and position it wherever you want inside the Diagram pane. To move it, click and drag its title bar. You can also resize a table by clicking and dragging one of its borders.

Each column displays a check box on its left and the name of the column on the right. The first item of the list has a name made of an asterisk and the (All Columns) expression. If you click a field in the table, the Properties window would display its characteristics:

The Properties of a Column of a Table

Obviously, the characteristics shown by the Properties window depend on the type of column. If the list of fields is too long in a table for the allocated rectangle to display, the table would be equipped with a vertical scroll bar.

Data selection consists of selecting one or more columns whose data you want to view. To select a column in the Diagram pane, click the check box on the left side of the name:

Query Designer

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing the Diagram pane

  1. On the main menu, click Query Designer, position the mouse on Pane, and click Diagram
  2. Click the check boxes of all fields to remove the check marks

Diagram

The Criteria Pane

Under the Diagram pane, you can use the Criteria pane. To get it:

  • On the main menu, click Query Designer -> Pane -> Criteria
  • Right-click an area of the window -> Pane -> Criteria
  • On the Query Designer toolbar, click the Show Criteria Pane button Show Criteria Pane

The Criteria pane displays a list of columns used to visually build the SQL statement

Diagram

The Criteria pane is made of columns and rows. The most left column is made of gray boxes. The columns are divided by vertical bars. This allows you to resize them. To resize a column, position the mouse between two column header:

Resizing a Column

Then click, hold the mouse down, and drag in the direction of your choice.

The  Criteria section can also be used for data selection, for which you select columns. To select a column, click a box under the Column header. It would become a combo box. Then click the arrow of that combo box and select the desired field name:

Column Selection in the Criteria Section

If you click the check box of a column in the Diagram pane, the same field becomes selected under the Column column of the Criteria pane.

In the Criteria pane, if you click a combo box that already contains a column but select another, the previous one would be replaced by the new one.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing the Criteria Pane

  • On the Query Designer toolbar, click the Show Criteria Pane button Show Criteria Pane

Column Selection in the Criteria Section

The SQL Pane

Under the Criteria pane, you should see the SQL pane. To get it:

  • On the main menu, click Query Designer -> Pane -> SQL
  • Right-click an area of the window -> Pane -> SQL
  • On the Query Designer toolbar, click the Show SQL Pane button Show SQL Pane

The SQL pane displays the SQL statement that results from selections in the Diagram or the Criteria panes. After clicking the check box of a column, it becomes selected in the Criteria pane and its name appears in the SQL section.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing the SQL Section

  1. Right-click an empty area in the Diagram pane, position the mouse on Pane, click SQL
  2. In the SQL section, delete TOP (200)

SQL

The Results Pane

The bottom section of the window may display the Results pane. To get it:

  • On the main menu, click Query Designer -> Pane -> Results
  • Right-click an area of the window -> Pane -> Results
  • On the Query Designer toolbar, click the Show Results Pane button Show Results Pane

If you know the name of a column that you want to add, which you can see in the Diagram pane, you can directly enter it in the SQL statement.

Managing the Sections

If you don't want a particular section or you want to hide some sections, you can right-click anywhere in the table, position the mouse on Pane and click the name of the section:

Query Designer

The Query Editor for Data Selection

As an alternative to the Table window, you can use the Query Editor for data selection. To prepare a Query Editor for data selection:

  • In the Object Explorer, right-click the desired table and click Select Top 1000 rows
  • In the Object Explorer, position the mouse on Script Table As -> SELECT To -> New Query Editor Window
  • Open a Query Editor. Right-click inside the Query Editor and click Design Query in Editor...

    Query Designer

    In the Add Table dialog box, click the name of the table, click Add, and click Close. This would display a window made of three sections that are the same as the Diagram pane, the Criteria pane, and the Results section.

Column Selection

Any of the above three techniques allows you to select one or more columns to build the desired SQL statement.

After making your selections in the Query Designer, click OK. This would display a Query with a SQL statement. Also, the SQL Editor toolbar would be added under the Standard toolbar. To display the SQL Editor toolbar:

  • On the main menu, you can click View -> Toolbars -> SQL Editor
  • You can right-click any toolbar and click SQL Editor

Referring to a Column

We will write many expressions that include the names of columns. In such expressions, you will need to indicate the particular column you are referring. There are various ways you can do this. To refer to, or to indicate, a table:

  • You must type the name of the table to which the column belongs, followed by the period operator, followed by the name of the column. An example would be Employee.LastName
  • If you didn't create the table in a particular schema, you can type dbo, followed by the period operator, followed by the name of the table to which the column belongs, followed by the period operator, and followed by the name of the column. An example would be dbo.Employee.LastName
  • If the table belongs to a particular schema, type the name of the schema, followed by a period, followed by the name of the table to which the column belongs, followed by a period, and followed by the name of the column. An example would be HumanResources.Employee.LastName
  • You can type the name of the database that owns the table's column, followed by the period operator, followed by the name of the schema, followed by a period, followed by the name of the table to which the column belongs, followed by a period, and followed by the name of the column. An example would be RedOakHighSchool.HumanResources.Employee.LastName

SQL Statement Execution

After creating a SQL statement, you can view its result, which you can get by executing the statement. To do this:

  • If you are working in a Table window:
    • On the main menu, click Query Designer and click Execute SQL
    • On the Query Designer toolbar, click the Execute SQL button Execute
    • Right-click anywhere in the Table window and click Execute SQL
  • If you are working in a Query Editor
    • On the main menu, click Query and click Execute
    • On the SQL Editor toolbar, click the Execute button Execute
    • Right-click anywhere in the Query Editor and click Execute

After executing the statement, the bottom section gets filled with data from only the selected column(s) of the table. We will see examples in the next sections and future lessons.

Other Utilities for Data Selection

 

Introduction

While the SQL Server Management Studio provides a graphical interface for data selection, it is not the only application you can use. Both the SQLCMD utility from the Command Prompt and the Windows PowerShell are other utilities you can use.

To start, open either the Windows PowerShell or the Command Prompt.

Using SQLCMD

If you want to use the Command Prompt, after opening it, type SQLCMD -q followed by a space and the appropriate expression. If you were already working in the SQLCMD utility, simply type the desired statement. In the next sections and lessons, we will study the statements used to analyze data.

Using PowerShell

If you are using the Windows PowerShell, if you want to automatically specify the database to use, in the Object Explorer, right-click that database and click Start PowerShell. At the prompt, type the SQL statement and press Enter. In this case, the statement would execute against a table in the database you had selected. If you want the statement to apply to a different instance of the server, after the above formula, type -ServerInstance, followed by a space, and followed by the server instance in double-quotes.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Starting PowerShell

  1. In the Object Explorer, right-click the name of the server and click Start PowerShell (if you receive an error, skip this step)
  2. Type SQLCMD (or sqlcmd) and press Enter
  3. Type USE LambdaSquare1; and press Enter
  4. Type GO and press Enter

Launching PowerShell

Transact-SQL and Data Selection

 

Introduction

Data selection is actually performed using SQL code that contains one or more columns.

Showing the Results of SQL Data Analysis

After entering the SQL statement in a Table window or a Query Editor, you can execute it to see the result. The result would be displayed in the bottom section. There are two ways you can display the result(s). 

To specify how you want to show the results of your SQL statement, if you are using the Query Editor, you have two options:

  • To show the result as text:
    • On the SQL Editor toolbar, click the Results To Text button Result
    • Right-click somewhere in the table, position the mouse on Results To, and click Results To Text.
    The results would appear in columns of text
  • To show the result as a spreadsheet:
    • On the SQL Editor toolbar, click the Result To Grid button Result to Grid
    • Right-click somewhere in the table, position the mouse on Results To, and click Results To Grid
    The results would appear as a spreadsheet of one or various columns

 

In the Query Editor, you are expected to write appropriate code that would constitute a SQL statement.

Getting the Number of Rows Selected

Remember that the lower section of the Query Editor contains two tabs. When a statement executes, by default, the Messages tab shows a message. It may show the number of records that were produced. In the same way, if you work from a Command Prompt, the last line would display the number of columns. In the Properties window, the Rows Returned field shows the number of rows that a SQL statement produced.

If you don't want to show the message, use the NOCOUNT flag in the following formula:

SET NOCOUNT { ON | OFF }

If you set the flag to ON, the message would not appear. If you are working in the Query Editor, a different message would come up, only to let you know that the "Command(s) completed successfully".

.Getting the Number of Rows Selected

If you are working from a Command Prompt, no message would display. If you want to display the number of rows again, call the NOCOUNT flag and set its value to OFF

Introduction to Field Selection

 

The Formula to SELECT

The most fundamental keyword used by SQL is SELECT. In order to process a request, you must specify what to select. To perform data analysis, the SELECT keyword uses the following syntax:

SELECT WhatField(s) FROM WhatObject;
Author Note

As stated already, SQL is not case-sensitive. This means that SELECT, Select, and select represent the same word.

The SELECT and the FROM keywords are required. The WhatField(s) factor represents one or more columns from a table. WhatObject represents the name of the table that has the WhatField(s) column(s).

SELECTing ALL Fields of a Table

To visually select all records of a table, click the button at the intersection of the columns and the rows:

Selecting all records of a table

Selecting all records of a table

Using code, to select everything from a table, you can use the asterisk in the WhatField(s) placeholder of our formula. For example, to select all records from a table named Students, you can type:

SELECT * FROM Registration.Students;

After writing the expression in a Query Editor, you must execute the SQL statement to see its result. Here is an example:

The Result of a Query

Alternatively, you can precede the asterisk with the ALL keyword.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Selecting All Fields

  1. In the PowerShell window, type:
    SELECT ALL * FROM Presentation.Units;
  2. Press Enter and type:
    GO
  3. Press Enter
    PS SQLSERVER:\SQL\SIRIOUS\DEFAULT> SQLCMD
    1> USE LambdaSquare1;
    2> GO
    Changed database context to 'LambdaSquare1'.
    1> SELECT ALL * FROM Presentation.Units;
    2> GO
    UnitNumber   Bedrooms    Bathrooms        Price         Deposit      Available
    ---------- ----------- -------------- ----------------- ------------ ---------
    101             0          1.0          845.0000        200.0000         0
    102             1          1.0          895.0000        250.0000         0
    103             1          1.0          925.0000        275.0000         1
    104             2          1.0         1050.0000        300.0000         0
    105             1          1.0          885.0000        250.0000         1
    106             3          2.0         1350.0000        425.0000         1
    107             2          2.0         1185.0000        400.0000         0
    108             0          1.0          865.0000        225.0000         1
    109             2          1.0         1050.0000        350.0000         1
    110             1          1.0          895.0000        250.0000         0
    111             1          1.0          895.0000        250.0000         0
    112             0          1.0          805.0000        200.0000         1
    201             0          1.0          825.0000        200.0000         1
    202             1          1.0          950.0000        325.0000         0
    203             1          1.0          885.0000        250.0000         1
    204             2          2.0         1125.0000        425.0000         1
    205             1          1.0         1055.0000        350.0000         0
    206             2          1.0         1165.0000        400.0000         1
    207             1          1.0          895.0000        250.0000         0
    208             0          1.0          815.0000        200.0000         1
    210             1          1.0          895.0000        350.0000         1
    211             2          2.0          925.0000        400.0000         1
    212             3          2.0         1280.0000        500.0000         0
    301             0          1.0          845.0000        200.0000         0
    302             1          1.0          925.0000        250.0000         0
    303             2          1.0          985.0000        275.0000         1
    304             2          2.0         1250.0000        300.0000         0
    305             1          1.0          945.0000        250.0000         1
    306             3          2.0         1350.0000        425.0000         1
    307             2          2.0         1285.0000        400.0000         0
    308             0          1.0          875.0000        225.0000         1
    309             2          1.0         1150.0000        350.0000         1
    310             1          1.0          955.0000        250.0000         0
    311             3          2.0         1325.0000        500.0000         0
    312             0          1.0          825.0000        200.0000         1
    
    (35 rows affected)
    1>

    (If PowerShell is not working, in SQL Server Management Studio, click the SQLQuery1.sql tab

    Press Ctrl + A to select everything

    Type the following:

    SELECT ALL * FROM Presentation.Units;
    GO

    To execute, press F5)

Qualifying the Names of Fields

 

Qualifying the name(s) of (a) column(s) consists of indicating what table to which it (they) belongs. The way you do this depends on some issues.

The primary way to qualify the name of a column is to precede it with the name of the table followed by a period.

If you are using the asterisk * to select all records,  precede it with the name of the table followed by a period. Here is an example:

SELECT Students.* FROM Registration.Students;

You can also qualify the name of a column using a schema. To do this, use the following formula:

SchemaName.TableName.ColumnName

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Qualifying the Names of Columns

  1. In the PowerShell window, type
    SELECT ALL Presentation.Units.*
  2. Press Enter and type
    FROM Presentation.Units;
  3. Press Enter and type:
    GO

    Press Enter
    (If PowerShell is not working, in the SQL Server Management Studio, change the statement as follows:

    SELECT ALL Presentation.Units.* 
    FROM Presentation.Units;
    GO
    To execute, press F5)
Qualifying a Field

The Alias Name of a Table

An alias is another name for an object. You can create an alias name for a table to use in an expression that involves a column.

To visually create an alias for a table, after opening to table to Edit Top 200 Rows, click the table inthe Diagram pane. In the Properties window, click Alias and type a letter or word(s) of your choice. Here is an example:

A SELECT Query

To create an alias of a table using code, use a letter or a word that will represent the table. First type the name of the table, followed by space, and followed by the letter or the word. An example would be Employee empl. If the table belongs to a schema, precede the name of the table with it. Here is an example:

SELECT * FROM Registration.Students pupils;
GO

We mentioned that you could qualify the name of a column or * with the name of the table. If the table has an alias, you can qualify the column using the alias. This:

SELECT Registration.Students.* FROM Registration.Students;
GO

Is the same as

SELECT pupils.* FROM Registration.Students pupils;
GO

You can also use an alias that is made or more than one word. If you are visually creating the alias, select the table and type the words in the Properties window. As soon as you press Enter, square brackets would be added to the left and the right of the name. If you are using SQL code, you can include the alias name in double-quotes. Here is an example:

SELECT FirstName
FROM   Registration.Students "Little Angels";
GO

Then, to qualify a column, use the quoted alias name. Here are examples:

SELECT "Little Angels".FirstName
FROM   Registration.Students "Little Angels";
GO

Instead of using double-quotes, an alterntive is to include the alias in square brackets []. When qualifying the name(s) of the column(s), you can use the alias either in double-quotes or in square brackets.

When creating an alias, you can include the AS keyword between the name of the table and its alias. Here is an example:

SELECT * FROM Registration.Students AS pupils;
GO

This is the same as:

SELECT pupils.* FROM Registration.Students AS pupils;
GO

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Using the Alias Name of a Table

  1. In the PowerShell window, type:
    SELECT ALL aparts.*
  2. Press Enter and type:
    FROM Presentation.Units aparts;
  3. Press Enter and type:
    GO

    Press Enter
    (If PowerShell is not working, in the SQL Server Management Studio, change the statement as follows:

    SELECT ALL aparts.* 
    FROM Presentation.Units aparts;
    GO
    To execute, press F5)
  4. In the SQL Server Management Studio, click the Presentation.Units tab
  5. Click the check box of * (All Columns). If a message box comes up, read it
     
    Syntax Error

    Then click OK and click the * check box again
  6. On the main menu, click Query Designer -> Execute SQL to see the result:
     
    Lambda Square
  7. In the Diagram pane, click the check box of * (All Columns) to remove it

Introduction to Synonyms

A synonym is another name for an object that already has a name. That is, a synonym is a pseudo-name for an existing object. A synonym can be valuable if you want to provide a shorter name for an object. At first glance, a synonym for a table is like an alias. The difference is that an alias is created locally where you want to use it and it can be used only in the code where you create or define it. A synonym is a name you create globally as an object and you can use that name throughout the database.

You can create a synonym visually or programmatically. To visually create a synonym, in the Object Explorer, expand the database. Right-click Synonyms and click New Synonym:

Creating a Synonym

This would open the New Synonym dialog box:

The formula to programmatically create a synonym is:

CREATE SYNONYM [ schema_name_1. ] synonym_name FOR <object>
<object> :: =
{
    [ server_name.[ database_name ] . [ schema_name_2 ].| database_name . [ schema_name_2 ].| schema_name_2. ] object_name
}

In the Synonym Name text box or placeholder, type the desired name. It can be anything to follows the rules of name in Transact-SQL. If the object belongs to a schema and if you want to represent that schema with a synonym, specify it in the Synonym Schema text box or in its placehoder. This is optional. As another option, if you want to indicate the server, type it in the Server Name text box of placeholder. By default, the synonym is meant to be created in the current database. Therefore, the New Synonym dialog box would have selected it in the Database Name text box. Otherwise, you can specify it. If the object belongs to a schema other than dbo, you can specify it in the Schema text box or its placeholder. Specify the object type in the indicated text box or placeholder. After doing this, if you are using the New Synonym dialog box, the Object Name combo box would hold the list of objects that belong to that schema, and you can select the desired one. If you are writing code, type the original object name after the schema. Here is an example:

New Synonym

If you are using the New Synonym dialog box, click OK and the synonym would be created. Here is an example of creating a synonym with code:

CREATE SYNONYM Staff
FOR Personnel.Employees;
GO

If you are programmatically creating the schema, execute your code.

To use a synonym, in the place where you would have used the name of the object, use the synonym. Here is an example that uses the synonym created visually:

SELECT FirstName FROM Pupils;
GO

Here is an example that uses the synonym created with code:

SELECT FirstName FROM Staff;
GO

You can also use the synonym to qualify the names of the columns. Here is an example:

SELECT Staff.FirstName FROM Staff;
GO

You can also create a local alias for the synonym and use it. Here is an example:

SELECT kids.FirstName
FROM Pupils kids;
GO

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Using a Synonym

  1. In the PowerShell window, type:
    CREATE SYNONYM Apartments
  2. Press Enter and type:
    FOR Presentation.Units;
  3. Press Enter
  4. Type GO and press Enter
  5. To use the synonym, type
    SELECT * FROM Apartments;
  6. Press Enter
  7. Type GO and press Enter
  8. To use an alias of a synonym, type
    SELECT apts.* FROM Apartments apts;
  9. Type GO and press Enter
  10. Return to SQL Server Managerment Studio
 
 

Specifying What to Select

   

SELECTing One Column

As opposed to selecting all records, you may be interested in only one particular column whose fields you want to view. To visually select one record of a table, you must use a Query Editor, not the Query Designer. Click the column header:

Selecting one record of a table

To select a column, you can replace the WhatField(s) placeholder of our formula with the name of the desired column. For example, to get a list of last names of students, you would execute the following statement:

SELECT LastName FROM Registration.Students;
GO

You can also qualify a column by preceding it with the name of the table followed by the period operator. The above statement is equivalent to:

SELECT Students.LastName FROM Registration.Students;

When you execute the statement, it would display only the column that contains the last names.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Selecting One Field

  1. In the Diagram pane, click the check box of Price
  2. On the Query Designer toolbar, click the Execute SQL button Execute SQL to see the result:
     
    Selecting One Field

    Notice that it produces 35 records and some prices appear more than once, which indicate that some appartments have the same price

  3. In the PowerShell window, type:
    SELECT aparts.UnitNumber FROM Presentation.Units aparts;
  4. Press Enter
  5. Type GO and press Enter
     
    Selecting Columns From PowerShell
  6. To use the synonym, type
    SELECT Bedrooms FROM Apartments;
  7. Press Enter
  8. Type GO and press Enter
  9. To use an alias of a synonym, type
    SELECT apts.Bathrooms FROM Apartments apts;
  10. Type GO and press Enter

Distinct Field Selection

If you specify a column to select from a table, every record would come up. This can cause the same value to repeat over and over. Here is an example:

This would produce:

CREATE DATABASE VideoCollection1;
GO

CREATE TABLE Videos
(
	Title nvarchar(50),
	Director nvarchar(50),
	Rating nvarchar(10),
	YearReleased int
);
GO
INSERT INTO Videos
VALUES(N'Her Alibi', N'Bruce Beresford', N'PG-13', 1998),
      (N'Two for the Money', N'D.J. Caruso', N'R', 2008),
      (N'Memoirs of a Geisha', N'Rob Marshall', N'PG-13', 2006);
GO
INSERT INTO Videos(Rating, Title, Director)
VALUES(N'R', N'Wall Street', N'Oliver Stone'),
      (N'G', N'Annie', N'John Huston'),
      (N'PG', N'Incredibles (The)', N'Brad Bird'),
      (N'PG-13', N'Sneakers', N'Phil Alden Robinson');
      
GO

SELECT Videos.Rating FROM Videos;
GO

Distinct Field Selection

Notice that PG-13 and R are repeated. Sometimes you want to show each value only once. To visually get such a result, if you are working in the Query Designer, click the check box of the desired column in the Diagram pane or select the field in the Column of the Criteria pane. Then, in the Properties window, set the Distinct Values field to Yes:

Distinct Field Selection

In the SQL, to get a list of distinct values, put the DISTINCT keyword between SELECT and the name of the column. Here is an example:

Distinct Field Selection

In most cases, you would get a better result if you select only one column. Still, you can use as many columns as you want.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Producing Distinct Values

  1. In the PowerShell window, type:
    SELECT DISTINCT aparts.Bedrooms FROM Presentation.Units aparts;
  2. Press Enter
  3. Type GO and press Enter
     
    Selecting Columns From PowerShell
     
    This indicates that we have efficiencies (apartments with no real bedrooms) or apartments with 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms
  4. To close PowerShell, type exit and press Enter
  5. Type exit again and press Enter
  6. In SQL Server Managerment Studio, in the SQL section, between SELECT and Price, type DISTINCT 
  7. On the Query Designer toolbar, click the Execute SQL button Execute SQL to see the result:
     
    Selecting a Distinct Field
  8. Notice that, this time, each price appears only once and, as a result, you get (only) 24 records.
    In the Diagram pane, remove the check box on price. In the SQL pane, delete DISTINCT

SELECTing Many Fields of the Same Table

To consider more than one column in a statement, you can list them in the WhatField(s) placeholder of our formula, separating them with a comma except for the last column. The syntax you would use is:

SELECT Column1, Column2, Column_n FROM WhatObject;

For example, to display a list that includes only the names, gender, email address and home phone of records from a table called Students, you would type:

SELECT FirstName, LastName, Gender, EmailAddress, HomePhone
FROM Registration.Students;

You can qualify each column by preceding it with the name of the table followed by the period operator. The above statement is equivalent to:

SELECT Students.FirstName,
       Students.LastName,
       Students.Gender,
       Students.EmailAddress,
       Students.HomePhone
FROM Registration.Students;

You don't have to qualify all columns, you can qualify some and not qualify some others. The above statement is equivalent to:

SELECT Students.FirstName,
       LastName,
       Students.Gender,
       EmailAddress,
       HomePhone
FROM Registration.Students;

When executed in a Query Editor, this expression would produce:

A SELECT Query

Once again, remember that you can use an alias name for a table by preceding each column with a letter or a word and a period operator, and then entering the name of the table followed by that letter or word. Here is an example:

SELECT std.FirstName,
       std.LastName,
       std.Gender, 
       std.EmailAddress, 
       std.HomePhone
FROM Registration.Students std;

Remember that if the alias is in more than one word, you can include it in either double-quotes or between square brackets. Here are examples:

SELECT [Little Angels].FirstName,
       "Little Angels".LastName,
       [Little Angels].HomePhone,
       "Little Angels".ParentsNames
FROM   Registration.Students [Little Angels];
GO

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Selecting Data

  1. To get a list of the unit numbers and their prices, in the Diagram pane, click the check boxes of UnitNumber and Price (if you receive an error message box, read it and click OK, then click those check boxes again)
  2. Right-click somewhere in the window and click Execute SQL to execute
     
    Selecting Many Fields
  3. In the Diagram pane, remove all check boxes
  4. To get a list of the units, their number of bedrooms, their prices, and their availability, click the check boxes of UnitNumber, Bedrooms, Price, and Available
  5. Right-click somewhere in the window and click Execute SQL
     
    Selecting Many Fields

SELECTing Fields From Different Tables

If you have more than one table in your database, you can use a statement that selects any field(s) you want from those tables. Neither the tables nor the columns need to have anything in common. The formula to follow is:

SELECT WhatField(s) FROM Table_1, Table_2, Table_n

You start with SELECT followed by the list of fields from the tables. If the tables have columns with different names, you can simply list the name of each column. Consider the following tables:

CREATE DATABASE Exercise;
GO
USE Exercise;
GO
CREATE TABLE Employees
(
  [Empl #] nchar(7),
  [First Name] nvarchar(20),
  [Last Name] nvarchar(20),
  [Hourly Salary] money
);
GO
CREATE TABLE Products
(
	Number int,
	Name nvarchar(50),
	UnitPrice money,
);
GO

INSERT INTO Employees
VALUES(N'207-025', N'Julie', N'Flanell', 36.55),
	  (N'926-705', N'Paulette', N'Simms', 26.65),
	  (N'240-002', N'Alexandra', N'Ulm', 12.85),
	  (N'847-295', N'Ellie', N'Tchenko', 11.95);
GO
INSERT INTO Products
VALUES(217409, N'Short Black Skirt', 55.85),
      (284001, N'Pencil Skirt', 49.00);
GO

Here is an example of selecting columns from those tables:

SELECT [Empl #], [First Name], [Last Name], Name, UnitPrice
FROM Employees, Products;
GO

When you select fields from different tables, in the result, each of the records of the first table would display, each showing the first record (combination of the selected columns) of the second table. Then each of the records of the first table would show again, followed by the second record (combination of the selected columns) of the second table. This will continue until all records of the second table have displayed. Consequently, the resulting query would contain (Number of Records of First Table) x (Number of Records of Second Table). For example, if the first table contains 4 records and the second table contains 2 records, the statement would produce 4 x 2 = 8 records. Therefore, the above statement would produce:

Selecting Fields From Different Tables

Imagine your tables have each a column with the same name:

DROP TABLE Employees;
GO
DROP TABLE Products;
GO
CREATE TABLE Employees
(
  [Empl #] nchar(7),
  Name nvarchar(50),
  [Hourly Salary] money
);
GO
CREATE TABLE Products
(
	Number int,
	Name nvarchar(50),
	UnitPrice money,
);
GO

INSERT INTO Employees
VALUES(N'207-025', N'Julie Flanell', 36.55),
	  (N'926-705', N'Paulette Simms', 26.65),
	  (N'240-002', N'Alexandra Ulm', 12.85),
	  (N'847-295', N'Ellie Tchenko', 11.95);
GO
INSERT INTO Products
VALUES(217409, N'Short Black Skirt', 55.85),
      (284001, N'Pencil Skirt', 49.00);
GO

When selecting the columns, you must qualify at least the column(s) with the same name. Otherwise you would receive an error. Therefore, the above Name columns can be accessed as follows:

SELECT [Empl #], empl.Name, prod.Name, UnitPrice
FROM Employees empl, Products prod;
GO

This would produce:

Selecting Fields From Different Tables

Of course, you can qualify all columns of the tables. Here are examples:

DROP TABLE Employees;
GO
DROP TABLE Products;
GO
CREATE TABLE Employees
(
  [Empl #] nchar(7),
  [First Name] nvarchar(20),
  [Last Name] nvarchar(20),
  [Hourly Salary] money
);
GO
CREATE TABLE Products
(
	Number int,
	Name nvarchar(50),
	UnitPrice money,
);
GO

INSERT INTO Employees
VALUES(N'207-025', N'Julie', N'Flanell', 36.55),
      (N'926-705', N'Paulette', N'Simms', 26.65),
      (N'240-002', N'Alexandra', N'Ulm', 12.85),
      (N'847-295', N'Ellie', N'Tchenko', 11.95);
GO
INSERT INTO Products
VALUES(217409, N'Short Black Skirt', 55.85),
      (284001, N'Pencil Skirt', 49.00);
GO

SELECT empl.[Empl #], empl.[First Name], empl.[Last Name],
       prod.Name, prod.UnitPrice
FROM Employees empl, Products prod;
GO

Just as we have used only two tables, you can select records from three or more tables, following the same formula.

Selecting Many Tables

In the Query Editor or the Query Designer, you can show the records of as many tables as you want and those tables don't need to have anything in common. They don't even have to belong to the same database. Consider the following database named Cruise equipped with a table named Cabins:

CREATE DATABASE Cruise;
GO

USE Cruise;
GO

CREATE TABLE Cabins(
    CabinType nvarchar(20) not null,
    Deck nchar(20),
    Size int,
    Rate1Passenger money,
    Rate2Passengers money);
GO
INSERT INTO Cabins -- Size in sq/ft
VALUES(N'Inside', N'Riviera', 215, 289.00, 578.00),
      (N'Outside', N'Riviera', 185, 319.00, 638.00),
      (N'Outside', N'Riviera', 225, 389.00, 778.00),
      (N'Suite', N'Verandah', 295, 1009.00, 2018.00),
      (N'Inside', N'Upper', 185, 379.00, 758.00),
      (N'Inside', N'Main', 215, 359.00, 718.00),
      (N'Outside', N'Riviera', 185, 349.00, 698.00),
      (N'Suite', N'Main', 300, 885.00, 1680.00);
GO

Here is another database named Video Collection with a table named Videos:

CREATE DATABASE VideoCollection
GO

USE VideoCollection
GO

CREATE TABLE Videos
(
	Title nvarchar(50), 
	Director nvarchar(50),
	WideScreen bit,
	Rating nchar(10),
	YearReleased int
)
GO

INSERT INTO Videos
VALUES(N'War of the Roses (The)', N'Dany de Vito', 0, N'R', 2001),
      (N'Memoirs of a Geisha', N'Rob Marshall', 1, N'PG-13', 2006),
      (N'Last Castle (The)', N'Rod Lurie', 1, N'', 2001),
      (N'Sneakers', N'Phil Alden Robinson', 1, N'PG-13', 2003);
GO

To show the records of more than one table, in the Query Editor, write a SELECT statement for each table and execute it. If the tables belong to different databases, make sure you indicate this. Here is an example:

USE Cruise;
GO
SELECT CabinType AS [Cabin Type], Deck, Size AS [Size in sq/ft],
       Rate1Passenger AS [Rate for 1 Passenger],
       Rate2Passengers AS [Rate for 2 Passengers]
FROM Cabins;
GO

USE VideoCollection;
GO
SELECT Title, Director, WideScreen As [Has Wide Screen],
       Rating, YearReleased AS [(c) Year]
FROM Videos;
GO

When executed, the lower part of the window displays the records of the tables, each table on its own part:

Showing Records of Various Tables

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Ending the Lesson

  1. Close Microsoft SQL Server
  2. If asked whether you want to save, click No
 
 
   
 

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