The 2015 Swedish SQL Server usergroup challenge

It’s been absolutely ages since I last wrote a blog post, mostly because I’ve been busy getting my shiny new own consultancy up to speed, but I’ll admit that writer’s block has also been a factor.

But here’s something to write home about. This year’s annual Swedish SQL Server usergroup challenge was as interesting as ever, and it marks my third stab at this prestigious competition. In this post, I’ll go through my contribution, highlighting some of the techniques that I’ve applied to make it go really fast.

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Parsing XML data

You’ll be hard-pressed not to stumble over XML data in your daily work. Good thing then, SQL Server contains built-in XML parsing logic – there’s a native xml datatype, built-in XPath support and all the tools you need to store and transform data from or to XML data. However, this is an extensive topic, so this article will cover the basics of parsing XML data into a recordset, just to wet your apetite.

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APPLY tutorial

The APPLY operator can be a bit confusing, but if you master how it works, you can do great things with it. It is similar to a JOIN (hence the confusion), but differs in one key area: The JOIN defines a relation between two datasets using the ON keyword, whereas APPLY does not.

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