This is a real-world problem that I came across the other day. In a reporting scenario, I wanted to output a number of values in an easy, human-readable way for a report. But just making a long, comma-separated string of numbers doesn’t really make it very readable. This is particularly true when there are hundreds of values.
So here’s a powerful pattern to solve that task.
A common reporting scenario is that your report has to concatenate an aggregate of string values from rows. Many other database platforms even have built-in aggregate functions that will concatenate text for you (like LISTAGG() on Oracle). In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can achieve the same results in T-SQL, using the APPLY operator and the XML datatype.