Asked  7 Months ago    Answers:  5   Viewed   28 times

I never use CTE with recursion. I was just reading an article on it. This article shows employee info with the help of Sql server CTE and recursion. It is basically showing employees and their manager info. I am not able to understand how this query works. Here is the query:

WITH
  cteReports (EmpID, FirstName, LastName, MgrID, EmpLevel)
  AS
  (
    SELECT EmployeeID, FirstName, LastName, ManagerID, 1
    FROM Employees
    WHERE ManagerID IS NULL
    UNION ALL
    SELECT e.EmployeeID, e.FirstName, e.LastName, e.ManagerID,
      r.EmpLevel + 1
    FROM Employees e
      INNER JOIN cteReports r
        ON e.ManagerID = r.EmpID
  )
SELECT
  FirstName + ' ' + LastName AS FullName,
  EmpLevel,
  (SELECT FirstName + ' ' + LastName FROM Employees
    WHERE EmployeeID = cteReports.MgrID) AS Manager
FROM cteReports
ORDER BY EmpLevel, MgrID

Here I am posting about how the output is showing: enter image description here

I just need to know how it is showing manager first and then his subordinate in a loop. I guess the first sql statement fires only once and that returns all employee ids.

And the second query repeatedly fires, querying the database on which employee exists with the current manager id.

Please explain how the sql statement executes in an internal loop and also tell me the sql execution order. Thanks.

MY 2nd phase of question

;WITH Numbers AS
(
    SELECT n = 1
    UNION ALL
    SELECT n + 1
    FROM Numbers
    WHERE n+1 <= 10
)
SELECT n
FROM Numbers

Q 1) how is the value of N is getting incremented? if the value is assigned to N every time then N value can be incremented but only the first time N value was initialized.

Q 2) CTE and recursion of employee relations:

The moment I add two managers and add a few more employees under the second manager is where the problem starts.

I want to display the first manager detail and in the next rows only those employee details that relate to the subordinate of that manager.

Suppose

ID     Name      MgrID    Level
---    ----      ------   -----
1      Keith      NULL     1
2      Josh       1        2
3      Robin      1        2
4      Raja       2        3
5      Tridip     NULL     1
6      Arijit     5        2
7      Amit       5        2
8      Dev        6        3

I want to display the results in such way with CTE expressions. Please tell me what to modify in my sql which I gave here in order to pull manager-employee relations. Thanks.

I want the output to be like this:

ID          Name   MgrID       nLevel      Family
----------- ------ ----------- ----------- --------------------
1           Keith  NULL        1           1
3           Robin  1           2           1
2           Josh   1           2           1
4           Raja   2           3           1
5           Tridip NULL        1           2
7           Amit   5           2           2
6           Arijit 5           2           2
8           Dev    6           3           2

Is this possible...?

 Answers

98

I haven't tested your code, just tried to help you understand how it operates in comment;

WITH
  cteReports (EmpID, FirstName, LastName, MgrID, EmpLevel)
  AS
  (
-->>>>>>>>>>Block 1>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
-- In a rCTE, this block is called an [Anchor]
-- The query finds all root nodes as described by WHERE ManagerID IS NULL
    SELECT EmployeeID, FirstName, LastName, ManagerID, 1
    FROM Employees
    WHERE ManagerID IS NULL
-->>>>>>>>>>Block 1>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    UNION ALL
-->>>>>>>>>>Block 2>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    
-- This is the recursive expression of the rCTE
-- On the first "execution" it will query data in [Employees],
-- relative to the [Anchor] above.
-- This will produce a resultset, we will call it R{1} and it is JOINed to [Employees]
-- as defined by the hierarchy
-- Subsequent "executions" of this block will reference R{n-1}
    SELECT e.EmployeeID, e.FirstName, e.LastName, e.ManagerID,
      r.EmpLevel + 1
    FROM Employees e
      INNER JOIN cteReports r
        ON e.ManagerID = r.EmpID
-->>>>>>>>>>Block 2>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
  )
SELECT
  FirstName + ' ' + LastName AS FullName,
  EmpLevel,
  (SELECT FirstName + ' ' + LastName FROM Employees
    WHERE EmployeeID = cteReports.MgrID) AS Manager
FROM cteReports
ORDER BY EmpLevel, MgrID

The simplest example of a recursive CTE I can think of to illustrate its operation is;

;WITH Numbers AS
(
    SELECT n = 1
    UNION ALL
    SELECT n + 1
    FROM Numbers
    WHERE n+1 <= 10
)
SELECT n
FROM Numbers

Q 1) how value of N is getting incremented. if value is assign to N every time then N value can be incremented but only first time N value was initialize.

A1: In this case, N is not a variable. N is an alias. It is the equivalent of SELECT 1 AS N. It is a syntax of personal preference. There are 2 main methods of aliasing columns in a CTE in T-SQL. I've included the analog of a simple CTE in Excel to try and illustrate in a more familiar way what is happening.

--  Outside
;WITH CTE (MyColName) AS
(
    SELECT 1
)
-- Inside
;WITH CTE AS
(
    SELECT 1 AS MyColName
    -- Or
    SELECT MyColName = 1  
    -- Etc...
)

Excel_CTE

Q 2) now here about CTE and recursion of employee relation the moment i add two manager and add few more employee under second manager then problem start. i want to display first manager detail and in the next rows only those employee details will come those who are subordinate of that manager

A2:

Does this code answer your question?

--------------------------------------------
-- Synthesise table with non-recursive CTE
--------------------------------------------
;WITH Employee (ID, Name, MgrID) AS 
(
    SELECT 1,      'Keith',      NULL   UNION ALL
    SELECT 2,      'Josh',       1      UNION ALL
    SELECT 3,      'Robin',      1      UNION ALL
    SELECT 4,      'Raja',       2      UNION ALL
    SELECT 5,      'Tridip',     NULL   UNION ALL
    SELECT 6,      'Arijit',     5      UNION ALL
    SELECT 7,      'Amit',       5      UNION ALL
    SELECT 8,      'Dev',        6   
)
--------------------------------------------
-- Recursive CTE - Chained to the above CTE
--------------------------------------------
,Hierarchy AS
(
    --  Anchor
    SELECT   ID
            ,Name
            ,MgrID
            ,nLevel = 1
            ,Family = ROW_NUMBER() OVER (ORDER BY Name)
    FROM Employee
    WHERE MgrID IS NULL

    UNION ALL
    --  Recursive query
    SELECT   E.ID
            ,E.Name
            ,E.MgrID
            ,H.nLevel+1
            ,Family
    FROM Employee   E
    JOIN Hierarchy  H ON E.MgrID = H.ID
)
SELECT *
FROM Hierarchy
ORDER BY Family, nLevel

Another one sql with tree structure

SELECT ID,space(nLevel+
                    (CASE WHEN nLevel > 1 THEN nLevel ELSE 0 END)
                )+Name
FROM Hierarchy
ORDER BY Family, nLevel
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
 
RemiX
answered 7 Months ago
63

Not sure I understand what you are looking for but it could be this.

;WITH c 
     AS (SELECT childid, 
                parentid, 
                parentid AS topParentID 
         FROM   @myTable 
         WHERE  childid = parentid 
         UNION ALL 
         SELECT T.childid, 
                T.parentid, 
                c.topparentid 
         FROM   @myTable AS T 
                INNER JOIN c 
                        ON T.parentid = c.childid 
         WHERE  T.childid <> T.parentid) 
SELECT childid, 
       topparentid 
FROM   c 
ORDER  BY childid 

SE-Data

It is the same as answer by marc_s with the difference that I use your table variable and the fact that you have childID = parentID for root nodes where the answer by marc_s has parent_ID = null for root nodes. In my opinion it is better to have parent_ID = null for root nodes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021
 
van_folmert
answered 4 Months ago
41

Views can be indexed but CTE can't. So this is one important point.

CTE work excellent on tree hierarchyi.e. recursive

Also, consider views when dealing with complex queries. Views being a physical object on database (but does not store data physically) and can be used on multiple queries, thus provide flexibility and centralized approach. CTE, on the other hand are temporary and will be created when they are used; that's why they are called as inline view.

Update

According to your updated question, views will be the right choice. Dealing with 3.5 million rows in CTE will create extra overhead on TempDb which will eventually slow down SQL Server performance. Remember, CTE is a disposable view hence no statistics are stored and you can't create Indexes too. It is just like a sub query.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021
 
Blur
answered 4 Months ago
30

From the WITH common_table_expression manual:

Specifies a temporary named result set, known as a common table expression (CTE). This is derived from a simple query and defined within the execution scope of a single SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statement.

So, no, you can't extend the scope of the CTE beyond the SELECT statement it was defined in. You will have to store the result in a temporary table or table valued variable if you want to use the result more than once.

Friday, August 27, 2021
 
Bhesh Gurung
answered 3 Months ago
68

I believe that CTE results are retrieved every time. With a temp table the results are stored until it is dropped. This would seem to explain the performance gains you saw when you switched to a temp table.

Another benefit is that you can create indexes on a temporary table which you can't do to a cte. Not sure if there would be a benefit in your situation but it's good to know.

Related reading:

  • Which are more performant, CTE or temporary tables?
  • SQL 2005 CTE vs TEMP table Performance when used in joins of other tables
  • http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc163346.aspx#S3

Quote from the last link:

The CTE's underlying query will be called each time it is referenced in the immediately following query.

I'd say go with the temp table. Unfortunately elegant isn't always the best solution.

UPDATE:

Hmmm that makes things more difficult. It's hard for me to say with out looking at your whole environment.

Some thoughts:

  • can you use a stored procedure instead of a UDF (instead, not from within)?
  • This may not be possible but if you can remove the left join from you CTE you could move that into an indexed view. If you are able to do this you may see performance gains over even the temp table.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
 
gMale
answered 2 Months ago
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