Windowed Functions in SQL Server

Pre-requisite: you are expected to be familiar with SQL, including GROUP BY and Aggregates. There is a CTE.

Part 1: Over and Over

We all know that this will fail, and why...

Select top 3
    VehicleCode, 
    COUNT(*) as [COUNT]
from Reporting.Vehicles

Error Column 'Reporting.Vehicles.VehicleCode' is invalid in the select list because it is not contained in either an aggregate function or the GROUP BY clause.

You can't mix aggregates and non aggregates, unless you use GROUP BY. Or can you!?

Watch what happens when we include an OVER() clause...

Select top 3
       VehicleCode, 
       COUNT(*) OVER() as [COUNT]
from Reporting.Vehicles
VehicleCode COUNT
ABC_VH011 8214
ABC_VH012 8214
ABC_VH013 8214

Often the only place we're familiar with OVER() from is with the ROW_NUMBER() function. Honestly, most of us treat ROW_NUMBER() as a little bit of magic text that we copy and paste from stackoverflow each time we want to use it.

Let's follow the same process, but instead of the count function we'll start with a ROW_NUMBER()...

Select top 3
       VehicleCode, 
       ROW_NUMBER() as ROW_NUMBER
from Reporting.Vehicles

Error The function 'ROW_NUMBER' must have an OVER clause.

Now we're told that The function 'ROW_NUMBER' must have an OVER clause.

So let's include an OVER clause...

Select top 3
       VehicleCode, 
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER() as ROW_NUMBER
from Reporting.Vehicles

Error The function 'ROW_NUMBER' must have an OVER clause with ORDER BY.

Now we're heckled with "The function 'ROW_NUMBER' must have an OVER clause with ORDER BY" and I don't know they didn't say that in the first place?

(And you noticed that the COUNT function above did not require an ORDER BY clause. That's because ROW_NUMBER and COUNT operate under different rules.)

So we'll add that in...

Select top 3
       VehicleCode, 
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER(order by VehicleCode) as ROW_NUMBER 
from Reporting.Vehicles
VehicleCode ROW_NUMBER
ABC_VH011 1
ABC_VH012 2
ABC_VH013 3

And voila! We have our ROW_NUMBER... but let's learn more about what's happening here.

First we need to see exactly what the rules are.

Can you guess what will happen if we order by DESC ?

Select top 3
       VehicleCode, 
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY VehicleCode desc) as ROW_NUMBER 
from Reporting.Vehicles

Will we now get 3,2,1 ?

VehicleCode ROW_NUMBER
YAX_VH011 1
WYX_VH012 2
WNX_VH013 3

No, we still got 1,2,3 -- but the top 3 Vehicles we were shown were from the end of the list of Vehicles, in descending order.

This takes a little bit of thinking. Since there's no sort order on the outer query, the ordering created by the rest of the query is apparent. And it shows us a little bit about the way in which the ROW_NUMBER was applied. They started applying from the back of the list, i.e. starting at 1.

What if we order the outer query by VehicleCode ascending... will we now get 3,2,1 ?

Select top 3
       VehicleCode
       ,ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY VehicleCode desc) as ROW_NUMBER 
from Reporting.Vehicles
order by VehicleCode asc
VehicleCode ROW_NUMBER
ABC_VH011 8214
ABC_VH012 8213
ABC_VH013 8212

Can we order by an integer?

Select top 3 
       VehicleCode
       ,ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY 1 asc) as ROW_NUMBER
from Reporting.Vehicles
order by 1 asc

Error Windowed functions and NEXT VALUE FOR functions do not support integer indices as ORDER BY clause expressions.

Can we order by a Windowed Function?

Select top 3 
       VehicleCode, 
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY VehicleCode asc) as ROW_NUMBER
from Reporting.Vehicles
order by ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY VehicleCode desc) asc
VehicleCode ROW_NUMBER
YAX_VH001 8214
WYX_VH001 8213
WNX_VH001 8212

Can we put a windowed function into the OVER clause???

Select top 3 
    VehicleCode, 
    ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY 
        ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY VehicleCode desc) asc
        ) as ROW_NUMBER
from Reporting.Vehicles

Error Windowed functions cannot be used in the context of another windowed function or aggregate.

Can we put a windowed function in a WHERE clause?

Select top 3 
       VehicleCode, 
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY VehicleCode asc) as ROW_NUMBER
from Reporting.Vehicles
where ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY VehicleCode asc) > 4

Error Windowed functions can only appear in the SELECT or ORDER BY clauses.

At this stage we've learnt all the rules.

We can follow this old skating maxim:

FIRST: Learn all the rules
NEXT: Break all the rules

Here's how we CAN put a windowed-function into a WHERE clause...

;with TopVehicles AS
(Select 
      VehicleCode, 
      ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY VehicleCode asc) as ROWNUM
from Reporting.Vehicles)
select top 3 * from TopVehicles
where ROWNUM > 4

We use a Common-Table-Expression (CTE) to get one extra level of indirection... now we can filter by our windowed-function.

VehicleCode ROWNUM
ABC_VH001 5
ABC_VH002 6
ABC_VH002R 7

In fact this is a handy general technique.

You can also apply a windowed function column to a windowed function, if you first wrap it in a CTE.

This technique creates a kind of CTE game of Pass-the-Parcel. You may need to wrap up many levels of CTE to get the result you need.

cte pass the parcel

PART 2: Other Functions

We've finished exploring COUNT and Row_Number functions for now.

A quick look at other functions.

I said above that "ROW_NUMBER and COUNT operate under different rules" -- that's because they are different types of functions.

Y'see, with over() there are two types of functions you can use:

  1. ALL of the aggregates (e.g. COUNT, SUM, AVG) which you know from GROUPing
  2. "Ranking functions"

What's an example of a Ranking function?

An obvious example would be the RANK function itself, which we'll get to in a moment.

But ROW_NUMBER is also a ranking function. It's just a very unfair ranking

Select top 5
       VehicleCode,
       ReliabilityFactor,
       RANK() OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as RANK_ReliabilityFactor,
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as ROW_NUM
from Reporting.Vehicles
where ReliabilityFactor is not null and ReliabilityFactor <= 3.50
VehicleCode ReliabilityFactor RANK_ReliabilityFactor ROW_NUM
ARQ_VH129 3.5 1 1
MJQ_VH166 3.5 1 2
IBV_VH167 3.43525004386902 3 3
JMX_VH149 3.40000009536743 4 4
MJQ_VH006 3.40000009536743 4 5

The different ranking functions each use a different 'strategy' for numbering.

In the plain old RANK strategy, if two rows are "tied" then they get the same number. And a subsequent number is skipped.

Rank is like the olympics: two people can share a gold medal, but then no one gets the silver.

A different strategy is DENSE_RANK:

Select top 5
       VehicleCode,
       ReliabilityFactor,
       COUNT(*) over () as [Count],
       RANK() OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as RANK_ReliabilityFactor,
    DENSE_RANK() OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as DENSE_RANK_ReliabilityFactor,
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as ROW_NUMBER_ReliabilityFactor
from Reporting.Vehicles
where ReliabilityFactor is not null and ReliabilityFactor <= 3.50
VehicleCode ReliabilityFactor Count RANK_ReliabilityFactor DENSE_RANK_ReliabilityFactor ROW_NUMBER_ReliabilityFactor
ARQ_VH129 3.5 3085 1 1 1
MJQ_VH166 3.5 3085 1 1 2
IBV_VH167 3.43525004386902 3085 3 2 3
JMX_VH149 3.40000009536743 3085 4 3 4
MJQ_VH006 3.40000009536743 3085 4 3 5

With dense rank, if two people tie for first they both get a gold medal. And the next person gets a silver.

This way you know every type of number will be handed out, at least once, even though ties are allowed.

So it's more fair than 'row number' but has different numeric properties. So it can be useful depending on how you want to join it to other things.

PART 3: Aggregates

The famous MAX and MIN

Select top 5
       VehicleCode,
       ReliabilityFactor,
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as ROW_NUMBER_ReliabilityFactor,
       MAX(ReliabilityFactor) OVER() as MAX_RF,
       MIN(ReliabilityFactor) OVER() as MIN_RF
from Reporting.Vehicles
where ReliabilityFactor is not null and ReliabilityFactor <= 3.50
VehicleCode ReliabilityFactor ROW_NUMBER_ReliabilityFactor MAX_RF MIN_RF
ARQ_VH129 3.5 1 3.5 0
MJQ_VH166 3.5 2 3.5 0
IBV_VH167 3.43525004386902 3 3.5 0
JMX_VH149 3.40000009536743 4 3.5 0
MJQ_VH006 3.40000009536743 5 3.5 0

What if we specify an order by!?

Select top 5
    VehicleCode,
    ReliabilityFactor,
    ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as ROW_NUMBER_ReliabilityFactor,
    --MAX(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as MAX_RF,
    MIN(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as MIN_RF
from Reporting.Vehicles
where ReliabilityFactor is not null and ReliabilityFactor <= 3.50
VehicleCode ReliabilityFactor ROW_NUMBER_ReliabilityFactor MIN_RF
ARQ_VH129 3.5 1 3.5
MJQ_VH166 3.5 2 3.5
IBV_VH167 3.43525004386902 3 3.43525004386902
JMX_VH149 3.40000009536743 4 3.40000009536743
MJQ_VH006 3.40000009536743 5 3.40000009536743

PART 4: RANGES/PRECEDING/FOLLOWING

Select top 7
       VehicleCode,
       ReliabilityFactor,
       -- A:
       COUNT(*) OVER() as [COUNT_OVER],
       -- B:
       COUNT(*) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc  ) as [COUNT_ORDER_BY_RF],
       -- C:
       COUNT(*) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc RANGE 
                     UNBOUNDED PRECEDING) as [COUNT_RF_RANGE],
       -- D:
       COUNT(*) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc RANGE 
                     BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING
                           AND CURRENT ROW) as [COUNT_RF_RANGE_BETWEEN],
       -- E:
       COUNT(*) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc ROWS 
                     BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING
                           AND CURRENT ROW) as [COUNT_RF_ROWS]

from Reporting.Vehicles
where ReliabilityFactor is not null and ReliabilityFactor <= 3.50
VehicleCode ReliabilityFactor COUNT_OVER COUNT_ORDER_BY_RF COUNT_RF_RANGE COUNT_RF_RANGE_BETWEEN COUNT_RF_ROWS
ARQ_VH129 3.5 3085 2 2 2 1
MJQ_VH166 3.5 3085 2 2 2 2
IBV_VH167 3.43525004386902 3085 3 3 3 3
JMX_VH149 3.40000009536743 3085 7 7 7 4
MJQ_VH006 3.40000009536743 3085 7 7 7 5
MJQ_VH174 3.40000009536743 3085 7 7 7 6
MJQ_VH204 3.40000009536743 3085 7 7 7 7

Here is a fairly exhaustive set of clauses...

Select top 7
       VehicleCode,
       ReliabilityFactor,
       --A:
       MIN(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc) as MIN_RF,
       --B:
              MIN(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc RANGE 
                     UNBOUNDED PRECEDING) as MIN_RF,
       --B1:
       MIN(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc RANGE 
                     BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING
                           AND CURRENT ROW) as MIN_RF,
       --C:
       MIN(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc  ROWS 
                     BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING
                           AND UNBOUNDED FOLLOWING) as MIN_RF_UNBOUNDED,
       --D:
       MIN(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc  RANGE 
                     BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING
                           AND UNBOUNDED FOLLOWING) as MIN_RF_RANGE_UNBOUNDED,
       --E:
       MIN(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc  RANGE 
                     UNBOUNDED PRECEDING) as MIN_RF_RANGE_UNBOUNDED_PREC,
       --F:
       Max(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc
       rows BETWEEN CURRENT ROW AND UNBOUNDED FOLLOWING) as Max_RF_rows_AHEAD,
       --G:
       Max(ReliabilityFactor) OVER(ORDER BY ReliabilityFactor desc
       rows BETWEEN 2 PRECEDING AND 2 FOLLOWING) as Max_RF_rows_neighbours

from Reporting.Vehicles
where ReliabilityFactor is not null and ReliabilityFactor <= 3.50
order by ReliabilityFactor desc
VehicleCode ReliabilityFactor MIN_RF MIN_RF1 MIN_RF2 MIN_RF_UNBOUNDED MIN_RF_RANGE_UNBOUNDED MIN_RF_RANGE_UNBOUNDED_PREC Max_RF_rows_AHEAD Max_RF_rows_neighbours
ARQ_VH129 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 0 0 3.5 3.5 3.5
MJQ_VH166 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 0 0 3.5 3.5 3.5
IBV_VH167 3.43525004386902 3.43525004386902 3.43525004386902 3.43525004386902 0 0 3.43525004386902 3.43525004386902 3.5
JMX_VH149 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 0 0 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.5
MJQ_VH006 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 0 0 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.43525004386902
MJQ_VH174 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 0 0 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743
MJQ_VH204 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 0 0 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743 3.40000009536743

PART 5: PARTITIONS

We will use COUNT to demonstrate partitions.

First, a COUNT with no partition...

The COUNT is the total count...

Select top 9
       VehicleCode, 
       Fleet,
       COUNT(*) OVER() as [COUNT]
from Reporting.Vehicles
where not Fleet is null
order by Fleet, Vehiclecode
VehicleCode Fleet COUNT
PLF_VH112 096FQ389 8191
CHP_VH151 0H3A82P2 8191
CHP_VH159 0H3A82P2 8191
PEF_VH007 0C1FT1H2 8191
BXR_VH188 1Y0PY47X 8191
BXR_VH190 1Y0PY47X 8191
BXR_VH199 1Y0PY47X 8191
BXR_VH200 1Y0PY47X 8191
BXR_VH201 1Y0PY47X 8191

Let's add some partition... This time count will show us how many rows in each Fleet:

Select top 9
       VehicleCode, 
       Fleet,
       ROW_NUMBER() OVER(PARTITION BY Fleet order by VehicleCode) as [ROW_IN_Fleet],
       COUNT(*) OVER(PARTITION BY Fleet) as [COUNT_IN_Fleet],
       -- Friendly Name...
       'Vehicle ' + Cast(ROW_NUMBER() OVER(PARTITION BY Fleet order by VehicleCode) as Varchar(10))  + ' of ' + Cast(COUNT(*) OVER(PARTITION BY Fleet) as Varchar(10)) + ' on ' + Fleet as [Friendly_Name]
from Reporting.Vehicles
where not Fleet is null
order by Fleet, Vehiclecode
VehicleCode Fleet ROW_IN_Fleet COUNT_IN_Fleet Friendly_Name
PLF_VH112 096FQ389 1 1 Vehicle 1 of 1 on 096FQ389
CHP_VH151 0H3A82P2 1 2 Vehicle 1 of 2 on 0H3A82P2
CHP_VH159 0H3A82P2 2 2 Vehicle 2 of 2 on 0H3A82P2
PEF_VH007 0C1FT1H2 1 1 Vehicle 1 of 1 on 0C1FT1H2
BXR_VH188 1Y0PY47X 1 5 Vehicle 1 of 5 on 1Y0PY47X
BXR_VH190 1Y0PY47X 2 5 Vehicle 2 of 5 on 1Y0PY47X
BXR_VH199 1Y0PY47X 3 5 Vehicle 3 of 5 on 1Y0PY47X
BXR_VH200 1Y0PY47X 4 5 Vehicle 4 of 5 on 1Y0PY47X
BXR_VH201 1Y0PY47X 5 5 Vehicle 5 of 5 on 1Y0PY47X

PART 6: LEAD/LAG

Select top 9
       VehicleCode, 
       COUNT(*) OVER(PARTITION BY Fleet) as [COUNT_IN_Fleet],
       Fleet,
       LEAD(Fleet) OVER(order by Fleet, VehicleCode) as [NEXT_Fleet],
       LAG(Fleet) OVER(order by Fleet, VehicleCode) as [PREVIOUS_Fleet],
       LEAD(Fleet,2) OVER(order by Fleet, VehicleCode) as [NEXT_NEXT_Fleet],
       LAG(Fleet,2) OVER(order by Fleet, VehicleCode) as [PREVIOUS_PREVIOUS_Fleet],
       LEAD(Fleet,8172) OVER(order by Fleet, VehicleCode) as [NEXT_Fleet_8172],
       FIRST_VALUE(VehicleCode) OVER(partition by Fleet order by Vehiclecode) as First_Vehicle_in_Fleet,
       LAST_VALUE(VehicleCode) OVER(partition by Fleet order by Vehiclecode 
           RANGE BETWEEN 
           CURRENT ROW AND UNBOUNDED FOLLOWING) as Last_Vehicle_in_Fleet
from Reporting.Vehicles
where not Fleet is null
order by Fleet, Vehiclecode
VehicleCode COUNT_IN_Fleet Fleet NEXT_Fleet PREVIOUS_Fleet NEXT_NEXT_Fleet PREVIOUS_PREVIOUS_Fleet NEXT_Fleet_8172 First_Vehicle_in_Fleet Last_Vehicle_in_Fleet
PLF_VH112 1 096FQ389 0H3A82P2 0H3A82P2 APYX07 PLF_VH112 PLF_VH112
CHP_VH151 2 0H3A82P2 0H3A82P2 096FQ389 0C1FT1H2 APYX07 CHP_VH151 CHP_VH159
CHP_VH159 2 0H3A82P2 0C1FT1H2 0H3A82P2 1Y0PY47X 096FQ389 APYX07 CHP_VH151 CHP_VH159
PEF_VH007 1 0C1FT1H2 1Y0PY47X 0H3A82P2 1Y0PY47X 0H3A82P2 APYX07 PEF_VH007 PEF_VH007
BXR_VH188 5 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 0C1FT1H2 1Y0PY47X 0H3A82P2 APYX07 BXR_VH188 BXR_VH201
BXR_VH190 5 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 0C1FT1H2 APYX07 BXR_VH188 BXR_VH201
BXR_VH199 5 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X APYX07 BXR_VH188 BXR_VH201
BXR_VH200 5 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 1Y0PY47X 101DY473 1Y0PY47X ARG447 BXR_VH188 BXR_VH201
BXR_VH201 5 1Y0PY47X 101DY473 1Y0PY47X 101DY473 1Y0PY47X ARG447 BXR_VH188 BXR_VH201

Background reading:

See also

results matching ""

    No results matching ""