A Basic Guide to SQL Server Stored Procedures

A stored procedure is a prepared SQL code that you can save, so the code can be reused over and over again.

So if you have an SQL query that you write over and over again, save it as a stored procedure, and then just call it to execute it.

You can also pass parameters to a stored procedure, so that the stored procedure can act based on the parameter value(s) that is passed.

Creating a simple stored procedure

The following SELECT statement returns a list of products from the products table in the BikeStores sample database:

SELECT 
 product_name, 
 list_price
FROM 
 production.products
ORDER BY 
 product_name;

To create a stored procedure that wraps this query, you use the CREATE PROCEDURE statement as follows:

CREATE PROCEDURE uspProductList
AS
BEGIN
    SELECT 
        product_name, 
        list_price
    FROM 
        production.products
    ORDER BY 
        product_name;
END;

In this syntax:

  • The uspProductList is the name of the stored procedure.
  • The AS keyword separates the heading and the body of the stored procedure.
  • If the stored procedure has one statement, the BEGIN and END keywords surrounding the statement are optional. However, it is a good practice to include them to make the code clear.

Note that in addition to the CREATE PROCEDURE keywords, you can use the CREATE PROC keywords to make the statement shorter.

To compile this stored procedure, you execute it as a normal SQL statement in SQL Server Management Studio as shown in the following picture:

If everything is correct, then you will see the following message:

Commands completed successfully.

It means that the stored procedure has been successfully compiled and saved into the database catalog.

You can find the stored procedure in the Object Explorer, under Programmability > Stored Procedures as shown below:

Sometimes, you need to click the Refresh button to manually update the database objects in the Object Explorer.

Executing a stored procedure

To execute a stored procedure, you use the EXECUTE or EXEC statement followed by the name of the stored procedure:

EXECUTE sp_name;

Or

EXEC sp_name;

where sp_name is the name of the stored procedure that you want to execute.

For example, to execute the uspProductList stored procedure, you use the following statement:

EXEC uspProductList;

The stored procedure returns the following output:

Modifying a stored procedure

To modify an existing stored procedure, you use the ALTER PROCEDURE statement.

First, open the stored procedure to view its contents by right-clicking the stored procedure name and select Modify menu item:

Second, change the body of the stored procedure by sorting the products by list prices instead of product names:

ALTER PROCEDURE uspProductList
    AS
    BEGIN
        SELECT 
            product_name, 
            list_price
        FROM 
            production.products
        ORDER BY 
            list_price 
    END;

Third, click the Execute button, SQL Server modifies the stored procedure and returns the following output:

Commands completed successfully.

Now, if you execute the stored procedure again, you will see the changes taking effect:

EXEC uspProductList;

The following shows the partial output:

Deleting a stored procedure

To delete a stored procedure, you use the DROP PROCEDURE or DROP PROC statement:

DROP PROCEDURE sp_name;

Or

DROP PROC sp_name;

where sp_name is the name of the stored procedure that you want to delete.

For example, to remove the uspProductList stored procedure, you execute the following statement:

DROP PROCEDURE uspProductList;

In this tutorial, you have learned how to manage SQL Server stored procedures including creating, executing, modifying, and deleting stored procedures.

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