SQL SERVER – 2008 – Interview Questions and Answers – Part 7

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How can we rewrite sub-queries into simple select statements or with joins?

Yes we can write using Common Table Expression (CTE). A Common Table Expression (CTE) is an expression that can be thought of as a temporary result set which is defined within the execution of a single SQL statement. A CTE is similar to a derived table in that it is not stored as an object and lasts only for the duration of the query.


USE AdventureWorks
WITH EmployeeDepartment_CTE AS (
SELECT EmployeeID,DepartmentID,ShiftID
FROM HumanResources.EmployeeDepartmentHistory
SELECT ecte.EmployeeId,ed.DepartmentID, ed.Name,ecte.ShiftID
FROM HumanResources.Department ed
INNER JOIN EmployeeDepartment_CTE ecte ON ecte.DepartmentID = ed.DepartmentID

What is CLR?

In SQL Server 2008, SQL Server objects such as user-defined functions can be created using such CLR languages. This CLR language support extends not only to user-defined functions, but also to stored procedures and triggers. You can develop such CLR add-ons to SQL Server using Visual Studio 2008. (Read More Here)

What are synonyms?

Synonyms give you the ability to provide alternate names for database objects. You can alias object names; for example, using the Employee table as Emp. You can also shorten names. This is especially useful when dealing with three and four part names; for example, shortening server.database.owner.object to object. (Read More Here)

What is LINQ?

Language Integrated Query (LINQ) adds the ability to query objects using .NET languages. The LINQ to SQL object/relational mapping (O/RM) framework provides the following basic features:

  • Tools to create classes (usually called entities) mapped to database tables
  • Compatibility with LINQ’s standard query operations
  • The DataContext class, with features such as entity record monitoring, automatic SQL statement generation, record concurrency detection, and much more

What is Isolation Levels?

Transactions specify an isolation level that defines the degree to which one transaction must be isolated from resource or data modifications made by other transactions. Isolation levels are described in terms of which concurrency side-effects, such as dirty reads or phantom reads, are allowed.

Transaction isolation levels control:

  • Whether locks are taken when data is read, and what type of locks are requested.
  • How long the read locks are held.
  • Whether a read operation referencing rows modified by another transaction:
  • Blocks until the exclusive lock on the row is freed.
  • Retrieves the committed version of the row that existed at the time the statement or transaction started.
  • Reads the uncommitted data modification. (Read More Here)

What is use of EXCEPT Clause?

EXCEPT clause is similar to MINUS operation in Oracle. The EXCEPT query and MINUS query returns all rows in the first query that are not returned in the second query. Each SQL statement within the EXCEPT query and MINUS query must have the same number of fields in the result sets with similar data types. (Read More Here)

What is XPath?

XPath uses a set of expressions to select nodes to be processed. The most common expression that you’ll use is the location path expression, which returns back a set of nodes called a node set. XPath can use both an unabbreviated and an abbreviated syntax. The following is the unabbreviated syntax for a location path:


What is NOLOCK?

Using the NOLOCK query optimizer hint is generally considered good practice in order to improve concurrency on a busy system. When the NOLOCK hint is included in a SELECT statement, no locks are taken when data is read. The result is a Dirty Read, which means that another process could be updating the data at the exact time you are reading it. There are no guarantees that your query will retrieve the most recent data. The advantage to performance is that your reading of data will not block updates from taking place, and updates will not block your reading of data. SELECT statements take Shared (Read) locks. This means that multiple SELECT statements are allowed simultaneous access, but other processes are blocked from modifying the data. The updates will queue until all the reads have completed, and reads requested after the update will wait for the updates to complete. The result to your system is delay (blocking). (Read More Here)

How would you handle error in SQL SERVER 2008?

SQL Server now supports the use of TRY…CATCH constructs for providing rich error handling. TRY…CATCH lets us build error handling at the level we need, in the way we need to, by setting a region where if any error occurs, it will break out of the region and head to an error handler. The basic structure is as follows:







So if any error occurs in the TRY block, execution is diverted to the CATCH block, and the error can be dealt.


RaiseError generates an error message and initiates error processing for the session. RAISERROR can either reference a user-defined message stored in the sys.messages catalog view or build a message dynamically. The message is returned as a server error message to the calling application or to an associated CATCH block of a TRY…CATCH construct. (Read More Here)

How to rebuild Master Databse?

Master database is system database and it contains information about running server’s configuration. When SQL Server 2005 is installed it usually creates master, model, msdb, tempdb resource and distribution system database by default. Only Master database is the one which is absolutely must have database. Without Master database SQL Server cannot be started. This is the reason it is extremely important to backup Master database.

To rebuild the Master database, Run Setup.exe, verify, and repair a SQL Server instance, and rebuild the system databases. This procedure is most often used to rebuild the master database for a corrupted installation of SQL Server.

What is XML Datatype?

The xml data type lets you store XML documents and fragments in a SQL Server database. An XML fragment is an XML instance that is missing a single top-level element. You can create columns and variables of the xml type and store XML instances in them. The xml data type and associated methods help integrate XML into the relational framework of SQL Server.

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Reference : Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Ashish kumar arora
    December 12, 2009 10:12 am

    dear sir can you suugest the career growth in sql. Or which kind of certifications are needed in this sql.

  • is there any advantage using this SQL stement
    WITH EmployeeDepartment_CTE AS ( …)

    instead of using that directly inside select statement?
    select a,b,c from tab1
    join (select a,b from table2) a on tab1.a=a.a

  • Hi Raghu,

    Both statements will generate same result set.
    CTE is used to simplify logic used.

    If cte is used then we have better understanding of logic that is written.



  • Great Great Thanks Pinal Dave. I have an interview for backend process and i think this will surely help me alot. thanks once again. keep up the good work. and best wishes for new year 2013.


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