SQL: How to add Hierarchical Levels in your Query?

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Tree-like structures are common in our world: Company Hierarchy, File System on your computer, Product category map among others so you might run into a task of creating a Hierarchical level in your SQL query — In this blog post, I will show you how you can do that using couple of approaches. These approaches can also be used to map “parent – child” relationships.

Two approaches are:

  1. When you know the Tree Depth
  2. When you don’t know the Tree Depth

SQL Hierarchical

#1: When you know tree-depth:

When you know the tree-depth (and if it’s not too deep) then you could consider simple CTE’s to come up with the Hierarchical Levels field in your query.

Let’s take an example:

Input:

EmployeeID FirstName LastName Title ManagerID
1 Ken Sánchez Chief Executive Officer NULL
16 David Bradley Marketing Manager 273
273 Brian Welcker Vice President of Sales 1
274 Stephen Jiang North American Sales Manager 273
285 Syed Abbas Pacific Sales Manager 273

Query: (On SQL Server)


with lvl1 as
(select
[EmployeeID]
,[FirstName]
,[LastName]
,[Title]
,[ManagerID]
,1 as Level
FROM [dbo].[employees]
where ManagerID is null
)
,
lvl2 as
(
select
[EmployeeID]
,[FirstName]
,[LastName]
,[Title]
,[ManagerID]
,2 as Level
FROM [dbo].[employees]
where ManagerID IN (Select EmployeeID from lvl1)
),
lvl3 as
(
select
[EmployeeID]
,[FirstName]
,[LastName]
,[Title]
,[ManagerID]
,3 as Level
FROM [dbo].[employees]
where ManagerID IN (Select EmployeeID from lvl2)
)
select * from lvl1
union
select * from lvl2
union
select * from lvl3

Output:

EmployeeID FirstName LastName Title ManagerID Level
1 Ken Sánchez Chief Executive Officer NULL 1
273 Brian Welcker Vice President of Sales 1 2
16 David Bradley Marketing Manager 273 3
274 Stephen Jiang North American Sales Manager 273 3
285 Syed Abbas Pacific Sales Manager 273 3

#2: When you do NOT know tree-depth:

In other words, if the tree is N-level deep then you are out of luck using option #1. In this case, you should consider the RECURSIVE CTE approach. Here’s an example:

Input: (with the idea that this table will grow over time)

EmployeeID FirstName LastName Title ManagerID
1 Ken Sánchez Chief Executive Officer NULL
16 David Bradley Marketing Manager 273
23 Mary Gibson Marketing Specialist 16
273 Brian Welcker Vice President of Sales 1
274 Stephen Jiang North American Sales Manager 273
275 Michael Blythe Sales Representative 274
276 Linda Mitchell Sales Representative 274
285 Syed Abbas Pacific Sales Manager 273
286 Lynn Tsoflias Sales Representative 285

Query: (On SQL Server that supports Recursive CTE)


with HierarchyLvl as
(
SELECT [EmployeeID]
,[FirstName]
,[LastName]
,[Title]
,[ManagerID]
,1 as Level
FROM [dbo].[employees]
where ManagerID is null
UNION ALL
SELECT e.[EmployeeID]
,e.[FirstName]
,e.[LastName]
,e.[Title]
,e.[ManagerID]
,Level + 1
FROM [dbo].[employees] e INNER JOIN HierarchyLvl d on e.ManagerID = d.EmployeeID
)
select * from HierarchyLvl

 

Output:

EmployeeID FirstName LastName Title ManagerID Level
1 Ken Sánchez Chief Executive Officer NULL 1
273 Brian Welcker Vice President of Sales 1 2
16 David Bradley Marketing Manager 273 3
274 Stephen Jiang North American Sales Manager 273 3
285 Syed Abbas Pacific Sales Manager 273 3
286 Lynn Tsoflias Sales Representative 285 4
275 Michael Blythe Sales Representative 274 4
276 Linda Mitchell Sales Representative 274 4
23 Mary Gibson Marketing Specialist 16 4

Conclusion:

Even if I know tree-depth I will go with option #2 as it’s much easier to read and can accommodate future updates to the table. If you are interested in learning more about this and search for “Recursive Query using Common Table Expression” and you should find technical articles that talk about why it does what it does.

Hope this helps!

How to remove line feeds (lf) and character return (cr) from a text field in SQL Server?

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I was doing some data cleaning the other day, I ran into the issue of text fields having line feeds (lf) and character returns (cr) — this creates a lot of issues when you do data import/export. I had run into this problem sometime before as well and didn’t remember what I did back then so I am putting the solution here so it can be referenced later if need be.

To solve this, you need to remove LF, CR and/or combination of both. here’s the T-SQL syntax for SQL Server to do so:

SELECT REPLACE(REPLACE(@YourFieldName, CHAR(10), ' '), CHAR(13), ' ')

if you’re using some other database system then you need to figure out how to identify CR and LF’s — in SQL Server, the Char() function helps do that and there should be something similar for the database system that you’re using.

What is the difference between Row_Number(), Rank() and Dense_Rank() in SQL?

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If the database that you work with supports Window/Analytic functions then the chances are that you have run into SQL use-cases where you have wondered about the difference between Row_Number(), Rank() and Dense_Rank(). In this post, I’ll show you the difference:

So, let’s just run all of them together and see what the output looks like.

Here’s my query: (Thanks StackExchange!)

select DisplayName,Reputation,
Row_Number() OVER (Order by Reputation desc) as RowNumber,
Rank() OVER (Order by Reputation desc) as Rank,
Dense_Rank() OVER (Order by Reputation desc) as DenseRank
from users

Which gives the following output:

DisplayName          Reputation RowNumber Rank DenseRank 

-------------------- ---------- --------- ---- --------- 

Hardik Mishra        9999       1         1    1         

Alex                 9997       2         2    2         

Omnipresent          9997       3         2    2         

Sergei Basharov      9993       4         4    3         

Oleg Pavliv          9991       5         5    4         

Jason Creighton      9991       6         5    4         

Aniko                9991       7         5    4         

Notlikethat          9990       8         8    5         

ZeMoon               9989       9         9    6         

Carl                 9987       10        10   7   
...
...
...     

Note that all the functions are essentially are “ranking” your rows but there are subtle differences:

  1. Row_Number() doesn’t care if the two values are same and it just ranks them differently. Note row #2 and #3, they both have value 9997 but they were assigned 2 and 3 respectively.
  2. Rank() — Now unlike Row_Number(), Rank() would consider that the two values are same and “Rank” them with same value. Note Row #2 and #3, they both have value 9997 and so both were assigned Rank “2” — BUT notice the Rank “3” is missing! In other words, it introduces some “gaps”
  3. Dense_Rank() — Now Dense_Rank() is like Rank() but it doesn’t leave any gaps! Notice that the Rank “3” in the DenseRank field.

I hope this clarified the differences between these SQL Ranking functions — let me know your thoughts in the comments section

Paras Doshi

How do I prepare myself to be a data analyst?

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Originally published on Quora: How do I prepare myself to be a Data Analyst?

Based on how you are framing your question, it seems that you currently don’t have “Data Analysis” Background but want to build a career in this field. Here are three things you could do:

  1. Learn Tech Skills: You will need technical knowledge to be successful at analyzing data. SQL and Excel are a good starting point. You could do a lot with these tools — then depending on the bandwidth that you might have you could explore R. How do you learn this? Here’s a learning pathway: Learn #Data Analysis online – free curriculum ; Also search for free courses on Coursera or other platforms.
  2. Learn Soft/Business Skills: This is as important as tech skills (if not more!) when it comes to Data Analysis. Finding Insights from your data is half the battle, you will need to put the insights in a context/story and influence business decisions and sometimes influence business change. we know change is always hard! So your soft/business skills will be very important. Also, you will benefit a lot from learning about how to break down problems, communicate your solution by using “business” language vs tech-speak.
  3. Apply them (and keep improving): Now that you have picked up some tech and soft/biz skills, apply them! Get an internship, Help out a non-profit in your free time (Data Kind, Statistics Without borders, Volunteer Match are good resources to find a non-profit) and start applying your skills! It would also help you get some “Real” world experience and applying what you have learned while “learning-on-the-job” is arguably the BEST way to pick something up!

Hope that helps!

[VIDEO] Microsoft’s vision for “Advanced analytics” (presented at #sqlpass summit 2015)

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Presented at #sqlpass summit 2015.

SQL Server Reporting services: How to display “There are NO rows” message?

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Problem:

You have a SQL Server reporting services (SSRS) report that has a table which displays some records — but sometimes it can have NO rows; In that case, how to display “There are No rows” message so that it doesn’t confuse the consumer.

Solution:

  1. Open the report in SQL Server Data Tools and go to the “design” tab of your SSRS report
  2. Select your table (do NOT select a cell inside a table. Make sure that the table is selected) SQL Server reporting services NO data rows message
  3. While the “table” is selected, Go the Properties section OR you can use F4
  4. Inside the Properties section, find “No Rows” section and you should see a NoRowsMessage property:SQL Server reporting services NO data rows message v2
  5. Go to the preview tab to make sure it’s working and you should be ready to deploy the change!

That’s it! Hope that helps.

Official reference:  https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd220407.aspx

Author: Paras Doshi

How to change the Data Source of a SQL Server Reporting Services Report (Native Mode)?

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Problem:

You have your SQL Server Reporting Services environment in native mode — and you want to modify the data source of a report there.

Solution:

  1. Navigate to Report Manager.
  2. Navigate to the Report that you want to Manage and run it
  3. After the report renders, you will have a breadcrumb navigation on the top right
  4. Click on the Last Part of the Breadcrumb NavigationSSRS properties report native mode
  5. It should open up the “properties” section of this report
  6. On the properties section, you should be able to manage the data source
    SSRS Manage Data Source Native Mode Shared
  7. Make the changes that you wanted to the data source settings of this SSRS report — and don’t forget to click “apply”
  8. Done!

Author: Paras Doshi