Implementing CRUD Operations Using Stored Procedures: Part 2

In database terms, CRUD stands for the four essential
database operations: Create, Read, Update and Delete. To create a high
performance system, these four operations should be implemented by stored
procedures, each procedure implementing one of the four operations. This is
the second in a two part series of articles about why and how to go about
writing the stored procedures. Last month’s article covered why to use stored
procedures and delved into the technical issues that dictate how the procedure
should be written with emphasis on SQL Server features that affect the design.
This month’s article discusses the procedures themselves, goes into detail
about each one and discusses code generation options for creating the
procedures with a program instead of by hand.

There are several
reasons for using stored procedures instead of SQL script to implement the CRUD
operations. The reasons are:

  • The best possible performance

  • Removes the SQL code from the other layers of the application

  • Prevents SQL injection attacks

  • Prevents casual table browsing and modifications

These reasons were
examined in last month’s article. Which you will find at this link:

Overall, I think the
case is pretty strong for using stored procedures.

The CRUD Stored Procedures

The four CRUD operations should be implemented by four
stored procedures. I generally generate them instead of writing them by hand
so I always create all four procedures for every table. Options for generating
the procedures are discussed near the end of this article, but generation does
not affect how they are written.

Last month’s article introduced the Product table that
follows. ‘It is similar to Product tables that ‘you will find in Northwind and
other databases but ‘it has been created with some features that illustrate how
specific SQL Server features must be handled in the stored procedures. Let’s
take a look at the CREATE TABLE script:


EXEC sp_addtype N’AppUSERID’, N’varchar (20)’, N’not null’

ProductID int NOT NULL identity (1,1) PRIMARY KEY
, ProductName varchar(100) DEFAULT ‘Product unnamed’
, [Description] varchar(2000) NULL
, UnitCost money NOT NULL— Cost of making it
, UnitsInStock int NOT NULL — units in the inventory
, InventoryCost as UnitCost * UnitsInStock — Computed column
, CreatedDT datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT getdate()
, CreatedByUSERID AppUSERID DEFAULT user_name()
, LastUpDT datetime NULL
, RowVrsn rowversion NOT NULL

Some of the features to watch out for as we examine each of
the CRUD procedures are:

  • The identity column

  • The rowversion column

  • Default values

  • The computed column

  • The special fields: CreatedDT, CreatedByUSERID, LastUpDT, and

Last month’s article explained why these, with the exception
of the default values, present special issues for generating the stored procedures.
Instead of repeating that discussion, the issues will be pointed out as the
procedures are implemented. However, before creating the procedures we will
need a naming convention for their names, which is discussed next.

Naming the Procedures

All stored procedures need a name that should tell the
developer and DBA what the procedure does. Creating the right name makes
everyone’s life easier because the procedure is easier to find in the SQL
Server tools.

To differentiate the procedures that are used for the CRUD operations
from other stored procedures that might be in the database, I like to name them
staring with the characters "dp_". Any prefix will do. I stay away
form "sp_" and "usp_". The former because of the
performance hit when a user stored procedure has that prefix and the latter
because that’s the prefix I use for most manually written stored procedures in
the database.

I follow the prefix with the table name. Using the table
name right after the prefix insures that the four CRUD procedures for the same
table are grouped together in Query Analyzer and Enterprise Manager.

Finally, the procedure name typically ends with the name of
the CRUD operation that it implements. I use "_ins", "_sel",
"_upd", and "_del" because these names reflect the four SQL
Statements that do most of the work in the procedure. You can use any set of
suffixes that mean something significant to you. For example, a good set of alternate
suffixes might be "_C", "_R", "_U", and "_D".

Using the above formula, the four procedures are shown in
the following table along with an alternative name.


Stored Procedure Name

Alternative Name













Of course, these aren’t the only possible names and you may
have your own convention. Now on to the first procedure: Create.

Create Procedures

The Create operation
performs a SQL INSERT statement. It is going have one parameter for almost every
column in the table. Most of these columns are used in the INSERT statement to
create the row. However, these types of columns are only for output:

  • The identity column

  • Computed columns

  • The rowversion column

By supplying these
columns as OUTPUT parameters, the application code does not have to perform a
read operation before it can start using the new row. I have seen several data
access tools do just that. Insert a row and then perform a select to get the
computed columns and rowversion. That wastes a round trip to the database.

to get the identity value was discussed in the Issues section of last month’s
article. It is a new system function in SQL Server 2000 that is more robust
than using @@IDENTITY.

Rowversion is an
alternate name for timestamp. The new name is more compatible with the SQL-92
standard, which uses timestamp for a different data type. I generally use a rowversion
in every table where concurrent updates are possible. This will not come into
play in the Create procedure but we will see it later when updating the
database. All the Create proc has to do is return the timestamp of the row so
that it can be updated if necessary.

Let’s take a look at
the Create stored procedure for our Product table.

@ProductID int OUTPUT ,
@ProductName varchar(100) = NULL OUTPUT ,
@Description varchar(2000) = NULL ,
@UnitCost money,
@UnitsInStock int,
@InventoryCost int = NULL OUTPUT,
@CreatedByUSERID varchar(20) = NULL OUTPUT ,
@RowVrsn timestamp OUTPUT

Set NoCount On
@ProductName Is Null
SET @ProductName = (‘Product unnamed’)
IF @CreatedByUSERID Is Null
SET @CreatedByUSERID = (user_id())

Values (


SELECT @ProductName = [ProductName]
, @InventoryCost = [InventoryCost]
, @CreatedByUSERID = [CreatedByUSERID]
, @RowVrsn = [RowVrsn]
FROM [Product]
WHERE [ProductID] = @ProductID

The first thing to notice is the OUTPUT parameters for the
identity column, the rowversion column, and the computed column,
InventoryCost. However, any column that has a default also is an OUTPUT
parameter because the stored procedure could be setting its value.

The default values are set before the INSERT statement with
these lines:

IF @ProductName Is Null
SET @ProductName = (‘Product unnamed’)
IF @CreatedByUSERID Is Null
SET @CreatedByUSERID = (user_id())

They have to be set by code instead of using SQL Server’s
defaulting mechanism because when they are included in the INSERT statement,
SQL Server does not apply the default. It allows the NULL value to be inserted
into the table.

The identity value is captured with the line:


and then used in the SELECT statement that grabs the OUTPUT
parameters that aren’t already set before the INSERT statement is executed. That
does not include LastUpDT or LastUpdByUSERID because the row has not been
updated yet.

Even though there is a default value for the CreatedByUSERID,
it is only there as a last resort. Because most of my procedures are called
from ASP or ASP.Net applications, the identity of user_id()
doesn’t really give useful information about who requested the update. Instead,
the calling application is responsible for setting this value to something that
is meaningful to the application, such as the ID of the currently logged in
user. In practice, I have found that this works acceptably.

Once the procedure returns, the caller has the up-to-date
values for all columns in the new row. It does not have to read them from the
database. At some other time when it needs to read the row, it must invoke
the Read procedure, which is discussed next.

Andrew Novick
Andrew Novick
Andrew Novick develops applications as consultant, project manager, trainer, author, and Principal of Novick Software. His firm specializes in implementing solutions using the Microsoft tool set: SQL Server, ASP, ASP.Net, Visual Basic and VB.Net. 2003 marks his 32nd year of computer programming, starting in High School with a PDP-8 and moving on a degree in Computer Science, an MBA, and then programming mainframes, minicomputers and for the last 16 years PCs. In addition to writing articles for Database Journal, Andrew is author of the book SQL Server User Defined functions, which will be published by Wordware in the fall of 2003. He co-authored SQL Server 2000 XML Distilled, published by Curlingstone in October of 2002. He also writes the free T-SQL User-Defined Function of the Week newsletter. When not programming he enjoys coaching Little League baseball, woodworking, mowing the lawn, and the occasional movie with his wife.

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