OPENJSON and CROSS APPLY

OPENJSON is pretty central to manipulating JSON documents in T-SQL.

As we’ve seen, we can use a default schema that will return metadata about the JSON document or we can use an explicit schema where we supply a WITH clause and a PATH to the data that we want.

So far, in our examples we have either used the default schema or an explicit schema – but we have not mixed the two.

Indeed if you try this in a simple query you’ll find it is not possible without the use of APPLY operator.

OPENJSON is actually a table-valued function that parses JSON – either into an explicit schema (that we provide) or the default schema.

We can mix both the default and explicit schema by using CROSS APPLY

Like so

DECLARE @json NVARCHAR(MAX) =
N'
{
    "Configuration Property": {
      "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
      "Value": 0,
      "minimum": 0,
      "maximum": 32767,
      "value_in_use": 0,
      "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
      "is_dynamic": true,
      "is_advanced": true
    }
}
';
 
SELECT 
	 DS.[key]
	,DS.[value]
	,DS.[type]
	,ES.[Configuration name]
	,ES.[Value]
	,ES.[minimum]
	,ES.[maximum]
	,ES.[value_in_use]
	,ES.[description]
	,ES.[is_dynamic]
	,ES.[is_advanced] 
FROM  
     OPENJSON(@json)  AS DS
CROSS APPLY
     OPENJSON(DS.[value])
WITH
(
	 [Configuration name]  NVARCHAR(35)
	,[Value]               NVARCHAR(35)
	,[minimum]             NVARCHAR(35)
	,[maximum]             NVARCHAR(35)
	,[value_in_use]        NVARCHAR(35)
	,[description]         NVARCHAR(35)
	,[is_dynamic]          NVARCHAR(35)
	,[is_advanced]         NVARCHAR(35)
) AS ES
GO

This technique can come in extremely handy when attempting to drill down into sub arrays and objects contained in a JSON document.

Notice also that different aliasing (of the default and explicit schema) has allowed us to request data from both the default schema and the explicit schema. This has enabled us to get to the element that is named value – as this name appears in both the default and explicit schema names and thus requires an alias.

I hope this has helped on your SQL Server JSON journey. We’ll see more real soon.

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty

OPENJSON and an Alias

Using Aliases in T-SQL is very common.

We can alias both Tables (FROM clause) and Columns (SELECT clause) and some other things too. It’s all pretty fundamental to writing good T-SQL queries.

Here’s an example

SELECT
	 dbs.collation_name
	,dbs.database_id AS [DatabaseID]
	,[IsReadOnly] = dbs.is_read_only
FROM 
	sys.databases AS dbs
JOIN
	sys.master_files MF
ON 
	dbs.database_id = MF.database_id
WHERE
	dbs.[name] = 'master';
GO

Note that we can use different styles, however, I recommend you standardise however you want to do this.

Anyway, the point of this post if to outline how aliasing is done when using the default and explicit JSON schemas in our T-SQL Queries

Here is an example of aliasing with the default schema

DECLARE @json NVARCHAR(MAX) =
N'
{
    "Configuration Property": {
      "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
      "Value": 0,
      "minimum": 0,
      "maximum": 32767,
      "value_in_use": 0,
      "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
      "is_dynamic": true,
      "is_advanced": true
    }
}
';
 
SELECT 
      DS.[key]
	 ,DS.[value]
	 ,DS.[type]
FROM  
     OPENJSON(@json, '$."Configuration Property"')  AS DS;
GO

There’s nothing particularly unusual here.

The slightly unusual part may appear when aliasing with an explicit schema.

Here’s an example

DECLARE @json NVARCHAR(MAX) =
N'
{
    "Configuration Property": {
      "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
      "Value": 0,
      "minimum": 0,
      "maximum": 32767,
      "value_in_use": 0,
      "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
      "is_dynamic": true,
      "is_advanced": true
    }
}
';
 
SELECT 
     ES.[Configuration name] 
    ,ES.[Value]
    ,ES.[minimum]  
    ,ES.[maximum]
    ,ES.[value_in_use]
    ,ES.[description]
    ,ES.[is_dynamic]
    ,ES.[is_advanced] 
FROM  
     OPENJSON(@json, '$."Configuration Property"')  
WITH 
( 
     [Configuration name] NVARCHAR(35) 
    ,[Value]              NVARCHAR(100)   
    ,[minimum]            NVARCHAR(100)  
    ,[maximum]            NVARCHAR(100)  
    ,[value_in_use]       NVARCHAR(100) 
    ,[description]        NVARCHAR(100)
    ,[is_dynamic]         BIT
    ,[is_advanced]        BIT
) AS ES;

Note that the alias for an explicit schema come after the WITH clause.

If we try to put the alias directly after the line

OPENJSON(@json, '$."Configuration Property"') 

Then we will receive an error.

While this may seem trivial it will become very useful when mixing the default schema and an explicit schema.

I hope this has helped on your SQL Server JSON journey. We’ll see more real soon.

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty

OPENJSON : Getting to the data, and the PATH – PART II

We’ve looked at getting pulling data from a JSON document into relational table format using an explicit schema that was defined in the WITH clause of the OPENJSON table valued fumction.

However, in that example, we used a PATH expression that was taken from the root of the JSON document.

A question that I recently had was ‘What of you want to take the PATH from a certain point in the JSON document’ – and that’s what we will look at here.

We use this simple document, which contains one object

{
    "Configuration Property": {
      "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
      "Value": 0,
      "minimum": 0,
      "maximum": 32767,
      "value_in_use": 0,
      "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
      "is_dynamic": true,
      "is_advanced": true
    }
}

Here, we want to start retrieving data from the document starting at the path

$." "Configuration Property"

All we need to do is define the base PATH (the starting point) in our OPENJSON query.

DECLARE @json NVARCHAR(MAX) =
N'
{
    "Configuration Property": {
      "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
      "Value": 0,
      "minimum": 0,
      "maximum": 32767,
      "value_in_use": 0,
      "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
      "is_dynamic": true,
      "is_advanced": true
    }
}
';

SELECT 
	 [Configuration name] 
	,[Value]
	,[minimum]  
	,[maximum]
	,[value_in_use]
	,[description]
	,[is_dynamic]
	,[is_advanced] 
FROM  
     OPENJSON(@json, '$."Configuration Property"')  
WITH 
( 
     [Configuration name] NVARCHAR(35) 
    ,[Value]              NVARCHAR(100)   
    ,[minimum]            NVARCHAR(100)  
    ,[maximum]            NVARCHAR(100)  
    ,[value_in_use]       NVARCHAR(100) 
    ,[description]        NVARCHAR(100)
    ,[is_dynamic]         BIT
    ,[is_advanced]        BIT
);

I hope this has helped on your SQL Server JSON journey. We’ll see more real soon.

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty

OPENJSON : Getting to the data, and the PATH – PART I

Recently we reviewed FOR JSON PATH. That was used for shaping tabular data (data that comes directly from a SQL table) into a JSON document.

The PATH we are talking about here is used with OPENJSON to get to the data that is contained in the JSON document.

We’ve seen an example of OPENJSON and reading data with an explicit schema.

SELECT
     [configuration_id]
    ,[Configuration name] 
    ,[Value]          = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [Value]) 
    ,[minimum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [minimum]) 
    ,[maximum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [maximum]) 
    ,[value_in_use]   = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [value_in_use]) 
    ,[description]    = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [description]) 
    ,[is_dynamic]
    ,[is_advanced]
FROM
    OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
'
)
WITH
(
     [configuration_id]     INT 
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT
);
GO

Turns out that in this example, the data is right at the top level of the document.

 {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }

and so we didn’t need to explicitly state the PATH – however we still could have. And here it is.

SELECT
     [configuration_id]
    ,[Configuration name] 
    ,[Value]          = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [Value]) 
    ,[minimum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [minimum]) 
    ,[maximum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [maximum]) 
    ,[value_in_use]   = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [value_in_use]) 
    ,[description]    = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [description]) 
    ,[is_dynamic]
    ,[is_advanced]
FROM
    OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
'
, '$')
WITH
(
     [configuration_id]     INT 
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT
);
GO

The query below has the PATH defined explicitly in the WITH clause.

SELECT
     [configuration_id]
    ,[Configuration name] 
    ,[Value]          = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [Value]) 
    ,[minimum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [minimum]) 
    ,[maximum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [maximum]) 
    ,[value_in_use]   = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [value_in_use]) 
    ,[description]    = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [description]) 
    ,[is_dynamic]
    ,[is_advanced]
FROM
    OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
')
WITH
(
     [configuration_id]     INT               '$.configuration_id'
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)      '$."Configuration name"'
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)     '$.Value'
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)     '$.minimum'
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)     '$.maximum'
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)     '$.value_in_use'
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)     '$.description'
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT               '$.is_dynamic'
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT               '$.is_advanced'
);
GO

Notice also that Configuration name has a space in it. So, in the PATH we simply enclose it in double quotes “..” – in a similar way to how square brackets would be used in a T-SQL expression.

Lets, look at a slightly different shaped JSON document and see how we would change the PATH in the WITH clause to locate all of the desired values.

SELECT 
	 [configuration_id]
    ,[Configuration name] 
    ,[Value]          = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [Value]) 
    ,[minimum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [minimum]) 
    ,[maximum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [maximum]) 
    ,[value_in_use]   = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [value_in_use]) 
    ,[description]    = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [description]) 
    ,[is_dynamic]
    ,[is_advanced]
FROM
	OPENJSON(
'
{
  "configuration_id": 101,
  "Configuration_Property": {
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
}
')
WITH
(
     [configuration_id]     INT            '$."configuration_id"'
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)   '$."Configuration_Property"."Configuration name"'
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)  '$."Configuration_Property"."Value"'
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)  '$."Configuration_Property"."minimum"'
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)  '$."Configuration_Property"."maximum"'
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)  '$."Configuration_Property"."value_in_use"'
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)  '$."Configuration_Property"."description"'
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT            '$."Configuration_Property"."is_dynamic"'
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT            '$."Configuration_Property"."is_advanced"'	
);

Notice, that no ‘default path’ is specified on the OPENJSON clause (after the document on line 27).

I hope this has helped on your SQL Server JSON journey. We’ll see more real soon.

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty

Download Files

OPENJSON, explicit schema and data type

Back in our last instalment, we looked at OPENJSON and how we can get data into a tabular format from a JSON document.

Readers may have noticed that we used data from the sys.configurations table in order to generate the JSON document.

However, when we read the data from the document into tabular format we specified that the columns

  • Value
  • minimum
  • maximum
  • value_in_use
  • description

Which are of type SQL_VARIANT in the table were actually of type NVARCHAR(200) in the resultset that was brought back from the JSON document.

SELECT
     [configuration_id]
    ,[Configuration name] 
    ,[Value]
    ,[minimum] 
    ,[maximum]
    ,[value_in_use]
    ,[description]
    ,[is_dynamic]
    ,[is_advanced]
FROM
	OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
'
)
WITH
(
     [configuration_id]     INT 
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT
);
GO

So, why was that? and can we fix it?

Well, JSON and has a handful of data types and SQL Server has lots. So there’s not a one-to-one match.

The best thing to do would be to being them back as one of the simple types (likely NVARCHAR()) and then CAST them in the SELECT to the actual desired data type.

Like so

SELECT
     [configuration_id]
    ,[Configuration name] 
    ,[Value]          = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [Value]) 
    ,[minimum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [minimum]) 
    ,[maximum]        = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [maximum]) 
    ,[value_in_use]   = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [value_in_use]) 
    ,[description]    = TRY_CONVERT(sql_variant  , [description]) 
    ,[is_dynamic]
    ,[is_advanced]
FROM
	OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
'
)
WITH
(
     [configuration_id]     INT 
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT
);
GO

The result set looks the same, however if the values returned are now of the correct data type. So if you wanted to do anything with the resultset like joining on the original table then you would not see any implicit casting.

So, that’s just a small tip of how to handle data type differences between SQL Server and JSON.

I hope this has helped on your SQL Server JSON journey. We’ll see more real soon.

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty

Download Files

OPENJSON, explicit schema and data type

OPENJSON – using an explicit schema. The WITH clause.

G’day,

Previously, we have looked at using OPENJSON to gain knowledge about the JSON document that we have presented to the function.

A bit like this

SELECT
	*
FROM
	OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
'
)
Columns returned using OPENJSON with the default schema
Columns returned using OPENJSON with the default schema

Notice that we didn’t request any columns in the SELECT statement, but we got three columns back

  • Key
  • value
  • type

That’s great metadata information – but what if we wanted the actual values from the JSON.

Well, the statement above used OPENJSON with the default schema – which is basically no column list defined. If we want to define a list then we need to use a WITH clause that defines an EXPLICIT schema – like so

SELECT
	 *
FROM
	OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
'
)
WITH
(
     [configuration_id]     INT 
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT
);
GO
Values returned when supply a explicit list to OPENJSON
Values returned when supply a explicit list to OPENJSON

You might also notice that the names in the WITH clause match those in the JSON document – We can also add these as a column list to the SELECT statement, rather than using SELECT *

Notice also that if we ask for a value in the WITH clause that does not appear in the JSON document (maybe because of a typo) then we simply get a NULL returned in the SELECT list.

Notice here that the name of the first column is incorrect. So we get a null in the resultset.

SELECT
	*
FROM
	OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
'
)
WITH
(
     [configuration_if]     INT 
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT
);
GO
A value in the explicit OPENJSON list that is not actually in the JSON

This is perhaps one reason that we should include an explicit column list in the SELECT statement

SELECT
     [configuration_id]
    ,[Configuration name] 
    ,[Value] 
    ,[minimum]
    ,[maximum] 
    ,[value_in_use]
    ,[description]
    ,[is_dynamic]
    ,[is_advanced]
FROM
	OPENJSON
(
'
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
'
)
WITH
(
     [configuration_id]     INT 
    ,[Configuration name]   NVARCHAR(35)
    ,[Value]                NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[minimum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[maximum]              NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[value_in_use]         NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[description]          NVARCHAR(200)
    ,[is_dynamic]           BIT
    ,[is_advanced]          BIT
);
GO

And we pretty much see exactly what we had before.

Both explicit OPENJSON schema fully defined along with SELECT column list
Both explicit OPENJSON schema fully defined along with SELECT column list

Next up is some more useful tips about OPENJSON

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty

Download Files

OPENJSON – using an explicit schema. The WITH clause

T-SQL Sequences and the OVER() clause

Using a SEQUENCE object – in unusual ways!

If you’ve delved into Window Functions at all then you probably have read the documentation about the OVER() clause.

While reading this recently, I noticed that a sequence can have an OVER() clause attached to it.

I was curious about this so I experimented.

Consider the following.

USE tempdb;
GO
IF EXISTS(SELECT * FROM sys.sequences AS S WHERE S.[name] = 'TestSeq' AND OBJECT_SCHEMA_NAME(S.[object_id]) = 'dbo')
    BEGIN
        DROP SEQUENCE dbo.TestSeq;
    END;
GO
CREATE sequence dbo.TestSeq
AS  
    BIGINT
    START WITH 1
    INCREMENT BY 1
    NO CYCLE
    NO CACHE;
GO

So now we have a SEQUENCE object that we can play with.

And, as expected the following worked fine.

SELECT NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq;
/*
Lets put the value into a variable
*/
DECLARE @value BIGINT = 0;
SELECT @value =NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq;

But, did you also know that you can do this (whether or not you would want to is a different matter)

SELECT NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq AS [TestValue];
SELECT NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq OVER(ORDER BY NEWID()) AS [TestValue];
SELECT NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq OVER(ORDER BY (SELECT NULL));
SELECT NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq OVER(ORDER BY (SELECT 1));
SELECT NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq OVER(ORDER BY RAND());

That’s pretty interesting, but not a whole load of use.

We can also do this

USE tempdb;
GO
/*
There's three of these objects in tempdb
*/
SELECT 
	RowNumber = NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq OVER(ORDER BY O.[type] ASC)
	,* 
FROM 
	sys.objects AS O
WHERE
	O.[type] IN ('SQ')
ORDER BY
	RowNumber DESC;
/*
And ordered the opposite way around
*/
SELECT 
	RowNumber = NEXT VALUE FOR dbo.TestSeq OVER(ORDER BY O.[type] DESC)
	,* 
FROM 
	sys.objects AS O
WHERE
	O.[type] IN ('SQ')
ORDER BY
	RowNumber ASC;

Did you spot that a column from sys.objects was used in the OVER() clause and that the ORDER BY in the OVER() clause and main query are the opposite away around.

We are unable to use PARTITION within the OVER() clause of a SEQUENCE, which total makes sense as we only get one row back.

This could come in handy and save us a join.

I hope that helps somebody out someday.

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty.

Download the code (Azure Data Studio notebook)

WITHOUT_ARRAY_WRAPPER

When we look at a single JSON object we can view it as

{
  "configuration_id": 101,
  "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
  "Value": 0,
  "minimum": 0,
  "maximum": 32767,
  "value_in_use": 0,
  "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
  "is_dynamic": true,
  "is_advanced": true
}

But when we have multiple objects , we can see them presented as

[
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  },
  {
    "configuration_id": 102,
    "Configuration name": "allow updates",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 1,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Allow updates to system tables",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": false
  }
]

However, say we just wanted to get a single row from an SQL Server table and present the JSON as in the first example above

We might try something of the form (note that we are only explicitly asking for 1 row, we could do that with a WHERE clause also – rather than a TOP 1)

SELECT
	 TOP 1
	 [configuration_id]    = C.configuration_id
	,[Configuration name]  = C.[name]
	,[Value]               = C.[value]
	,[minimum]            = C.minimum
	,[maximum]             = C.maximum
	,[value_in_use]        = C.value_in_use
	,[description]         = C.[description]
	,[is_dynamic]          = C.is_dynamic
	,[is_advanced]         = C.is_advanced
FROM
	sys.configurations AS C
ORDER BY
	C.configuration_id
FOR JSON PATH

But the JSON we get back is one element in an array

[
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "Value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
]

This, may not be what we want. We may for instance want to combine JSON objects and will see how to do that at some stage.

But what if we wanted this single objects brought back on it’s own and not in an array?

Well, we just add the clause WITHOUT_ARRAY_WRAPPER to either JSON AUTO or JSON PATH

SELECT
     TOP 1
	 [configuration_id]    = C.configuration_id
	,[Configuration name]  = C.[name]
	,[Value]               = C.[value]
	,[minimum]            = C.minimum
	,[maximum]             = C.maximum
	,[value_in_use]        = C.value_in_use
	,[description]         = C.[description]
	,[is_dynamic]          = C.is_dynamic
	,[is_advanced]         = C.is_advanced
FROM
	sys.configurations AS C
ORDER BY
	C.configuration_id
FOR 
	JSON PATH , 
	WITHOUT_ARRAY_WRAPPER

This can be an amazingly useful function if we want to join different JSON documents together.

The OPENJSON function will still read a document without the array wrapper – for instance.


SELECT
	*
FROM
	OPENJSON
(
'
	{
	  "configuration_id": 101,
	  "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
	  "Value": 0,
	  "minimum": 0,
	  "maximum": 32767,
	  "value_in_use": 0,
	  "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
	  "is_dynamic": true,
	  "is_advanced": true
	},
	{
	  "configuration_id": 102,
	  "Configuration name": "allow updates",
	  "Value": 0,
	  "minimum": 0,
	  "maximum": 1,
	  "value_in_use": 0,
	  "description": "Allow updates to system tables",
	  "is_dynamic": true,
	  "is_advanced": false
	}
',
'$'
)
WITH
(
	 [configuration_id]    INT
	,[Configuration name]  NVARCHAR(35)
	,[Value]               NVARCHAR(200)
	,[minimum]             NVARCHAR(200)
	,[maximum]             NVARCHAR(200)
	,[value_in_use]        NVARCHAR(200)
	,[description]         NVARCHAR(200)
	,[is_dynamic]          BIT
	,[is_advanced]         BIT
)

Only a single row is returned if the JSON is not in an array format.

Note however that only data from the first element is returned in the tabular resultset

If we want both rows (only 2 in this case)

Then the elements will need to be wrapped as an array – like so


SELECT
	*
FROM
	OPENJSON
(
'
[
	{
	  "configuration_id": 101,
	  "Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
	  "Value": 0,
	  "minimum": 0,
	  "maximum": 32767,
	  "value_in_use": 0,
	  "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
	  "is_dynamic": true,
	  "is_advanced": true
	},
	{
	  "configuration_id": 102,
	  "Configuration name": "allow updates",
	  "Value": 0,
	  "minimum": 0,
	  "maximum": 1,
	  "value_in_use": 0,
	  "description": "Allow updates to system tables",
	  "is_dynamic": true,
	  "is_advanced": false
	}
]
',
'$'
)
WITH
(
	 [configuration_id]    INT
	,[Configuration name]  NVARCHAR(35)
	,[Value]               NVARCHAR(200)
	,[minimum]             NVARCHAR(200)
	,[maximum]             NVARCHAR(200)
	,[value_in_use]        NVARCHAR(200)
	,[description]         NVARCHAR(200)
	,[is_dynamic]          BIT
	,[is_advanced]         BIT
)

All rows are brought back when the JSON is an array

You can read more about the WITHOUT_ARRAY_WRAPPER function in the docs.

I hope this has helped on your SQL Server JSON journey. We’ll see more real soon.

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty

Download Files

WITHOUT_ARRAY_WRAPPER

OPENJSON – using the default schema to collect new information

We’ve looked at reading JSON from disk and also verifying that a string we have contains valid JSON data. But, naturally, we’d like to do more than that.

Well, there is a method of doing just that and that is using the OPENJSON function.

We can use OPENJSON in two forms – either when we know the schema of the JSON document (or at least the part of the schema that we want to retreive). This is know as using OPENJSON with an explicit schema – we’ll examine this in a latter installment.

The other way of using OPENJSON (and the one we’ll examine in this section) is known as using OPENJSON with the default schema.

SELECT * FROM 
OPENJSON
(
'
[
  {
    "configuration_id": 101,
    "name": "recovery interval (min)",
    "value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": true
  },
  {
    "configuration_id": 102,
    "name": "allow updates",
    "value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 1,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Allow updates to system tables",
    "is_dynamic": true,
    "is_advanced": false
  },
  {
    "configuration_id": 103,
    "name": "user connections",
    "value": 0,
    "minimum": 0,
    "maximum": 32767,
    "value_in_use": 0,
    "description": "Number of user connections allowed",
    "is_dynamic": false,
    "is_advanced": true
  }
]
'
);

Let’s look

And we get the flowing results.

Notice that we had three arrays in our JSON document and we have three lines in our resultset.

Notice also that the “type” column has a value of 5.

Let’s have a look at another piece of JSON – one that might be a bit more interesting

SELECT 
	 [key]
	,[value]
	,[type]
FROM 
OPENJSON
(
'
{
"configuration_id": 101,
	"Configuration_Property": {
		"Configuration name": "recovery interval (min)",
		"Value": 0,
		"minimum": 0,
		"maximum": 32767,
		"value_in_use": 0,
		"description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
		"is_dynamic": true,
		"is_advanced": true
	}
}
'
);

This time we get the output

Notice now that we get a new row and a new number in the type column. Maybe each different type has it’s own number. Let’s find something even more interesting.

SELECT 
	 [key]
	,[value]
	,[type]
FROM 
OPENJSON
(
'
	{
		"configuration_id": 101,
		"name": "recovery interval (min)",
		"value": 0,
		"minimum": 0,
		"maximum": 32767,
		"value_in_use": 0,
		"description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
		"is_dynamic": true,
		"is_advanced": true
	}
'
);

And this time the output looks like

So, the numbers in the “type” column are indeed very relevant. There exact meaning is listed in the docs, but here’s a brief summary.

type meaning
0null
1string
2number
3boolean
4array
5object
definitions of the “type” column in OPENJSON

We can always insert the values into a table for easy retrieval later.

IF OBJECT_ID('dbo.JSONDetails') IS NOT NULL
	BEGIN
		DROP TABLE dbo.JSONDetails;
	END;

CREATE TABLE dbo.JSONDetails
(
	 JSONDetailID INT IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL
	,[key]        NVARCHAR(4000)
	,[value]      NVARCHAR(MAX) NULL
	,[type]       INT NOT NULL
	,[type_desc] AS
	(
		CASE
			WHEN [type] = 0 THEN 'Null'
			WHEN [type] = 1 THEN 'String'
			WHEN [type] = 2 THEN 'Number'
			WHEN [type] = 3 THEN 'Boolean'
			WHEN [type] = 4 THEN 'Array'	
			WHEN [type] = 5 THEN 'Object'
			ELSE 'ERROR'
		END
	)
)

INSERT INTO dbo.JSONDetails
(
	 [key] 
	,[value]
	,[type]
)
SELECT 
	 [key]
	,[value]
	,[type]
FROM 
OPENJSON
(
'
{
	"configuration_id": 101,
	"name": "recovery interval (min)",
	"value": 0,
	"minimum": 0,
	"maximum": 32767,
	"value_in_use": 0,
	"description": "Maximum recovery interval in minutes",
	"is_dynamic": true,
	"is_advanced": true
}
'
);

SELECT * FROM dbo.JSONDetails AS J ORDER BY JSONDetailID;

For a full description of the data types of key, value and type using OPENJSON, just see the docs.

Next up is using OPENJSON with an explicit schema.

I hope this has helped on your SQL Server JSON journey. We’ll see more real soon.

Have a great day

Cheers

Marty

Download Files

OPENJSON – using the default schema and collect new information

Concatenating Strings, NULLs and EXEC

G’day,

SQL Server’s great – its been teaching me a lot for many years. But every so often you get a surprise. Sometimes it’s a nice one, sometimes it more of the ‘really, are you sure kind’ – and then you realise, yes SQL Server – you’re correct, I really should have known that.

This one involved

  • A cursor
  • String concatenation
  • Executing a T-SQL Statement

The first two of these didn’t suprise me – after I’d thought about it.

The last one did

I’ll attempt to give an example of what occured

I have a table

USE tempdb;
GO

IF OBJECT_ID('dbo.Issue') IS NOT NULL
	BEGIN
		DROP TABLE dbo.Issue
	END;


CREATE TABLE dbo.Issue
(
	SomeName NVARCHAR(50) NULL
);

and, we’re inserting into that table using a concatenated T-SQL string, like so

DECLARE @InsertValue NVARCHAR(50) = N'TestValue';
DECLARE @SQL NVARCHAR(500) = 'INSERT INTO dbo.Issue(SomeName) VALUES(''' + @InsertValue + ''');';
PRINT @SQL;
EXEC(@SQL);

As you’d expect one row goes in

However, the issue that I saw arose when the variable being INSERTed was NULL, like so

DECLARE @InsertValue NVARCHAR(50) = NULL;
DECLARE @SQL NVARCHAR(500) = 'INSERT INTO dbo.Issue(SomeName) VALUES(''' + @InsertValue + ''');';
PRINT @SQL;
EXEC(@SQL);

You’ll notice (if you run the code) that nothing gets printed – which is fair enough as a NULL in a string concatenation will unltimatly yeild a NULL, as anything + an unknown (NULL) is an unknown (NULL)

That wasn’t the surprising part – although it did get me to think a bit at first.

The surprising part (to me at least), was that the string – which is now NULL -has been run inside the EXEC(..) call, had not errored, had not failed, but had not inserted anything either

Try it

DECLARE @InsertValue NVARCHAR(50) = NULL;
DECLARE @SQL NVARCHAR(500) = 'INSERT INTO dbo.Issue(SomeName) VALUES(''' + @InsertValue + ''');';
PRINT @SQL;
EXEC(@SQL);
SELECT * FROM dbo.Issue;

You can try this more simply by executing a NULL string

DECLARE @Test NVARCHAR(20) = NULL;
EXEC(@Test);

Note however, that you can’t directly execute a NULL (although why you’d want to is a different matter 🙂 )

EXEC(NULL)
Msg 156, Level 15, State 1, Line 44
Incorrect syntax near the keyword 'NULL'.

So, now you know.

If you’ve never seen this before (or even if you have, but a long time ago) then this could easily make you wonder what is going on.

I hope this helps somebody.

Have a great day.

Cheers

Martin.