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Mastering Inline Queries: Simplify SQL Queries and Improve Query Performance

Inline Queries: AnIn today’s data-driven world, querying databases is essential. And when it comes to querying databases, SQL reigns supreme.

SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is the standard language for interacting with relational databases. One of the most useful SQL features is inline queries.

In this article, we’ll explore the definition of inline queries, their differences from subqueries and derived tables, and their practical usage in various database engines. What is an Inline Query?

An inline query, also known as an inline view, is a type of SELECT statement that returns a set of rows that can be operated on by the main query. An inline query is embedded in another SQL statement, such as a SELECT or UPDATE statement.

Inline queries are typically used to compute results that can then be joined with other tables or used in further filtering.

Comparing Inline Queries with Subqueries and Derived Tables

To better understand inline queries, it’s essential to know the differences between them and other concepts such as subqueries and derived tables. Subqueries are queries that are nested inside another query.

They can be written inline or outside the main query. Subqueries are mainly used for joining tables and filtering.

When using subqueries, it’s advisable to use the EXISTS operator to ensure high performance. Derived tables are a reference to a subquery that’s used within another query.

To create a derived table in SQL, you write a query within a query and place the results in memory. Compared to subqueries and derived tables, inline queries have the distinct advantage of allowing the use of aliases, which is not possible in other query types.

Aliases provide a convenient way to rename columns that have complicated names and shorten their names. Subquery vs.

Inline Views

A subquery is a query within another query, while an inline view is a subquery that’s used in a SELECT statement’s FROM clause to create a result set that’s available for processing in the outer query. A subquery can consist of a single-row scalar subquery or a multirow subquery.

On the other hand, inline views can return multiple rows of data and can also join tables. In Oracle, inline views can be used with the SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE, and MERGE statements.

Inline Views in Oracle vs. Other Database Engines

Inline views work similarly in every database engine, but there are some differences in syntax and usage.

For instance, in Oracle, inline views must be enclosed in parenthesis, while in MySQL, inline views are referred to as derived tables. In PostgreSQL, inline views are called subquery expressions, and in MS SQL Server, they are known as derived tables.

In Oracle, inline views can be used with the SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE, and MERGE statements. MySQL also supports the use of derived tables in the SELECT and UPDATE statements, while in PostgreSQL, subquery expressions can be used in the SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE and ExPLAIN ANALYZE statements.

In MS SQL Server, derived tables can be used in the SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE, and MERGE statements.


Inline queries are a useful tool in SQL that allows you to simplify complex queries, rename columns by using aliases and improve query performance. Inline queries are different from other query types like subqueries and derived tables and are supported by various database engines like Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MS SQL Server.

As you continue to work with SQL, mastering inline queries and other query types is crucial to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. What’s an Inline Query?

When it comes to extracting data from databases, SQL is the go-to language. Inline queries are an essential feature in SQL that can help improve query performance, simplify complex queries, and rename columns using aliases.

In this article, we’ll look at how inline queries can be used to extract movie data and obtain the highest average movie rating.

Example of an Inline Query

Suppose we have a table containing movie data such as movie titles, ratings, and release dates. We can use an inline query to find the highest average movie rating for a particular year.

Here is an example SQL query:


SELECT AVG(ratings) AS avg_rating, release_year FROM (

SELECT ratings, SUBSTR(release_date, 1, 4) AS release_year

FROM movies

) AS temp

GROUP BY release_year

ORDER BY avg_rating DESC



The inline query is the subquery enclosed in parentheses `(SELECT ratings, SUBSTR(release_date, 1, 4) AS release_year FROM movies) AS temp`. The subquery selects the movie ratings and the release year from the table, while the outer query calculates the average rating for each year, orders by average rating in descending order, and selects the top row.

Illustration of Selecting Data from an Inline Query

To select data from an inline query, we can use the SELECT statement. The SELECT statement is used to retrieve information from a table and fetches results from specific columns or rows.

Let’s consider the previous example where we found the highest average movie rating. Suppose we want to see all movies that contributed to the high average rating for the year 2010.

We can use the following SELECT statement:


SELECT title, ratings FROM movies WHERE SUBSTR(release_date, 1, 4) = ‘2010’ AND ratings >= (

SELECT AVG(ratings) as avg_rating


SELECT ratings, SUBSTR(release_date, 1, 4) AS release_year

FROM movies

) AS temp

WHERE release_year = ‘2010’



This query selects all movies with a release year of 2010 and a rating that is greater than or equal to the average rating for 2010 obtained from the inline query.

Inline Views Outside of Oracle

Inline views are called inline queries in some database engines, but their functionality is similar across all databases. Oracle and MySQL use the term inline view as the equivalent of a subquery expression.

In Oracle, inline views are enclosed in parentheses, and the subquery within serves to create a temporary table. MySQL supports inline views with the SELECT and UPDATE statements.

In addition to Oracle and MySQL, other database engines such as MS SQL Server use different names for inline views. In MS SQL Server, they are commonly referred to as derived tables.


Inline queries are a fundamental feature in SQL that can help streamline a complex query while improving query performance, and renaming columns using aliases. They can be used to calculate average values, filter data, and create temporary tables.

Moreover, inline views have similar functionality across different database engines, but they have different names, such as derived tables in MS SQL Server. Learning how to use inline queries can boost your SQL skills, making you a more efficient and effective database user.

Inline Views vs. Subqueries

Inline views and subqueries have similarities, but they also have significant differences.

One significant difference lies in the layout of the columns returned by the queries. The columns returned by subqueries are single-values, while the columns returned by inline views can be multiple columns.

Another difference arises from their usage of correlation. When using a subquery, the query returns a single value.

This value can be used in a comparison or other operation within the context of the main query. A subquery can also be used to retrieve a list of single values that can be used in a comparison with the main query.

In contrast, inline views can return multiple columns, which is especially useful in scenarios where you need to combine multiple datasets before selecting specific data fields. Correlation can be used in both subqueries and inline views.

Correlation is the process of connecting the results of one query to another query using a common identifier or values. In subqueries, correlation is used to refer to the parent query’s values and use the values in the subquery.

In an inline view, correlation is used to join the temporary table created by the inline view with a main query.

The Importance of Subquery Knowledge

Subqueries are a fundamental concept in SQL and are used in a vast range of scenarios. While it’s essential to know the correct terms and SQL syntax, understanding the concept behind subqueries is even more critical.

Knowing how subqueries work and being able to use them will help you understand more complex SQL queries and enhance your overall SQL skills. Furthermore, miscommunication within teams regarding SQL syntax can lead to errors, particularly when team members are from different technical backgrounds.

Therefore, grasping the concept of subqueries is crucial to ensure team agreement and avoid unnecessary complications due to miscommunication. To improve your understanding of subqueries, you can use online resources such as SQL Basics and SQL Practice Sets, which provide hands-on exercises that help develop your skills.

These exercises will help you to apply what you’ve learned and will boost your confidence in using subqueries.


Inline views and subqueries are both essential concepts in SQL used to retrieve data from a relational database. They have similarities as well as differences in their column layout and usage of correlation.

However, regardless of the technical terms, understanding the underlying concept behind these database techniques is essential to becoming an effective SQL user. Learning subqueries will help you write more complex queries, communicate more effectively with your team, and develop your SQL skills.

In conclusion, inline queries are a fundamental feature in SQL that allow you to simplify complex queries and improve query performance. Subqueries are also essential for a wide range of scenarios.

Understanding the concepts surrounding these database techniques is critical to becoming a proficient SQL user. Recommendations for further learning include practicing SQL through exercises from resources such as SQL Basics and SQL Practice Sets.

Additionally, knowing the concepts behind subqueries can help prevent miscommunication within teams. By learning inline views and subqueries, you can become a more efficient and effective database user, boosting your SQL skills and overall productivity.

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