Adventures in Machine Learning

Mastering Variables in SQL: A Guide for Developers

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language for managing relational databases. One common feature of SQL is the use of variables, which are objects that hold a value that can change during the execution of a program.

In this article, we will explore the concept of variables in SQL, including their definition and usage, cases for using variables, declaring and assigning values to variables, and how to use variables in a query. Furthermore, we will also discuss storing query results in a variable and how to select a record or accumulate values into a variable.

What is a Variable in SQL? A variable is an object in SQL that holds a value that can be changed.

Variables are used in many areas of SQL programming, including stored procedures, functions, and control-of-flow statements. They are useful for executing repetitive tasks and storing intermediate results.

Definition and Usage

A variable is a named object that can hold a specific value. In SQL, a variable can have a data type, which determines what type of data the variable can hold.

Common data types for variables include integer, character, and date/time. Variables are used in SQL to hold intermediate or final results during the execution of programs.

Cases for Using Variables

Variables are helpful when executing repetitive tasks. For instance, a loop counter could be employed to count the number of times a loop is executed, or a control-of-flow statement could be used to branch the execution of a program based on the values stored in a variable.

Additionally, variables are often used in stored procedures or functions to store intermediate results or final results.

Declaring Variables

To declare a variable in SQL, a developer must use the DECLARE statement, which indicates the name of the variable and its data type. The AS keyword is used to indicate the type of the variable, and multiple variables can be declared on the same line, separated by commas.

Assigning Values to Variables

To assign a value to a variable in SQL, the SET statement can be used. This statement includes both the name of the variable and the value being assigned.

Once the value is assigned, it can be manipulated further.

Using Variables in a Query

Variables can be used in queries for a variety of tasks. They can be used in the WHERE clause to filter results, in the SELECT statement to calculate intermediate results, and in the ORDER BY clause to sort results appropriately.

Additionally, variables can be used to hold intermediate or final results that will be used in subsequent steps of a query.

Storing Query Results in a Variable

In addition to using variables to hold intermediate results, it’s also possible to store query results in a variable for later use. This is done using the SET statement and typically requires the use of a VARCHAR(MAX) variable.

Storing Query Result in a Variable

To store query results in a variable, developers must first declare a VARCHAR(MAX) variable. Then the SET statement can be used along with a SELECT statement to output the results of a query into the variable.

Variable contents can be outputted to the messages tab, and a PRINT statement can also be included to display the results of the query.

Selecting a Record into Variables

Developers can select specific records into variables using a SELECT statement. This statement must include the specific column names desired and a WHERE clause.

This kind of variable selection can be particularly helpful in creating better-organized queries.

Accumulating Values into a Variable

It is possible to accumulate values into a variable with a stored procedure that, when called, inputs a parameter, a product list, and the variable to which the values should be added. The varying character string type can be utilized for this purpose, along with the line feed character.


Variables play a critical role in the design and execution of SQL programs. They help to store intermediate and final results during program execution and are used in a variety of different SQL contexts.

Developers can declare, assign, and manipulate variables to produce more efficient and organized SQL code. Furthermore, storing query results in a variable and selecting record values into a variable are both useful techniques for optimizing SQL queries.

In closing, variables are an essential concept in SQL programming and one that every developer should have a solid understanding of to build better programs. Overall, this article explored the concept of variables in SQL and highlighted their importance in programming.

We discussed the definition and usage of variables, cases for using variables, declaring and assigning values to variables, and using variables in a query. Additionally, we looked at how to store query results in a variable and how to select a record or accumulate values into a variable.

Understanding variables is crucial for optimizing SQL programs and improving efficiency of query execution. The key takeaway is that a solid understanding of variables is essential for any SQL developer, and utilizing them effectively can lead to more organized and efficient SQL code.

Popular Posts