Chapter 3. User Functions and Views

But the answer is that with few tools and many tasks to do much fudging is in fact necessary.

—Henry W. Fowler (1858–1933) and Francis G. Fowler (1871–1918)

The King’s English, Chapter IV

STORED OBJECTS IN A DATABASE ARE A PRIME TARGET FOR REFACTORING, FOR TWO REASONS: FIRST, they are often involved in some glaring performance issues, and second, their source code being inside the database makes them often more immediately “accessible” than procedural code, which is spread among umpteen source files. As with indexes and statistics, you can sometimes improve performance significantly by refactoring user-written functions and views without “touching the code”—even if the functions and views are actually part of the code.

Stored functions and views often serve the same purpose, which is to centralize in one place some SQL code that will be required often. If you manage to significantly improve a stored object that is widely used, the performance benefits you will receive will ripple much farther than the problem process that rang the first bell. Conversely, you must bring to the refactoring exercise of stored objects both care and attention proportionate to its possible wider effects.

Although stored procedures are often hailed as a feature that distinguishes a mature, corporate-grade DBMS product from a “small product,” the availability of user-written functions lends itself easily to abuse. Developers who have been groomed in traditional programming ...

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