SQL Server Cursor Example – Codingvila


Table of Contents

  • Explain What is a cursor in SQL Server?
  • Explain the use of the cursors.
  • Explain the Life Cycle of the cursor.
  • Explain the cursor with an example.

Requirement of Example

  • Create a temporary table for students.
  • Insert some dummy records into the created table for demonstrations.
  • Generate/Update student enrollment numbers based on the branch, year, and student roll no using the cursor.

What is a cursor in SQL Server?

A Cursor is a SQL Server database object that is used to manipulate data in a result set on a row-by-row basis. It acts as a loop just like the looping mechanism found in any other programming language like C#, VB.Net, C, C++, Java and etc. We can use cursors when we want to do data manipulation operations like update, delete and etc on a SQL Server database table in a singleton fashion in other words row by row.

Use of the cursors

You know that in relational databases, operations are made on a set of rows called result sets. let’s take an example, In SQL Server database SELECT statement returns a set of rows called a result set. Sometimes the application logic needs to work in a singleton fashion on a short row-by-row basis with one row at a time rather than the entire result set at once. This can be done using cursors in SQL Server.

In any programming language, we use a loop like FOREACH, FOR, WHILE, DO WHILE to iterate through one item at a time, the cursor follows the same approach, hence it might be preferred because it follows the same logic as the looping mechanism in the programming language.

Life Cycle of the cursor

Here we will split the life cycle of the cursor into the following 5 different sections.

1. Declare Cursor

Before using a cursor, you must first declare the cursor. So, in this section, we will declare variables and restore an arrangement of values.

2. Open

This is the second section of the life cycle and once a cursor has been declared, you can open it and fetch from it

3. Fetch

This is the third section of the life cycle and this is used to recover the information push by push from a cursor in short you can fetch row by row and make multiple operations like insert, update, delete and etc on the currently active row in the cursor.

4. Close

This is the fourth section of the life cycle. When you have finished working with a cursor, you should close the cursor. This leaves some portion of the cursor and is used to close a cursor.

5. Deallocate

This is the fifth and final section of the life cycle and in this section, we erase the cursor definition and discharge all the resources related to the cursor.

Implementation of Example

So, Let’s start to Implement an example of the cursor in the SQL server, as per our requirement we will consider an example of a student database where we need to generate the enrollment no of the student based on his/her branch, year roll number of student.

Before starting with the cursor I will show you the syntax of the cursor in SQL server and how you can declare a cursor in SQL server.

Syntex of Cursor

DECLARE @YourVariables  nvarchar(50)  -- Declare All Required Variables
DECLARE MyCursor_Name CURSOR --- Declare The Name of Your Cursor
 [LOCAL | GLOBAL]--- Define Scope of Your Cursor
 [FORWARD_ONLY | SCROLL] --Define Movement Direction of Your Cursor
 [ KEYSET | DYNAMIC |STATIC | FAST_FORWARD]--Define The Basic Type of Your Cursor
 [  SCROLL_LOCKS | OPTIMISTIC |READ_ONLY ]--Define Locks for Your Cursor
 OPEN MyCursor_Name --Open Your Cursor
 FETCH NEXT FROM MyCursor_Name --Fetch data From Your Cursor
-- Application Logic, Implement SQL QUery Insert, Update, Delete etc.
 CLOSE MyCursor_Name --Close Your Cursor

Now, we will start with our example for demonstration. So, let’s create a table for students and insert some dummy records in the student table as per our requirement.

Create Table

      Id INT ,
      RollNo INT ,
      EnrollmentNo NVARCHAR(15) ,
      Name NVARCHAR(50) ,
      Branch NVARCHAR(50) ,
      University NVARCHAR(50)

Insert Records on Tabel

INSERT  INTO @Students
        ( Id, RollNo, EnrollmentNo, Name, Branch, University )
VALUES  ( 1, 1, N'', N'Nikunj Satasiya', N'CE', N'RK University' ),
        ( 2, 2, N'', N'Hiren Dobariya', N'CE', N'RK University' ),
        ( 3, 3, N'', N'Sapna Patel', N'IT', N'RK University' ),
        ( 4, 4, N'', N'Vivek Ghadiya', N'CE', N'RK University' ),
        ( 5, 5, N'', N'Pritesh Dudhat', N'CE', N'RK University' ),
        ( 5, 5, N'', N'Hardik Goriya', N'EC', N'RK University' ),
        ( 6, 6, N'', N'Sneh Patel', N'ME', N'RK University' )

Create/Declare Cursor

@RollNo INT,
@Branch NVARCHAR(50) ,
@Year AS INT
    SELECT  Id ,
    FROM    @Students
OPEN MY_data
FETCH NEXT FROM MY_data INTO @Id, @Branch, @RollNo,@Year
        DECLARE @EnrollmentNo NVARCHAR(15)
                SET @EnrollmentNo = 'SOE' + CAST(@Year AS VARCHAR(2)) + CAST(@Branch AS NVARCHAR(50)) + '000' + CAST(@RollNo AS NVARCHAR(10))
                UPDATE @Students SET EnrollmentNo =  @EnrollmentNo WHERE Id =  @Id
        FETCH NEXT FROM MY_data INTO  @Id, @Branch, @RollNo,@Year

Fetch Records from the Database

SELECT * FROM  @Students


If you analyzed the above example then first I have created a temporary table with the name @Students and insert some dummy records in the table for performing data manipulation operations on data. Now if you retrieve the result set using a SELECT statement then you can see there is in the table the column with the name “EnrollmentNo” has a blank value.



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