SQL Server stored procedure naming convention and best practices

In this SQL Server tutorial, we will discuss some of the naming conventions used for the stored procedures in SQL Server and will cover the following topic:

  • SQL Server stored procedure naming convention
  • SQL Server stored procedure best practices

SQL Server stored procedure naming convention

To locate a specific item such as tables, functions, SQL Server utilizes object names and schema names. And using a standard naming convention for your objects including stored procedures is always a good practice.

A naming convention is a set of rules and guidelines for selecting the character sequence that can be used for identifiers or names in source code and documentation that represent variables, functions, and other entities, including stored procedures.

SQL Server stored procedure naming convention
SQL Server stored procedure naming convention

So in this section, we will discuss some of the standard naming conventions for the stored procedures in SQL Server.

Avoid using sp_ as a prefix

While creating a stored procedure in SQL Server, we should avoid using the “sp_” as a prefix while assigning the name to a procedure. SQL Server uses the “sp_” prefix to indicate system procedures that are stored in the master database. So, If a system procedure with the same name exists, using this prefix may cause the application code to fail.

Standard prefix

Although, It doesn’t really matter what we use as a prefix while naming a store procedure. SQL Server will recognize whether it is a store procedure or a function. Still, it is useful to distinguish the objects so that they can be managed more easily.

And, here are some of the standard prefixes that we can use while naming a store procedure.

  • sp :- example, spInsertRecord, spUpdateRecord, etc.
  • usp_ :- example, usp_InsertRecord, usp_UpdateRecord, etc.
  • usp :- example, uspInsertRecord, uspUpdateRecord, etc.

Using Schema Names

The next factor to consider while creating a stored procedure is to use a schema. A schema is simply a container used to save a collection of objects in SQL Server. This is useful if we want to group all the objects like the stored procedure.

The stored procedures in SQL Server are bound to a schema. If we create a procedure without a schema name, the user’s default schema will be assigned to it.

And, if we specify the schema name while creating or referencing the stored procedure, it will reduce the processing time. As the Database engine will not require to search multiple schemas for the procedure.

Naming Stored Procedure

A stored procedure in SQL Server is mainly used to either process table data or to implement some business logic. Additionally, there can be many stored procedures with their own significance. So, naming a stored procedure plays an important role.

We should always name a procedure in a way that the name should be simple and meaningful at the same time. For demonstration, consider some examples.

  • uspInsertRecord- insert a new record into a table
  • uspUpdateRecord- update an existing record
  • uspAllRecods- List all records of a table.

Naming Stored Procedure Action

In SQL Server, we generally create a stored procedure to perform repeated tasks. So, we should always name the procedure in such a way that the action of the procedure is represented in the name. It will be helpful to recognize the procedure used for some specific tasks.

For demonstration consider the following example.

  • uspInsertRecord- To insert a new record into a table
  • uspUpdateRecord- To update an existing record
  • uspGetAllRecods- To retrieve all records of a table.

SQL Server stored procedure best practices

Now in this section, we are going to discuss some of the important practices that we should follow while creating a store procedure in SQL Server. Although this isn’t a full list of best practices, these tips may help you improve your procedure’s results.

  • The first statement in the stored procedure’s body should be the “SET NOCOUNT ON” statement. This statement should be placed immediately after AS keyword. This will disable the client messages that SQL Server sends after implementing any SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, MERGE or DELETE statements. And this will reduce the number of outputs generated in the end, providing more clarity.
  • When creating or referencing database objects in the procedure, use schema names. It will reduce the processing time as the Database Engine does not have to scan several schemas to determine object names. It will also avoid permission and access issues caused by using default schema when objects are created without specifying one.
  • Wrapping functions around columns in the WHERE and JOIN clauses is a bad practice. As a result, the columns become non-deterministic, and the query processor is unable to use indexes.
  • It is also recommended to avoid using the scalar function in the SELECT statement that returns a large number of rows. Because the scalar function must be applied to each row, the outcome is row-based processing, which slows down speed.
  • We should avoid using “SELECT *” within a procedure. Instead, we should specify the required column names. It will help to avoid some Database engine faults that might occur while implementing procedures.
  • Avoid processing or returning a large amount of data. Instead, narrow down the results in the procedure, and process only essential data.
  • Use BEGIN/COMMIT TRANSACTION to create explicit transactions, and keep them as short as possible. Longer transactions result in longer record locking and a higher risk of deadlocking.
  • Always use the TRY-CATCH block within the stored procedure for error handling. A TRY-CATCH can wrap an entire block of Transact-SQL statements in a single statement. This not only reduces performance overhead but also improves error reporting accuracy.
  • It is recommended to use the DEFAULT keyword on all the columns within a procedure body that are referenced by CREATE or ALTER TABLE statements. This will prohibit passing NULL to columns that do not support them.
  • Always add some logic to convert or remove rows with null values from queries.
  • It is recommended to use the UNION ALL operator instead of the UNION or OR operators. Because the UNION ALL operator has a lower processing overhead as duplicates are not filtered out of the result set.

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So in this SQL Server tutorial, we have discussed some of the naming conventions used for the stored procedures in SQL Server, and we have covered the following topic:

  • SQL Server stored procedure naming convention
  • SQL Server stored procedure best practices