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Dynamically Generating HTML Tags from T-SQL

By Cade Bryant,

Here's a real-life challenge I was faced with at work: my company (a talent agency) needed me to create a report listing all of our actors that we represent - and for each actor, a comma-delimited string of each production that they've starred in.  Simple enough, right......except that, within the comma-delimited list of productions, they wanted those productions that were "theatre" productions to be shown in italics!

Luckily, the front-end tool that would display the data was HTML-aware.  So, the challenge became, "How do I dynamically generate the appropriate HTML tags around each item in the list that's in the theatre category?"

Below is the code I came up with to do this.  Of course, I have simplified it greatly, and am using some "dummy" tables in this example,  But at least you can get the concept from the example below.  (Note: this uses a UDF, so it will only work in SQL 2000.  If you're using version 7, you must extract the code and run it as straght SQL).

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