Using Cursor Metadata to Dynamically Generate HTML Tables

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Using Cursor Metadata to Dynamically Generate HTML Tables

The following stored procedure will demonstrate the use of cursor metadata.

Using cursor metadata we can get information about an SQL statement and use that

information to dynamically generate other code such as HTML or other stored

procedures. In this example we will be taking an SQL statement as an argument in

our stored procedure. Using the information we get from the cursor metadata

tables (master.dbo.syscursorcolumns and master.dbo.syscursors) we will

dynamically generate the HTML code for a table.

The same task may of course be accomplished by using ASP methods to build a

table. But using an SQL Server stored procedure to deliver a pre-built recordset

offers the advantages of centralized code, as well as the ability to

persist(store) the a pre-built recordset as long as needed. In my example I am

using a local temporary table(disappears at end of the procedure) to store the

HTML table. But you might also look into creating global temporary tables (can

be saved in memory until no longer needed) to persist for a longer period of

time, or using permanent tables to store the data even longer.

Code: sp_tableGen.txt

Implementation

The stored procedure builds the HTML table in the

following way:

User enters sql query and table attributes as arguments for the stored

procedure.

CREATE PROCEDURE sp_tableGen

--INPUT THE QUERY FOR THE CURSOR

@cursorString VARCHAR(1000) = ' SELECT CustomerID, CompanyName FROM CUSTOMERS',

--INPUT ANY TABLE ATTRIBUTES REQUIRED

@tableAttributes VARCHAR(500) = ' border=5 width=100% cellspacing=1 cellpadding=1 '

AS

Cursor for the entered sql statement is declared using dynamic sql, name:

tabcur

EXEC ('DECLARE tabCur CURSOR FOR '+ @cursorString)

A query is made to system tables to get metadata for the cursor (column

names), name: cols

DECLARE colCur  CURSOR FOR SELECT A.column_name, A.ordinal_position, B.column_count

FROM master.dbo.syscursorcolumns A, master.dbo.syscursors B

WHERE A.cursor_handle = B.cursor_handle

AND B.cursor_name = 'tabCur'

ORDER BY ordinal_position

A temporary table of one string column is created to hold the html table

code, name: webtable

CREATE TABLE #webTable

( htmlString VARCHAR(2000))

A Fetch is performed on the cols cursor. In the cursor the following

actions are performed: a. Column names for the cursor are saved in a temporary

table
INSERT INTO #cols( ColName) VALUES ( @column_name)
b. We generate

VARCHAR variables to use in generating our fetch of tabCur Declaration of

variables and fetch need to be run in one dynamic sql statement. Data from the

fetch and html wrappers are written to the webtable when the dynamic SQL is

executed.

declare @curStr VARCHAR(2000)

A select is performed on the webtable and a resultset is streamed to the asp page with a fully formed table.

SELECT  htmlString  FROM  #webTable

Further Information

In order to learn about cursor metadata I recommend that you study the following system stored procedures:

  1. sp_describe_cursor

  2. sp_describe_cursor_columns

  3. sp_describe_cursor_tables


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