Quick #SQLPrompt Tips – Expanding Wildcards

I tend to try and get code on the screen quickly and then start to remove things. I’m a visual person, and it’s helpful for me to see some tables, joins, filters, and columns as I’m structuring a query.

One of the ways I work quickly is with SQL Prompt is that I’ll write a query, using the SELECT * to hold the place where columns will appear. Since I’m not always sure what columns exist in a table, using the asterisk allows me to complete a valid query.

2016-08-26 08_46_03-30113.sql - (local)_SQL2014.AdventureWorks2008 (PLATO_Steve (73))_ - Microsoft S

However, I don’t want to leave the asterisk there. Let’s put the cursor behind it. As you can see here, a tip pops up.

2016-08-26 08_53_16-30113.sql - (local)_SQL2014.AdventureWorks2008 (PLATO_Steve (73))_ - Microsoft S

When we hit Tab (or your completion hotkey), the entire column list expands. All columns, from all tables, qualified if necessary, according to my SQL Prompt settings.

2016-08-26 08_53_25-30113.sql - (local)_SQL2014.AdventureWorks2008 (PLATO_Steve (73))_ - Microsoft S

Now I have a well written query, or if I don’t need all columns, I can easily remove those that I no longer want to retrieve.

This is a quick tip, one that doesn’t do a lot, but has the potential to make developers really think about all the data being returned in large queries with a SELECT *.

Give this a try the next time you find yourself writing a SELECT * query and then remove the columns that you really don’t need. You might also check out a similar piece I wrote for the Redgate blog.

If you aren’t a SQL Prompt user, then think about downloading an evaluation and becoming a more efficient T-SQL developer.

You can see a complete list of SQL Prompt tips at Redgate.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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