Home > DB Concepts, JOINS > DB Basics – SQL Server JOINS and Types

DB Basics – SQL Server JOINS and Types

JOIN clause in SQL Server is used to combine records and create a new record set from two tables based upon the relationship between them. The relationship is established by JOINing common columns with the ON clause from both the tables and returning only required columns from both the tables.

JOIN clause is specified with the FROM clause. Clauses like AND, WHERE and/or HAVING can also be used to filter the rows selected by the JOIN clause.

–> A JOIN table operator operates on two input tables. The three fundamental types of joins are CROSS JOIN, INNER JOIN, and OUTER JOINS. These three types of joins differ in how they apply their logical query processing phases; each type applies a different set of phases:

– A CROSS JOIN applies only one phase — Cartesian Product.

– An INNER JOIN applies two phases — Cartesian Product and Filter.

– An OUTER JOIN applies three phases — Cartesian Product, Filter, and Add Outer Rows.

–> Here is a pictorial representation of various types JOINs you can create in T-SQL:


–> Joins can be categorized as:

1. CROSS JOINs: Cross Joins return all rows from the Left table. Each row from the Left table is combined with all rows from the Right table. Cross Joins are also called Cartesian products.

2. INNER JOIN: (the typical Join operation, which uses some comparison operator like = or ). These include equi-joins and natural joins.
Inner Joins use a comparison operator to match rows from two tables based on the values in common columns from each table.

3. OUTER JOIN: Outer joins can be a Left, a Right, or Full Outer Join.
Outer joins are specified with one of the following sets of keywords when they are specified in the FROM clause:

3.a. LEFT JOIN or LEFT OUTER JOIN: The result set of a Left Outer Join includes all the rows from the left table specified in the LEFT OUTER clause, not just the ones in which the joined columns match. When a row in the left table has no matching rows in the right table, the associated result set row contains null values for all select list columns coming from the right table.

3.b. RIGHT JOIN or RIGHT OUTER JOIN: A Right Outer Join is the reverse of a Left Outer Join. All rows from the right table are returned. Null values are returned for the left table any time a right table row has no matching row in the left table.

3.c. FULL JOIN or FULL OUTER JOIN: A Full Outer Join returns all rows in both the Left and Right tables. Any time a row has no match in the other table, the select list columns from the other table contain null values. When there is a match between the tables, the entire result set row contains data values from the base tables.

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