When to use Common table expression (CTE)

[Origin]: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4740748/when-to-use-common-table-expression-cte

One example, if you need to reference/join the same data set multiple times you can do so by defining a CTE. Therefore, it can be a form of code re-use.

An example of self referencing is recursion: Recursive Queries Using CTE

For exciting Microsoft definitions Taken from Books Online:

A CTE can be used to:

  • Create a recursive query. For more information, see Recursive Queries Using Common Table Expressions.
  • Substitute for a view when the general use of a view is not required; that is, you do not have to store the definition in metadata.
  • Enable grouping by a column that is derived from a scalar subselect, or a function that is either not deterministic or has external access.
  • Reference the resulting table multiple times in the same statement.
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