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Parameterize tables and columns in a stored procedure

To parameterize tables and columns in a stored procedure involves more than that of developing a straight forward SQL statement. SQL Server development expert Greg Low explains.

I am designing a stored procedure on SQL Server 2000 and it accepts an input parameter. The calling procedure passes a table field name to this procedure. The stored procedure should then calculate the sum of all the values in the this field table.

ALTER PROCEDURE CrBacSetSumFields ( @SumField Varchar(50) ) AS BEGIN declare @SumOfValues numeric Select sum(@SumField) as SumOfValues From CR_ARC_INP_ACCTNG End On parsing, it goes through without any errors. However on executing it, the following appears:
"Server: Msg 409, Level 16, State 2, Procedure CrBacSetSumFields, Line 35 The sum or average aggregate operation cannot take a varchar data type as an argument."
I'm not sure how to get it around because the table names the field as a numeric type. I would like to affirm that only the input parameter is a varchar. There is also no way to put the actual column name in the stored procedure. The column name must be taken as a parameter. Can you give me a solution?
Table and column names can't be parameterized in SQL statements this way. It is possible to do this via dynamic SQL but I'd strongly suggest you take a look at Erland Sommerskog's great info on it.
This was last published in August 2006

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