Table-valued functions

Multi-statement Table Valued Function vs Inline Table Valued Function

Multi-statement table-valued function vs inline table-valued function

A few examples to show, just incase:

Inline Table Valued

CREATE FUNCTION MyNS.GetUnshippedOrders()
RETURN SELECT a.SaleId, a.CustomerID, b.Qty
    FROM Sales.Sales a INNER JOIN Sales.SaleDetail b
        ON a.SaleId = b.SaleId
        INNER JOIN Production.Product c ON b.ProductID = c.ProductID
    WHERE a.ShipDate IS NULL

Multi Statement Table Valued

CREATE FUNCTION MyNS.GetLastShipped(@CustomerID INT)
RETURNS @CustomerOrder TABLE
(SaleOrderID    INT         NOT NULL,
CustomerID      INT         NOT NULL,
OrderDate       DATETIME    NOT NULL,
OrderQty        INT         NOT NULL)

    SELECT @MaxDate = MAX(OrderDate)
    FROM Sales.SalesOrderHeader
    WHERE CustomerID = @CustomerID

    INSERT @CustomerOrder
    SELECT a.SalesOrderID, a.CustomerID, a.OrderDate, b.OrderQty
    FROM Sales.SalesOrderHeader a INNER JOIN Sales.SalesOrderHeader b
        ON a.SalesOrderID = b.SalesOrderID
        INNER JOIN Production.Product c ON b.ProductID = c.ProductID
    WHERE a.OrderDate = @MaxDate
        AND a.CustomerID = @CustomerID

In researching Matt’s comment, I have revised my original statement. He is correct, there will be a difference in performance between an inline table valued function (ITVF) and a multi-statement table valued function (MSTVF) even if they both simply execute a SELECT statement. SQL Server will treat an ITVF somewhat like a VIEW in that it will calculate an execution plan using the latest statistics on the tables in question. A MSTVF is equivalent to stuffing the entire contents of your SELECT statement into a table variable and then joining to that. Thus, the compiler cannot use any table statistics on the tables in the MSTVF. So, all things being equal, (which they rarely are), the ITVF will perform better than the MSTVF. In my tests, the performance difference in completion time was negligible however from a statistics standpoint, it was noticeable.

WayneSheffield: Comparing inline- and multistatement- table-valued functions

SQLservercentral: Comparing inline- and multistatement- table-valued functions

SQL Server table-valued functions vs stored procedures