Simple WITH syntax, Recrusive query and Pivot why are they better?

I am currently starting to look at SQL Server 2005 in depth and three advantages I kept reading about are the WITH syntax, Recrusive query and Pivot - can someone body tell me the practical instances of using a WITH, Recrusive or Pivot - All the examples below work - however I don't see what all the hype is about -
what makes these methods better and when would I use them in say a web based application?

Example of a WITh query:

WITH SalesInJan AS (
SELECT * FROM SalesbyMonth
WHERE month = 'jan' )

SELECT * FROM SalesinJan


Recrusive query example:

WITH pbbActionHeirarchy As (
SELECT pbbActions.action_id, pbbActions.parentid
FROM pbbActions
WHERE parentid = 1
SELECT pbbActions.action_id, pbbActions.parentid
FROM pbbActions
INNER JOIN pbbActionHeirarchy On pbbActions.parentid =

PIVOT example:

SELECT Year,[Jan],[Feb],[Mar],[Apr],[May],[Jun],
SELECT year, amount, month
FROM salesbyMonth ) AS salesbyMonth
PIVOT ( SUM(amount) FOR month IN
) As ourPivot
Order by Year

Who is Participating?
David ToddConnect With a Mentor Senior DBACommented:

The key problem is that the CTE using the With clause - the example above is too simple.

It needs to be something more complex like
select *
from SalesInJan
inner join SalesInJan
 on oncondition
where SalesInJan ... etc

That is, where the expression is repeated several times in the main query, the CTE simplifies the writing of the query is all.

Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
the first sample is indeed too simplistic, but as dtodd indicates, the power only get's seen when you have to use that "subquery" several times.
note: you can easily avoid using WITH by creating temp tables or table variables in case you need to write scripts that need to work on sql 2000 also.

for recursive queries, WITH CTE is a "requirement", or otherwise you have to write a recursive function to solve the problem.

for PIVOT, I honestly have to admit that I doubt the usefulness of the current syntax, as it is still limited in the number of columns (as you still have to specify the possible values).
dylanoneAuthor Commented:
Sorta helps - a lot of what I do is web based so your saying the WITh and Recursive queries only help if I need to call them over and over again?
Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Connect With a Mentor Billing EngineerCommented:
>so your saying the WITh and Recursive queries only help if I need to call them over and over again?
no, at least not how you understood it.

the WITH is only "helpful" in regards to performance when you have 1 query, where you would use the same subquery several times. the WITH then simplified the writing of the query AND can improve performance.

calling the same query over and over again can be optimized by using a parametrized and prepared query, using stored procedures/functions etc. that can be combine with WITH (by using that inside the procedure for example).
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