tim laqua dot com Thoughts and Code from Tim Laqua


Parsing QueryString (GET) Variables From a URL using T-SQL

First of all - I know, don't do this. The application that put the URL in the column in the first place is MUCH better at handling URLs and ideally, you would just add columns for the GET variables you're after and have the application put those in. Parsing them out after the fact from a VARCHAR field is insane.

So now we're here and we need to do that thing that we said we shouldn't do. My approach is to use a Table Valued Function that only returns one column - the value of the variable or NULL if it can't find the variable in the querystring.


	b.[GetVariableValue] AS [Foo],
	c.[GetVariableValue] AS [Bar]
	[dbo].[SourceTable] a
	CROSS APPLY [dbo].[Utility_UrlParseGetVariable_F01]([URL], 'foo', 0) b
	CROSS APPLY [dbo].[Utility_UrlParseGetVariable_F01]([URL], 'bar', 0) c

Table Valued Function

*** Procedure:  		[Utility_UrlParseGetVariable_F01]
*** Purpose:		    Attempts to parse a given GET variable out of a URL string
*** Author:		      tl
*** Date Created:	  2009-05-22
*** Revision History
*** Date		Author			Description
*** 2009-05-22	tl				Created
ALTER FUNCTION [dbo].[Utility_UrlParseGetVariable_F01] 
	@Url VARCHAR(2048),
	@VariableName VARCHAR(255)
RETURNS @GetVariable TABLE ([GetVariableValue] VARCHAR(255))
	DECLARE @subString VARCHAR(2048)
	DECLARE @variableValue VARCHAR(255)
	SET @VariableName = @VariableName + '='
	-- Case Insensitive - munge both inputs
	SET @VariableName = LOWER(@VariableName)
	SET @Url = LOWER(@Url)
	IF (CHARINDEX(@VariableName,@Url) > 0)
		SET @subString = RIGHT(@Url, LEN(@Url) - CHARINDEX(@VariableName,@Url) - LEN(@VariableName) + 1)
		IF (CHARINDEX('&', @subString) > 0)
			SET @variableValue = CAST(LEFT(@subString, CHARINDEX('&', @subString) - 1) AS VARCHAR(255))
			SET @variableValue = CAST(@subString AS VARCHAR(255))
		INSERT INTO @GetVariable ([GetVariableValue]) VALUES (@variableValue)
		INSERT INTO @GetVariable ([GetVariableValue]) VALUES (NULL)


  • The current TVF munges everything to lower case - the return is lower case as well. This works fine for me as I was parsing out INT values anyway (so I use ISNULL(...,0) inside a cast) for the actual value.
  • The way it's written, if you look for the variable 'bar' and the querystring actually has a variable called 'foobar' before it - this function will take the value of 'foobar' and return it (because it's just doing a CHARINDEX for 'bar=' in the querystring

Why not RegEx via CLR?
Because one of the DBAs asked me not to šŸ˜‰ RegEx via CLR is a cleaner and more accurate way to do it. Better yet, you could use CLR and create a Uri object, then use HttpUtility.ParseQueryString(uri.Query).Name('bar') to get the appropriate value.

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