Q: How do I retrieve values from a table and store the results in a string?

A: The following code provides a simple yet effective method for retrieving values from a table and storing the results in a string, without having to rely on cursors, WHILE loops, or other complex structures:

declare @string varchar(8000)
  select @string = ‘’
  select @string = @string + MyColumn
    from MyTable
  print @string

You need to initialize your string to a non-NULL value, or the string will end up as NULL, which is the default behavior of NULLs and string concatenation.

—Bill McEvoy