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sys.sql_expression_dependencies (Transact-SQL)

Contains one row for each by-name dependency on a user-defined entity in the current database. A dependency between two entities is created when one entity, called the referenced entity, appears by name in a persisted SQL expression of another entity, called the referencing entity. For example, when a table is referenced in the definition of a view, the view, as the referencing entity, depends on the table, the referenced entity. If the table is dropped, the view is unusable.

You can use this catalog view to report dependency information for the following entities:

  • Schema-bound entities.

  • Non-schema-bound entities.

  • Cross-database and cross-server entities. Entity names are reported; however, entity IDs are not resolved.

  • Column-level dependencies on schema-bound entities. Column-level dependencies for non-schema-bound objects can be returned by using sys.dm_sql_referenced_entities.

  • Server-level DDL triggers when in the context of the master database.

Column name

Data type

Description

referencing_id

int

ID of the referencing entity. Is not nullable.

referencing_minor_id

int

Column ID when the referencing entity is a column; otherwise 0. Is not nullable.

referencing_class

tinyint

Class of the referencing entity.

1 = Object or column

12 = Database DDL trigger

13 = Server DDL trigger

Is not nullable.

referencing_class_desc

nvarchar(60)

Description of the class of referencing entity.

OBJECT_OR_COLUMN

DATABASE_DDL_TRIGGER

SERVER_DDL_TRIGGER

Is not nullable.

is_schema_bound_reference

bit

1 = Referenced entity is schema-bound.

0 = Referenced entity is non-schema-bound.

Is not nullable.

referenced_class

tinyint

Class of the referenced entity.

1 = Object or column

6 = Type

10 = XML schema collection

21 = Partition function

Is not nullable.

referenced_class_desc

nvarchar(60)

Description of class of referenced entity.

OBJECT_OR_COLUMN

TYPE

XML_SCHEMA_COLLECTION

PARTITION_FUNCTION

Is not nullable.

referenced_server_name

sysname

Name of the server of the referenced entity.

This column is populated for cross-server dependencies that are made by specifying a valid four-part name. For information about multipart names, see Transact-SQL Syntax Conventions (Transact-SQL).

NULL for non-schema-bound entities for which the entity was referenced without specifying a four-part name.

NULL for schema-bound entities because they must be in the same database and therefore can only be defined using a two-part (schema.object) name.

referenced_database_name

sysname

Name of the database of the referenced entity.

This column is populated for cross-database or cross-server references that are made by specifying a valid three-part or four-part name.

NULL for non-schema-bound references when specified using a one-part or two-part name.

NULL for schema-bound entities because they must be in the same database and therefore can only be defined using a two-part (schema.object) name.

referenced_schema_name

sysname

Schema in which the referenced entity belongs.

NULL for non-schema-bound references in which the entity was referenced without specifying the schema name.

Never NULL for schema-bound references because schema-bound entities must be defined and referenced by using a two-part name.

referenced_entity_name

sysname

Name of the referenced entity. Is not nullable.

referenced_id

int

ID of the referenced entity.

Always NULL for cross-server and cross-database references.

NULL for references within the database if the ID cannot be determined. For non-schema-bound references, the ID cannot be resolved in the following cases:

  • The referenced entity does not exist in the database.

  • The schema of the referenced entity depends on the schema of the caller and is resolved at run time. In this case, is_caller_dependent is set to 1.

Never NULL for schema-bound references.

referenced_minor_id

int

ID of the referenced column when the referencing entity is a column; otherwise 0. Is not nullable.

A referenced entity is a column when a column is identified by name in the referencing entity, or when the parent entity is used in a SELECT * statement.

is_caller_dependent

bit

Indicates that schema binding for the referenced entity occurs at runtime; therefore, resolution of the entity ID depends on the schema of the caller. This occurs when the referenced entity is a stored procedure, extended stored procedure, or a non-schema-bound user-defined function called in an EXECUTE statement.

1 = The referenced entity is caller dependent and is resolved at runtime. In this case, referenced_id is NULL.

0 = The referenced entity ID is not caller dependent.

Always 0 for schema-bound references and for cross-database and cross-server references that explicitly specify a schema name. For example, a reference to an entity in the format EXEC MyDatabase.MySchema.MyProc is not caller dependent. However, a reference in the format EXEC MyDatabase..MyProc is caller dependent.

is_ambiguous

bit

Indicates the reference is ambiguous and can resolve at run time to a user-defined function, a user-defined type (UDT), or an xquery reference to a column of type xml.

For example, assume that the statement SELECT Sales.GetOrder() FROM Sales.MySales is defined in a stored procedure. Until the stored procedure is executed, it is not known whether Sales.GetOrder() is a user-defined function in the Sales schema or column named Sales of type UDT with a method named GetOrder().

1 = Reference is ambiguous.

0 = Reference is unambiguous or the entity can be successfully bound when the view is called.

Always 0 for schema bound references.

The following table lists the types of entities for which dependency information is created and maintained. Dependency information is not created or maintained for rules, defaults, temporary tables, temporary stored procedures, or system objects.

Entity type

Referencing entity

Referenced entity

Table

Yes*

Yes

View

Yes

Yes

Filtered index

Yes**

No

Filtered statistics

Yes**

No

Transact-SQL stored procedure***

Yes

Yes

CLR stored procedure

No

Yes

Transact-SQL user-defined function

Yes

Yes

CLR user-defined function

No

Yes

CLR trigger (DML and DDL)

No

No

Transact-SQL DML trigger

Yes

No

Transact-SQL database-level DDL trigger

Yes

No

Transact-SQL server-level DDL trigger

Yes

No

Extended stored procedures

No

Yes

Queue

No

Yes

Synonym

No

Yes

Type (alias and CLR user-defined type)

No

Yes

XML schema collection

No

Yes

Partition function

No

Yes

* A table is tracked as a referencing entity only when it references a Transact-SQL module, user-defined type, or XML schema collection in the definition of a computed column, CHECK constraint, or DEFAULT constraint.

** Each column used in the filter predicate is tracked as a referencing entity.

*** Numbered stored procedures with an integer value greater than 1 are not tracked as either a referencing or referenced entity.

For more information, see Understanding SQL Dependencies.

Requires VIEW DEFINITION permission on the database and SELECT permission on sys.sql_expression_dependencies for the database. By default, SELECT permission is granted only to members of the db_owner fixed database role. When SELECT and VIEW DEFINITION permissions are granted to another user, the grantee can view all dependencies in the database.

A. Returning entities that are referenced by another entity

The following example returns the tables and columns referenced in the view Production.vProductAndDescription. The view depends on the entities (tables and columns) returned in the referenced_entity_name and referenced_column_name columns.

USE AdventureWorks2008R2;
GO
SELECT OBJECT_NAME(referencing_id) AS referencing_entity_name, 
    o.type_desc AS referencing_desciption, 
    COALESCE(COL_NAME(referencing_id, referencing_minor_id), '(n/a)') AS referencing_minor_id, 
    referencing_class_desc, referenced_class_desc,
    referenced_server_name, referenced_database_name, referenced_schema_name,
    referenced_entity_name, 
    COALESCE(COL_NAME(referenced_id, referenced_minor_id), '(n/a)') AS referenced_column_name,
    is_caller_dependent, is_ambiguous
FROM sys.sql_expression_dependencies AS sed
INNER JOIN sys.objects AS o ON sed.referencing_id = o.object_id
WHERE referencing_id = OBJECT_ID(N'Production.vProductAndDescription');
GO


B. Returning entities that reference another entity

The following example returns the entities that reference the table Production.Product. The entities returned in the referencing_entity_name column depend on the Product table.

USE AdventureWorks2008R2;
GO
SELECT OBJECT_SCHEMA_NAME ( referencing_id ) AS referencing_schema_name,
    OBJECT_NAME(referencing_id) AS referencing_entity_name, 
    o.type_desc AS referencing_desciption, 
    COALESCE(COL_NAME(referencing_id, referencing_minor_id), '(n/a)') AS referencing_minor_id, 
    referencing_class_desc, referenced_class_desc,
    referenced_server_name, referenced_database_name, referenced_schema_name,
    referenced_entity_name, 
    COALESCE(COL_NAME(referenced_id, referenced_minor_id), '(n/a)') AS referenced_column_name,
    is_caller_dependent, is_ambiguous
FROM sys.sql_expression_dependencies AS sed
INNER JOIN sys.objects AS o ON sed.referencing_id = o.object_id
WHERE referenced_id = OBJECT_ID(N'Production.Product');
GO



C. Returning cross-database dependencies

The following example returns all cross-database dependencies. The example first creates the database db1 and two stored procedures that reference tables in the databases db2 and db3. The sys.sql_expression_dependencies table is then queried to report the cross-database dependencies between the procedures and the tables. Notice that NULL is returned in the referenced_schema_name column for the referenced entity t3 because a schema name was not specified for that entity in the definition of the procedure.

CREATE DATABASE db1;
GO
USE db1;
GO
CREATE PROCEDURE p1 AS SELECT * FROM db2.s1.t1;
GO
CREATE PROCEDURE p2 AS
    UPDATE db3..t3
    SET c1 = c1 + 1;
GO
SELECT OBJECT_NAME (referencing_id),referenced_database_name, 
    referenced_schema_name, referenced_entity_name
FROM sys.sql_expression_dependencies
WHERE referenced_database_name IS NOT NULL;
GO
USE master;
GO
DROP DATABASE db1;
GO



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