Stored Procedure vs Function: Difference and Comparison

Stored Procedures and Functions have different properties. They have certain limitations, and the result is different in both cases. The stored Procedure needs both input and output parameters, but there is no need for output parameters in the Function.

The function can be called by using a stored procedure, but the opposite way is not possible.

Key Takeaways

  1. Stored procedures perform actions within a database and can return multiple values as output parameters.
  2. Functions return a single value and can be used within SQL statements as expressions.
  3. Stored procedures can modify database data, while functions are read-only.

Stored Procedure vs Function

The difference between Stored Procedure and Function is Function will always give the output, but Stored Procedure can sometimes produce no result. The input and output information has to be mentioned in Stored Procedure, but it is not like this in Function. The Function only needs an input parameter. A stored procedure can produce a big value which can be up to 1024 values, but a Function will return only one particular value.

Stored Procedure vs Function

Stored Procedures are normally called independently. The execute command helps to call the stored procedure independently. This cannot be called from functions. It helps to call the functions.


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Functions can be invoked from the stored procedure. The stored procedure can return 1024 values as a result.

The function does not need any specific output parameter. It only requires input parameters to produce the result. It does not invoke multiple results. Rather it produces only one result.

A function can be written and embedded within a SELECT statement. It will always produce the result. The result is only one value and a particular value.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonStored ProcedureFunction
RequirementsInput and output parameterInput parameter
ResultMultiple large valuesSingle result
Invoked byNoneStored procedure
Return value size1024 digits1 digit
Probability of outputModerateHigh
Modification of dataYesNo

What is Stored Procedure?

The operation of the Stored Procedure does not depend on anything. Rather it is independently working and produces the result. It is generally used to invoke functions.

It depends on whether the Stored Procedure will produce the result or not. Sometimes there is no result, and sometimes there are multiple results.

The stored procedure needs input and output parameters to produce the result. The Stored Procedure cannot work in some cases, like it cannot work under having, select, or where statements.

The data which is used in the Stored Function can be modified at any point in time. These are generally pre-compiled objects.

Pre-compiled objects were compiled for the first time, and the system remembers the format of the data. These formats are useful when other things are compiled by the users.

The values keep on changing. The result can be a very large value or small value and sometimes no value at all.

This reduces the server traffic as it generally reduces the SQL queries into a small line, due to which transmission is faster. It even reduces the development cycle.

The work can be done in very little time. It is easily used by multiple users as it is a stored procedure.

stored procedure

What is Function?

Functions are generally divided into two categories which are user-defined functions and built-in functions.

Built-in functions are already present in the SQL server, whereas User-defined functions have to be declared by the users in SQL functions. It needs input parameters, and there is no need for output parameters.

It always produces a particular value. The execution of codes becomes faster by using these user-defined functions. The formats are already there, due to which compilation of codes becomes easy, and there is no time-consuming process.

The execution becomes faster as the formats are used continuously for execution.

There is no possibility of returning a null value. It will always return a particular value. These functions cannot call user-defined functions.

Functions can be invoked by using select statements in the SQL server. In this type of function, UDF is used in the result set within the join clause.

Functions cannot make use of try-catch blocks. It does not need an output parameter to produce the result. There is no requirement for output parameters in the functions.

DML statements cannot be used in SQL, but select statements can be easily used in these types of servers.


Main Differences Between Stored Procedure and Function

  1. A stored procedure needs both input and output parameters, but a Function needs only input parameter.
  2. Stored Procedure return multiple results, but Function never returns multiple answers.
  3. A stored procedure cannot be invoked from the function, but a function can be invoked from the Stored Procedure.
  4. Stored Procedure can return 1024 values at once, but Function will give only one value as a result.
  5. Stored Procedure can sometimes not answer, but Function will always give the output.
  6. Data can be modified in Stored Procedure but not in Function.

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