The most common use for table functions is to analyze non-relational data or to convert non-relational data to relational data. Possible applications include the following:
- Converting flat file data into relational tables.
- Converting XML and web data into relational tables.
- Analyzing spreadsheet data or converting it into relational tables.
Very informally, you can think of table functions as a facility for creating a view-like mechanism that allows various SQL processing facilities to process and analyze numerous types of non-relational data.