Last year Joel (of JoelOnSoftware.com) wrote an article that had a little blurb on the “MSDN Way” of doing things. That basically amounted to always using the newest, fanciest tools to solve a problem. Why use VB6 and SQL Server when you can use C#, SharePoint, BizTalk, XML, Web Services and SQL Server to accomplish the exact same thing. I chuckled at that but basically agreed with his characterization of MSDN. I'm still a big fan of the magazine though. Tomorrow's C#, SharePoint, etc. is today's VB6 and SQL Server. It's a great place to get a handle on what's coming.
Their latest article on using the CLR in SQL Server left me cold though. It describes a way to return the top 3 results per category. Really it left me very, very frustrated that Microsoft would even suggest using the CLR in this situation. Especially since they added some T-SQL features to do exactly what the article is describing. So I thought I'd post an alternate solution. Let me know which approach you like better.