Sql – Function vs. Stored Procedure in SQL Server


I've been learning Functions and Stored Procedure for quite a while but I don't know why and when I should use a function or a stored procedure. They look same to me, maybe because I am kinda newbie about that.

Can some one tell me why?

Best Solution

Functions are computed values and cannot perform permanent environmental changes to SQL Server (i.e., no INSERT or UPDATE statements allowed).

A function can be used inline in SQL statements if it returns a scalar value or can be joined upon if it returns a result set.

A point worth noting from comments, which summarize the answer. Thanks to @Sean K Anderson:

Functions follow the computer-science definition in that they MUST return a value and cannot alter the data they receive as parameters (the arguments). Functions are not allowed to change anything, must have at least one parameter, and they must return a value. Stored procs do not have to have a parameter, can change database objects, and do not have to return a value.