To address a very common requirement, I am suggesting the following syntax:
TOP(@n) OVER(PARTITION BY ... ORDER BY ...)
For instance, the requirement "select three latest orders for every customer" would be implemented as
SELECT TOP(3) OVER(PARTITION BY CustomerID ORDER BY OrderDate DESC) ...
Advantages: all my intentions are expressed in one place, in an intuitively clear way, similar to existing OLAP functions syntax. The alternative is to use ROW_NUMBER(), and the implementation of the requirement is scattered all over the query, nd requires an inline view.
SQL Server MVP