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Creating record set of time intervals by subtracting timestamp from the previous one

I have a table containing a timestamp. How can I generate a recordset containing the time interval by subtracting the timestamp column of the current record with the previous, assuming I've put the set in order of date?

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If you were solving this problem procedurally, you could store the last date in a variable as you iterated through the ordered rows, however, SQL requires a different approach. For every row, simply take the difference between the date and the date which precedes it. I should note that this happens to be MS SQL Server flavored SQL.

create table Things
( ID numeric,
  SomeDate datetime );

insert into Things values (1,'01-JAN-2002 12:34PM');
insert into Things values (2,'01-JAN-2002 1:10PM');
insert into Things values (3,'01-JAN-2002 2:59PM');
insert into Things values (4,'01-JAN-2002 3:17PM');
insert into Things values (5,'01-JAN-2002 3:20PM');
insert into Things values (6,'01-JAN-2002 6:39PM');
insert into Things values (7,'01-JAN-2002 6:40PM');

select ID, SomeDate,
       cast( SomeDate ? ( select max(SomeDate) from Things 
                            where SomeDate < t.SomeDate ) 
             as float
           ) * 24 * 60 as MinutesSinceLastDate  
  from Things t;

ID SomeDate                MinutesSinceLastDate  
-- ----------------------- --------------------
1  2002-01-01 12:34:00.000 NULL
2  2002-01-01 13:10:00.000 36.000000000000007
3  2002-01-01 14:59:00.000 108.99999999999999
4  2002-01-01 15:17:00.000 18.000000000000004
5  2002-01-01 15:20:00.000 3.0
6  2002-01-01 18:39:00.000 199.0
7  2002-01-01 18:40:00.000 1.0

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This was first published in August 2002

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