You can think of a view as a lens looking at one or more tables. A view is really nothing more than a logical representation of one or more tables in a database. View offer the following benefits and functionality.
The following is an example of a simple SQL Server view using the Student table. Note: You may have to update some of the rows to add data to see the effects of this view.
IF ( OBJECT_ID('dbo.vw_students1') IS NOT NULL ) DROP VIEW dbo.vw_students1 GO CREATE VIEW dbo.vw_students1 AS SELECT lastname , firstname , (firstname + ' ' + lastname) as "Fullname_fl", (lastname + ', ' + firstname) as "Fullname_lf", birth_dttm, DATEDIFF(yy, birth_dttm, GETDATE()) - CASE WHEN MONTH(birth_dttm) > MONTH(GETDATE()) OR (MONTH(birth_dttm) = MONTH(GETDATE()) AND DAY(birth_dttm) > DAY(GETDATE()) ) THEN 1 ELSE 0 END as "Age" FROM Students GO
In general, you should adopt some naming standard for your views. This standard is vw_<name of view>. The name should be somewhat reflective of the purpose of the view. You can clearly see that I did not do such a good job with this. Sometimes coming up with a short descriptive name for your view is easier said than done.
The syntax for creating a view is...
CREATE OR REPLACE VIEW `<your_view_name>`
...followed by a normal SQL SELECT. This SELECT can include a WHERE clause or anything else for that matter that can be put into a SELECT statement. The scenarios are endless. It really depends on the purpose of the view.
As you can see in our view we are formatting the first and last name. This is a pretty common thing to do, By having a view that already does this we save having to write that function in every query where this is a requirement. You can also see that we have take the birth date column and calculated age.
The example below shows all of the code from the view. You could also do a SELECT *, or further restrict the columns you want to see. You can also add additional row restriction to the view as we have done.
SELECT TOP 100 lastname , firstname , Fullname_fl , Fullname_lf , birth_dttm , Age FROM dbo.vw_students1 (NOLOCK) WHERE Age is not null GO
Another key advantage of a view is that it allows us to join multiple tables together.
IF ( OBJECT_ID('dbo.vw_occupied_seats_by_class') IS NOT NULL ) DROP VIEW dbo.vw_occupied_seats_by_class GO CREATE VIEW dbo.vw_occupied_seats_by_class AS SELECT a.course_designater_fk , b.seat_num , (c.firstname + ' ' + c.lastname) as "Student" FROM dbo.Classes a JOIN dbo.ClassRegistration b ON a.classes_num = b.classes_num JOIN dbo.Students c ON c.student_id = b.student_id_fk GO
Above is a simple view that provides us with a listing of occupied/unoccupied seats for our classes. As you can see from the examples below, we can use this view in a variety of different ways. Note that for each scenario that we did not need to join any tables. The grunt work is already done.
View a single class
SELECT course_designater_fk , seat_num , Student FROM dbo.vw_occupied_seats_by_class (NOLOCK) WHERE course_designater_fk = 'Perl100' and Student is not null GO
course_designater_fk seat_num Student ----------------------------------------------- Perl100 8 Bob JONES Perl100 9 Ted APPLEBEE Perl100 2 Robert FRAPPLES Perl100 3 Mary LAMACKER Perl100 11 Mary LAMACKER Perl100 4 Helga JOENS Perl100 10 Jon NESBITT Perl100 5 Maggie JOMOMMA Perl100 6 Mary MEIGH Perl100 1 Madge LOWDOWN
Count open seats by class
SELECT course_designater_fk , COUNT(seat_num) as "# Open Seats" FROM dbo.vw_occupied_seats_by_class (NOLOCK) WHERE Student is null GROUP BY course_designater_fk GO
course_designater_fk # Open Seats ---------------------------------- dbOrchestra100 8 Perl100 1
The column name MUST be unique in a view. Note the following example.
CREATE OR REPLACE VIEW `vw_name_conflict` AS SELECT a.classes_num , b.classes_num FROM classes a JOIN classregistration b ON a.classes_num = b.classes_num GO
Duplicate column name 'classes_num'
Here is how to resolve this issue. Create a unique name using "as".
CREATE OR REPLACE VIEW `vw_name_conflict` AS SELECT a.classes_num as "classes_classes_num" , b.classes_num as "classregistration_classes_num" FROM classes a JOIN classregistration b ON a.classes_num = b.classes_num GO