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Is it possible to perform DDL operations on a Snowflake view? Why or why not?

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Is it possible to perform DDL operations on a Snowflake view? Why or why not?

Daniel Steinhold Answered question August 7, 2023
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In Snowflake, you can perform certain DDL (Data Definition Language) operations on views, but there are limitations based on the nature of views and their purpose. DDL operations involve defining or modifying the structure of database objects. Here's an overview of what DDL operations are possible and why:

**Possible DDL Operations on Snowflake Views:**

1. **CREATE VIEW:** You can use DDL to create a view by defining its query and structure. This is a standard DDL operation.
2. **ALTER VIEW:** You can use DDL to alter a view by changing its query definition or renaming it.
3. **DROP VIEW:** You can use DDL to drop (delete) a view from the database.

**Not Possible DDL Operations on Snowflake Views:**

1. **ALTER COLUMN:** You cannot use DDL to directly alter a column's data type or attributes in a view. This is because views do not store data themselves; they provide a dynamic presentation of data from underlying tables. Altering a column would involve modifying the structure of the underlying tables, not the view.
2. **ADD COLUMN / DROP COLUMN:** Similarly, you cannot directly add or drop columns in a view using DDL. Again, this would involve modifying the structure of the underlying tables.
3. **RENAME COLUMN:** You cannot use DDL to rename columns within a view.

Snowflake's design philosophy revolves around maintaining the separation between the logical view of data (provided by views) and the physical storage of data (in underlying tables). Views are designed to encapsulate data transformations and abstractions, not to alter the underlying structure.

If you need to modify the structure of the underlying tables, you should perform those operations on the tables themselves. Any changes made to the underlying tables will be automatically reflected in the view's presentation of data.

In summary, while you can perform some DDL operations on Snowflake views (such as creating, altering, and dropping), the scope is limited to managing the view object itself rather than directly modifying the structure of the data presented by the view.

Daniel Steinhold Answered question August 7, 2023

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