What is the purpose of a schema search path in Snowflake, and how is it configured?

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What is the purpose of a schema search path in Snowflake, and how is it configured?

Daniel Steinhold Answered question August 9, 2023
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A schema search path in Snowflake is a sequence of schemas that the system searches through when resolving references to database objects (such as tables, views, functions) in SQL queries. The purpose of a schema search path is to simplify queries by allowing you to reference objects without specifying the schema name explicitly. Instead, Snowflake searches through the specified schemas in the order they appear in the search path until it finds the referenced object.

The schema search path is particularly useful in scenarios where you frequently query objects from the same set of schemas. It eliminates the need to specify the schema in every query, which can make your queries more concise and easier to read.

The schema search path is configured at the session level, meaning it affects the behavior of your current session only and does not impact other users or sessions.

To configure the schema search path in Snowflake, you use the **`SET`** command. Here's the syntax to set the schema search path:

```sql
sqlCopy code
SET SEARCH_PATH = (schema_name1, schema_name2, ...);

```

- **`schema_name1, schema_name2, ...`**: A comma-separated list of schema names in the order you want Snowflake to search through.

For example, if you want Snowflake to search for objects first in the **`sales_data`** schema and then in the **`public`** schema, you would use:

```sql
sqlCopy code
SET SEARCH_PATH = (sales_data, public);

```

With this configuration, if you reference an object without specifying a schema, Snowflake will first search for the object in the **`sales_data`** schema and then in the **`public`** schema.

To reset the schema search path to its default value (searching only the current user's schema), you can use:

```sql
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SET SEARCH_PATH = RESET;

```

Keep in mind that while the schema search path can simplify your queries, it's important to use it judiciously. Make sure that the schemas you include in the search path are relevant to your use case, and be aware that conflicts in object names between schemas can lead to unexpected results.

Daniel Steinhold Answered question August 9, 2023
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