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Introduction to Databases for Web Developers
Views  
When you submit a query to an SQL database using SQL, the database will consult its data dictionary and access the tables you have requested data from. It will then put together a "view" based upon the criteria you have defined in your SQL query.

A "view" is essentially a dynamically generated "result" table that is put together based upon the parameters you have defined in your query. For example, you might instruct the database to give you a list of all the employees in the EMPLOYEES table with salaries greater than 50,000 USD per year. The database would check out the EMPLOYEES table and return the requested list as a "virtual table".

Similarly, a view could be composed of the results of a query on several tables all at once (sometimes called a "join"). Thus, you might create a view of all the employees with a salary of greater than 50K from several stores by cumulating the results from queries to the EMPLOYEES and STORES databases. The possibilities are limitless

By the way, many databases allow you to store "views" in the data dictionary as if they were physical tables.

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