Views often get a bad name. Often writers of SQL suffer from view resolution problems (where the entire result of a view is found before external predicates are applied) and thus the opinion "views slow down the database" is formed.
However, views are wonderful means of introducing a functionality layer in your database (particularly in a development environment). By hiding the table and exposing the view to "the public" you suddenly respond to developer requests such as
"I want to add a column but I'm worried about existing code"
No problem - add a column to the table and recreate the view. If things goes wrong, simply remove it from the view and sanity is restored.
"I want to drop a column"
Not such a great problem if you're on 8i, but before then with views its also no problem. Remove the column from the view, and you're done.
Views can be used with particular power in 8.x of Oracle, since we now have INSTEAD OF triggers. Here is an example in which views can be used to implement a SQL Server function - the ability to avoid an error when an attempt to insert a duplicate key is made.
firstname.lastname@example.org> create table t_table ( x int primary key ); Table created. email@example.com> create or replace view t as select * from t_table; View created. firstname.lastname@example.org> create or replace trigger t_trigger 2 INSTEAD OF INSERT ON T 3 for each row 4 begin 5 insert into t_table values ( :new.x ); 6 exception 7 when DUP_VAL_ON_INDEX then 8 null; 9 end; 10 / Trigger created.This can be extended (after all, we all like to be considered better than SQL Server). You could setup a package to allow you to enable/disable this behaviour
email@example.com> create or replace package globals 2 as 3 no_dup_key boolean default FALSE; 4 end; 5 / Package created. firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org> create or replace trigger t_trigger 2 INSTEAD OF INSERT ON T 3 for each row 4 begin 5 insert into t_table values ( :new.x ); 6 exception 7 when DUP_VAL_ON_INDEX then 8 if ( globals.no_dup_key ) 9 then 10 null; 11 else 12 raise; 13 end if; 14 end; 15 / Trigger created. email@example.com> insert into t values ( 1 ); insert into t values ( 1 ) * ERROR at line 1: ORA-00001: unique constraint (TKYTE.SYS_C007832) violated ORA-06512: at "TKYTE.T_TRIGGER", line 9 ORA-04088: error during execution of trigger 'TKYTE.T_TRIGGER' firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com> exec globals.no_dup_key := TRUE; PL/SQL procedure successfully completed. firstname.lastname@example.org> insert into t values ( 1 ); 1 row created.so, using the package you must enable the NO_DUP_KEY behaviour explicitly by setting the package variable (affects your SESSION only -- other sessions have their own package states)