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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
In this short blog I will use the most primitive example to show you the way from joins in ABAP Open SQL to associations in ABAP CDS.

The aim of the blog is not to show you something you should do but to gain a basic understanding of associations in CDS views.


Step 1, Join in Open SQL

I will start with the following very simple INNER JOIN between database tables SPFLI and SCARR from the good ol' flight model in Open SQL in the ABAP Editor (either WB or ADT in Eclipse):
spfli~carrid = scarr~carrid
FIELDS scarr~carrname AS carrier,
spfli~connid AS flight,
spfli~cityfrom AS departure,
spfli~cityto AS arrival
ORDER BY carrier, flight
INTO TABLE @DATA(result_open_sql_join).

Nothing special about that and the result shown with CL_DEMO_OUTPUT looks as follows:


Step 2, Join in ABAP CDS

Now let's transform the above ABAP code into the DDL of an ABAP CDS view in the DDL source code editor of ADT in Eclipse:
@AbapCatalog.sqlViewName: 'DEMO_CDS_JN1'
@AccessControl.authorizationCheck: #NOT_REQUIRED
define view demo_cds_join1
as select from spfli
inner join scarr on
spfli.carrid = scarr.carrid
scarr.carrname as carrier,
spfli.connid as flight,
spfli.cityfrom as departure,
spfli.cityto as arrival


This can almost be done by copy and paste. Hey, it's (almost standard) SQL for both.

After activating this view you can use the data preview of ADT (F8) or acces it with Open SQL:
SELECT FROM demo_cds_join1
ORDER BY carrier, flight
INTO TABLE @DATA(result_cds_join).

It is not too surprising that result_cds_join and result_open_sql_join contain exactly the same data.


Step 3, Association in ABAP CDS

Finally, I will use the advanced modelling capabilty of ABAP CDS and transform the explicit join into an association of another view:

@AbapCatalog.sqlViewName: 'DEMO_CDS_JN2'
@AccessControl.authorizationCheck: #NOT_REQUIRED
define view demo_cds_join2
as select from spfli
association to scarr as _scarr on
spfli.carrid = _scarr.carrid
_scarr[inner].carrname as carrier,
spfli.connid as flight,
spfli.cityfrom as departure,
spfli.cityto as arrival


The association _scarr is declared once behind the keyword association and can be used at several places inside the view in path expressions. You can also publish it for usage in other views or in Open SQL, but I have not done that here.

For our simple example, I use the path expression _scarr[inner].carrname as the first element of the select list. When using a path expression, the associations listed there are internally transformed to joins. In the select list those joins are left outer joins by default. Therefore, I override the default with [inner] in order to enforce an inner join. You can check the result by displaying the SQL DDL (shown for HANA here) that is generated from the ABAP CDS DDL in ADT (Context menu Show SQL CREATE statement😞


You see, we end up with something well known.

And of course, the data preview of ADT (F8) or the following Open SQL retrieve again the same data as before:

SELECT FROM demo_cds_join2
ORDER BY carrier, flight
INTO TABLE @DATA(result_cds_assoc).

With other words, no exceptions from

ASSERT result_cds_join  = result_open_sql_join.
ASSERT result_cds_assoc = result_cds_join.


The aim of this simple example is to show you that CDS associations are nothing but specifications of joins in a central position. These joins are instantiated in native SQL when using associations in path expressions.

The benefits of using associations are not shown in the simple example here. The advanced modelling capabilities stem from the reuse of the associations (meaning their joins) in different positions. Of course,  path expressions can contain more than one association, relieving you from the task of coding complex join expressions.  Such path expressions can be used in the same or other CDS views and even in Open SQL (if published by the defining view).