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Introducing the new CREATE OR ALTER command in SQL
From SQL Server 2016 onwards you can choose to CREATE OR ALTER a procedure, trigger, view or function, as this blog explains.

Posted by Andy Brown on 10 January 2020

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The new CREATE OR ALTER command in SQL

Another in a series of confessions!  Did you know (we didn't!) that from SQL Server 2016 onwards you can choose to create or alter a procedure, function, trigger or view?

CREATE OR ALTER PROC spShowFilms

AS

-- list out all the films

SELECT

*

FROM

Film

The benefit of this is that it avoids a problem familiar to all SQL developers, which is what happens when you try to create a procedure or other object which already exists.  So for example the first time that you run the following code:

-- create a new procedure

CREATE PROC spShinyNewProcedure

AS

-- do something amazing

SELECT * FROM Film

You get this:

Command completed successfully

The procedure has been created.

If you then press F5 to run the same code again, you get this:

Object already exists

The procedure already exists - you need to change CREATE to read ALTER to choose to make changes to the procedure.

The CREATE OR ALTER command gets round this problem, at the expense of some extra typing.

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