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What is the difference between JOIN, UNION ALL and UNION?

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What is the difference between JOIN, UNION ALL and UNION?
posted May 16, 2014 by Pardeep Kohli

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1 Answer

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SQL JOIN allows us to “lookup” records on other table based on the given conditions between two tables. For example, if we have the department ID of each employee, then we can use this department ID of the employee table to join with the department ID of department table to lookup department names.

UNION operation allows us to add 2 similar data sets to create resulting data set that contains all the data from the source data sets. Union does not require any condition for joining. For example, if you have 2 employee tables with same structure, you can UNION them to create one result set that will contain all the employees from both of the tables.

SELECT * FROM EMP1
UNION
SELECT * FROM EMP2;

UNION and UNION ALL both unify for add two structurally similar data sets, but UNION operation returns only the unique records from the resulting data set whereas UNION ALL will return all the rows, even if one or more rows are duplicated to each other.

In the following example, I am choosing exactly the same employee from the emp table and performing UNION and UNION ALL. Check the difference in the result.

SELECT * FROM EMPLOYEE WHERE ID = 5
UNION ALL
SELECT * FROM EMPLOYEE WHERE ID = 5

enter image description here

SELECT * FROM EMPLOYEE WHERE ID = 5
UNION 
SELECT * FROM EMPLOYEE WHERE ID = 5

enter image description here

answer May 19, 2014 by Mishthy Mukherjee
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