We have a set of databases (development, QA and production, dev-foo & dev-bar, qa-foo & qa-bar and just foo & bar respectively).

Inside foo family of databases there's a view that should use respective bar database to do cross-database joins. In other words,

select f.*, b.* from foo f inner join <bar-db>.dbo.bar b on f.barid = b.id

The question is: is there any way I could write this script once and then have a database-level variable <bar-db> that would point to an appropriate "instance" of a bar database?

3 Answers 3


The answer is Synonyms.

Repeat for each database in foo family:

create synonym bar for [srv-db].<bar-db>.dbo.bar;

And then use it as follows:

select f.*, b.* 
from foo f inner join bar b on f.barid = b.id ;
  • Expand it if you want to get any credit on your answer :-).
    – Marian
    Nov 21, 2012 at 12:53

Synonyms and dynamic SQL are both solid answers (although you can't use dynamic SQL within a view). If you are using Visual Studio to manage your database projects, there is another route open to you: database variables. If you have database projects named foo and bar and configurations Debug, QA, and Release, you could use an app.config transform (perhaps using a tool like Slow Cheetah) and on deployment, the correct database reference would be used and a later DBA wouldn't get confused as to what "foo" means in that context. Synonyms aren't very commonly used in my experience, so they are something that one could easily overlook.

  • Umm, you're right. I missed the part with the view. My bad! Interesting tool, btw!
    – Marian
    Nov 21, 2012 at 13:24

I's say this is better fitted with dynamic sql. Something like:

    @sql nvarchar(max),
    @database sysname = 'FooDB';

select @sql = N'select f.*, b.* from foo f inner join [' + @database + '].dbo.bar b on f.barid = b.id';
exec sp_executesql @sql;

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