Folding Views

By Patrick Bracken | August 21, 2017


The folding process starts by calculating the number of keys per fold. Let’s say we defined 6 group-by-1 keys, and we have a folding count of 3. That means that we have 2 keys per fold. Because of the way folding works, it’s important that the folding count be evenly divisible into the total number of group-by-1 keys.

At the end of the folding process, the keys of each fold will be transposed, or folded, onto the columns of the first fold, and the values of all group-by keys after the first fold will have been cleared to blanks or zeroes.

Going back to our example, let’s call our group-by-1 keys K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, and K6, listed in display column sequence. And let’s assume there are four additional columns, which are not group-by keys, named D1, D2, D3, and D4. Let’s assume we had an input row that looked like the following table:

The single row example input to the folding process.
K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 D1 D2 D3 D4
F304 08/12/2017 F309 08/28/2017 H873 08/29/2017 1.0 16:30 43 76343

During the folding process, the first output row will be created by copying the input row just as it is. The second output row will start in the same manner, by making a copy of the input row, but then the value of K3 will be moved to the K1 column, and K4 will be moved to the K2 column. And finally, for the third row, after making a copy of the input, K5-K6 will be moved to K1-K2.

In all three output rows, keys K3-K6 will be cleared as the final step in folding. In addition, note that all of the data (non-key) columns, D1-D4, keep their original values on all 3 output rows. The results will look something like the following:

The 3-row output of taking 3 folds across 6 group-by keys.
K1 K2 (K3) (K4) (K5) (K6) D1 D2 D3 D4
F304 08/12/2017 1.0 16:30 43 76343
F309 08/28/2017 1.0 16:30 43 76343
H873 08/29/2017 1.0 16:30 43 76343


  • Folding runs right before the group-by-1 step.
  • The folding count, specified in the view, represents the number of output rows that will be created for each input row.
  • The folding count must be evenly divisible into the number of keys in the group-by-1 step.
  • For folding to be effective, the keys that are folded on top of one another must have the same data type (such as text string, or date, or number). In our example above, K1, K3 and K5 must all have the same data type because their values will all end up in the same column (K1) after folding. The same can be said for K2, K4, and K6.
  • After folding, the group-by-1 process continues as usual. It is possible that the group-by process will summarize the folded data rows, resulting in fewer rows, if some rows have the same group-by key values. Or, if each row’s group-by keys (after folding) represents a distinct unique value, the group-by process will end up with the same number of rows as produced by folding .