Snowflake FILTER

In the world of data warehousing and analytics, Snowflake has emerged as a game-changer. Snowflake helps organizations store, manage, and analyze large amounts of data effectively with its special design and strong capabilities. This article will teach you about the Snowflake FILTER function. You can use it with lambda expressions to maximize your data’s potential.

Understanding Semi-Structured Data in Snowflake

Before diving into the Snowflake FILTER function, let’s take a moment to understand semi-structured data. Semi-structured data like JSON and XML have a flexible schema for storing complex and hierarchical information. Unlike structured data, which follows a rigid schema, semi-structured data can vary in structure from record to record. Snowflake helps store and search semi-structured data like JSON and XML, along with traditional structured data, making it simple.

The Power of the Snowflake FILTER Function

The Snowflake FILTER function is a powerful tool for extracting and transforming semi-structured data. You can use this feature to remove certain items from a list of partially organized information. This will allow you to form a new list containing only the items that match the specified conditions. The FILTER function needs two things: the data column and a lambda expression for the filter condition.

Here’s an example of how the FILTER function works:

SELECT FILTER(json_column, x -> x:age > 30) AS filtered_data
FROM my_table;

In this example, the FILTER function is applied to the json_column, and the lambda expression x -> x:age > 30 filters the elements based on the condition that the age attribute is greater than 30. The result is an array containing only the elements that satisfy the condition.

The return type of data in the SELECT statement is identical to the input data type used in the FILTER function.

Lambda Expressions in Snowflake

Lambda expressions in Snowflake are a useful tool that lets users create and use unnamed functions in SQL statements. You can create these functions in just one line of code, without having to define separate user-defined functions. This can greatly simplify the code and make it more concise and readable. Lambda expressions are great for quickly performing basic operations on data in a query without having to create a whole function.

SQL developers can use functions like filtering, mapping, and aggregating data in different situations, making them a versatile tool. Lambda expressions in Snowflake make working with functions easier and more efficient, improving the flexibility and strength of SQL queries. Lambda expressions are great for using with the FILTER function because they let you create custom filtering conditions quickly.

The syntax for a lambda expression in Snowflake is as follows:

(arguments) -> expression

The arguments are the inputs for the lambda expression. The expression determines how to process each part of the semi-structured data.

Filtering JSON Data with Lambda Expressions

Now, let’s see how the Snowflake FILTER function can work with lambda expressions to extract certain elements from JSON data. Consider the following example:

  order_id INT,
  order_details VARIANT
INSERT INTO orders (order_id, order_details)
  (1, '{"items": [{"name": "Product A", "quantity": 2, "price": 8.99 }, {"name": "Product B", "quantity": 1, "price": 5.99}]}'),
  (2, '{"items": [{"name": "Product C", "quantity": 3, "price": 10.99}, {"name": "Product D", "quantity": 2, "price": 12.99}]}');
FILTER(order_details:items, x -> x:price > 10) AS expensive_items
FROM orders;

In this example, we have a table named orders with two columns: order_id and order_details. The order_details column stores JSON data representing the items in each order. We insert two sample orders into the table.

To extract only the expensive items (price > 10) from each order, we use the FILTER function in combination with a lambda expression. The lambda expression x -> x:price > 10 filters the items based on the condition that the price attribute is greater than 10. The result is an array containing only the expensive items for each order.

The output of this query would be:

order_id | expensive_items
1        | []
2        | [{"name": "Product D", "quantity": 2, "price": 10.99}]

The FILTER function with lambda expression helps extract specific elements from semi-structured data using custom conditions.

Best Practices and Tips

When working with the Snowflake FILTER function and lambda expressions, keep the following best practices and tips in mind:

  1. Use meaningful names for lambda expression arguments to enhance code readability.
  2. Keep lambda expressions concise and focused on a single filtering condition.
  3. Leverage the Snowflake documentation and examples to learn more about the FILTER function and its capabilities.
  4. Consider creating user-defined functions (UDFs) for complex or frequently used filtering logic to promote code reuse and maintainability.


The Snowflake FILTER function, along with lambda expressions, makes it easy to analyze semi-structured data. Custom filters can assist in analyzing JSON, XML, and other data formats. This can help you make better decisions and gain more insights from your data.

When using the Snowflake FILTER function, experiment with various filters. Utilize lambda expressions and adhere to best practices for writing clear and easily maintainable code.

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