Hello Emanuele,
Take a look at these FAQs and hopefully they answer your questions. You can create a VIEW instead of a TABLE and there's no need to add the empty key value (though you cannot use Phoenix APIs to change the table, only read from it):

https://phoenix.apache.org/faq.html#How_I_map_Phoenix_table_to_an_existing_HBase_table
https://phoenix.apache.org/faq.html#Why_empty_key_value

Thanks,
James

On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 8:10 AM, Emanuele Fumeo <emanuele.fumeo@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi all,

firstly I am a new HBase user and I would like to say hello to everyone and to say thanks in advance to anyone that contributes to this mailing list.

Next, my question. 
In case I create a Phoenix table over an existing HBase table, I know that for each row Phoenix adds a new column marked with "_0".
That specific column (let's call it a "system" column) makes possible to use SQL-like commands on HBase tables through Phoenix.

I tried to insert new rows to the table through the HBase shell using the same table schema, it worked.
Then I tried to 
  (1) perform a SELECT through Phoenix
  (2) scan the table through the HBase shell
Surprisingly (from my point of view) the SELECT statement returned all the rows included in the table, even the ones added through the HBase shell.
However, a scan on the HBase shell revealed that no "system" column has been added to the new rows!


So, my question is: am I looking at a very specific case?
Or the things just work like this:
  (1) When I have an existing HBase table, I create a new Phoenix table on top to use SQL-like statements.
  (2) Phoenix creates "system" columns for each existing row in the table.
  (3) Whenever I add new rows through HBase (shell, API, etc.), the new rows are automatically visible through Phoenix without needing Phoenix to add "system" columns.
This behavior would also mean that after creating an HBase table, in case a SQL-like interface would be useful, it is a very good idea to create a Phoenix table on top of this HBase table as soon as possible (i.e. when the table is almost empty).


Thank you in advance for any clarification!

emanuelef