The Standard Template Adaptive Parallel Library (STAPL) is a C++ parallel programming library that provides a collection of distributed data structures (pContainers) and parallel algorithms (pAlgorithms) and a generic methodology for extending them to provide customized functionality. STAPL algorithms are written in terms of pViews, which provide a generic access interface to pContainer data by abstracting common data structure concepts. Briefly, pViews allow the same pContainer to present multiple interfaces, e.g., enabling the same pMatrix to be 'viewed' (or used) as a row-major or column-major matrix, or even as a vector. In this paper, we describe the stapl pView concept and its properties. pViews generalize the iterator concept and enable parallelism by providing random access to, and an ADT for, collections of elements. We illustrate how pViews provide support for managing the tradeoff between expressivity and performance and examine the performance overhead incurred when using pViews. © 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.