timestamp subtraction (was Re: formatting intervals with to_char)

From: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: gdavis(at)refractions(dot)net
Cc: pgsql-sql(at)postgresql(dot)org, pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: timestamp subtraction (was Re: formatting intervals with to_char)
Date: 2006-10-05 16:50:54
Message-ID: 21619.1160067054@sss.pgh.pa.us
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Graham Davis <gdavis(at)refractions(dot)net> writes:
> The documentation for to_char states that:

> "|to_char(interval)| formats HH and HH12 as hours in a single day, while
> HH24 can output hours exceeding a single day, e.g. >24."

> However I can not get it to work with time intervals that span more than
> 1 day.

Well, it does in fact print intervals exceeding 24 hours:

regression=# select to_char('48 hours'::interval, 'HH24:MI:SS');
(1 row)

However, '48 hours' and '2 days' are not the same thing. The problem
with the case you give is really that timestamp_mi applies justify_hours
to its result --- that is,

regression=# select ('2006-09-15 23:59:00'::timestamp - '2006-09-01 09:30:41'::timestamp);
14 days 14:28:19
(1 row)

should be reporting '350:28:19' instead.

This is a hack that was done to minimize the changes in the regression
test expected outputs when we changed type interval from months/seconds
to months/days/seconds. But I wonder whether it wasn't a dumb idea.
It is certainly inconsistent, as noted in the code comments.

I'm tempted to propose that we remove the justify_hours call, and tell
anyone who really wants the old results to apply justify_hours() to the
subtraction result for themselves. Not sure what the fallout would be,

regards, tom lane

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