Re: numeric_to_number() function skipping some digits

From: Jeevan Chalke <jeevan(dot)chalke(at)enterprisedb(dot)com>
To: Brendan Jurd <direvus(at)gmail(dot)com>
Cc: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>, pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: numeric_to_number() function skipping some digits
Date: 2009-09-22 04:57:19
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On Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 12:36 PM, Brendan Jurd <direvus(at)gmail(dot)com> wrote:

> 2009/9/21 Jeevan Chalke <jeevan(dot)chalke(at)enterprisedb(dot)com>:
> > Oracle returns "19-SEP-09" irrespective of the format.
> > Here in PG, we have getting the proper date irrespective of the format as
> > Oracle. But in the case to to_number the returned value is wrong. For
> > example following query returns '340' on PG where as it returns '3450' on
> > Oracle.
> >
> > select to_number('34,50','999,99') from dual;
> >
> Hi Jeevan,
> Thanks for checking up on the Oracle behaviour. It appears to
> silently disregard grouping characters in the format pattern, and also
> disregard them wherever they appear in the input string (or else it
> reads the string from right-to-left?).

It seems that Oracle reads formatting string from right-to-left. Here are
few results:
('number','format') ==> Oracle PG
('34,50','999,99') ==> 3450 340
('34,50','99,99') ==> 3450 3450
('34,50','99,999') ==> Invalid Number 3450
('34,50','999,999') ==> Invalid Number 340

> It seems that, to match Oracle, we'd need to teach the code that 'G'
> and ',' are no-ops for to_number(), and also that such characters
> should be ignored in the input.

That means we cannot simply ignore such characters from the input. Rather we
can process the string R-L. But yes this will definitely going to break the
current applications running today.

> To be honest, though, I'm not sure it's worth pursuing. If you want
> to feed in numbers that have decorative characters all through them,
> it's far more predictable to just regex out the cruft and use ordinary
> numeric parsing than to use to_number(), which is infamous for its
> idiosyncrasies:
> # SELECT regexp_replace('34,50', E'[\\d.]', '', 'g')::numeric;
> 3450

This (with E'[^\\d.]') ignores/replaces all the characters except digits
from the input which we certainly not wishing to do. Instead we can continue
with the current implementation. But IMHO, somewhere in the time-line we
need to fix this.

> Cheers,
> BJ

Jeevan B Chalke
EnterpriseDB Software India Private Limited, Pune
Visit us at:
If better is possible, then good is not enough

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