Write (Even) Less with More – VALIDATE_CONVERSION

I wrote the post Write Less with More – Part 8 – PL/SQL in the WITH Clause in November 2015, when the latest released Oracle version was 12.1.
In that post I explained about PL/SQL in the WITH Clause – a new 12.1 feature – and demonstrated it using the following example:

todo8

Since then Oracle 12.2 was released, and introduced a new feature that enables solving this task in a simpler way – the VALIDATE_CONVERSION function. This function gets an expression and a data type, and returns 1 if the expression can be converted to the data type and 0 if not.
Using the same setup from the original post, the requested query becomes as simple as:

> select *
  from   people
  where  general_info is not null
  and    validate_conversion(general_info as date, 'dd/mm/yyyy') = 1;

PERSON_ID FIRST_NAME LAST_NAME       GENERAL_INFO
---------- ---------- --------------- --------------------
       102 Paul       McCartney       18/6/1942
       202 Ella       Fitzgerald      15/6/1996
       203 Etta       James           20/1/2012

In addition to introducing the new VALIDATE_CONVERSION function, the older CAST and some of the TO_* conversion functions have been enhanced in Oracle 12.2 and include a DEFAULT ON CONVERSION ERROR clause, so when data type conversion fails we can get some default value instead of an error.

> select p.person_id,
         p.first_name,
         p.last_name,
         to_date(p.general_info default null on conversion error, 'dd/mm/yyyy') my_date
  from   people p;

 PERSON_ID FIRST_NAME LAST_NAME       MY_DATE
---------- ---------- --------------- ----------
       101 John       Lennon
       102 Paul       McCartney       18/06/1942
       103 Ringo      Starr
       104 George     Harisson
       201 Louis      Armstrong
       202 Ella       Fitzgerald      15/06/1996
       203 Etta       James           20/01/2012
       317 Julie      Andrews

8 rows selected.

One Comment

  1. Foued

    Thanks for the hint.

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