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Working with Functions and Value Expressions
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acts as though characters actually exist in those places. For example, suppose you modify the preceding SELECT statement as follows:
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SELECT SUBSTRING(COMPACT_DISC FROM -2 FOR 10) AS SHORT_NAME FROM SALES_DATES;
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If you execute this statement, only the first seven characters of each name would be returned. If you use a zero instead, only the first nine characters will be returned. It is only when you use a FROM parameter of 1 that you return exactly the number of characters (from the character string) that are specified by the FOR parameter. The SUBSTRING function is not limited to the SELECT clause. In fact, using it in a WHERE clause can be quite useful when defining a search condition. For example, the following SELECT statement uses the SUBSTRING function to return rows that start with Blue:
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SELECT COMPACT_DISC, DATE_SOLD FROM SALES_DATES WHERE SUBSTRING(COMPACT_DISC FROM 1 FOR 4) = 'Blue';
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In this statement, the SUBSTRING function returns the first four characters of the COMPACT_DISC values and compares them to the Blue value. Only two rows are included in the query results:
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COMPACT_DISC -----------------Blue Blues on the Bayou DATE_SOLD ----------------------2002-12-22 12:02:05.033 2002-12-24 14:15:09.673
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Both rows in the query results have a COMPACT_DISC value that starts with Blue. No other rows meet the search condition specified in the WHERE clause.
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The handling of datetime data varies considerably across SQL implementations, so the results from your DBMS may look quite different with respect to the DATE_SOLD column.
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Using the UPPER and LOWER String Value Functions
The UPPER and LOWER string value functions are quite similar in that they are both used to convert characters from one case to another. The UPPER function allows you to convert a character string to all uppercase. The LOWER function allows you to convert a string to all lowercase. For example, suppose you want to modify the SELECT statement shown in the last example to return all COMPACT_DISC values in uppercase. Your SELECT statement would now include an UPPER function:
SELECT UPPER(COMPACT_DISC) AS TITLE, DATE_SOLD FROM SALES_DATES WHERE SUBSTRING(COMPACT_DISC FROM 1 FOR 4) = 'Blue';
SQL: A Beginner s Guide
Your query results are the same as in the last example, only this time the CD titles are all in uppercase, as shown in the following results:
Title -----------------BLUE BLUES ON THE BAYOU DATE_SOLD ----------------------2002-12-22 12:02:05.033 2002-12-24 14:15:09.673
If you had used the LOWER function, instead of the UPPER, the CD titles would all be in lowercase, with no initial capitalization at the beginning of the words. These functions are also quite useful for comparing data in case-sensitive implementations when you don t know what case was used in storing the data, or when you want to be sure data appears in a particular case when you are inserting, updating, or when you are converting data from one database to another.
Working with Datetime Value Functions
Datetime value functions provide information about the current date and time. Each function returns a value based on the time or date (or both) as they are configured in the operating system. SQL:2006 supports five datetime value functions, which are described in Table 10-1.
NOTE
SQL implementations vary widely with regard to how they implement datetime functionality; consequently, the implementation of datetime functions also varies. For example, SQL Server supports only the CURRENT_TIMESTAMP datetime value function. On the other hand, Oracle supports the CURRENT_DATE, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP, and LOCALTIMESTAMP datetime value functions, but not the CURRENT_TIME and LOCALTIME functions. Yet MySQL supports all five of them. In addition, the exact values generated by these functions can also vary from implementation to implementation. For example, the query results will not always include information about the current time zone, and some might represent time using a 24-hour clock rather than A.M. and P.M.
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