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Problem Solutions

  




 

 

A.5.2. Problems Using DATE Columns

The format of a DATE value is 'YYYY-MM-DD'. According to standard SQL, no other format is allowed. You should use this format in UPDATE expressions and in the WHERE clause of SELECT statements. For example:

mysql> SELECT * FROM tbl_name WHERE date >= '2003-05-05';

As a convenience, MySQL automatically converts a date to a number if the date is used in a numeric context (and vice versa). It is also smart enough to allow a “relaxed” string form when updating and in a WHERE clause that compares a date to a TIMESTAMP, DATE, or DATETIME column. (“Relaxed form” means that any punctuation character may be used as the separator between parts. For example, '2004-08-15' and '2004#08#15' are equivalent.) MySQL can also convert a string containing no separators (such as '20040815'), provided it makes sense as a date.

When you compare a DATE, TIME, DATETIME, or TIMESTAMP to a constant string with the <, <=, =, >=, >, or BETWEEN operators, MySQL normally converts the string to an internal long integer for faster comparison (and also for a bit more “relaxed” string checking). However, this conversion is subject to the following exceptions:

  • When you compare two columns

  • When you compare a DATE, TIME, DATETIME, or TIMESTAMP column to an expression

  • When you use any other comparison method than those just listed, such as IN or STRCMP().

For these exceptional cases, the comparison is done by converting the objects to strings and performing a string comparison.

To keep things safe, assume that strings are compared as strings and use the appropriate string functions if you want to compare a temporal value to a string.

The special date '0000-00-00' can be stored and retrieved as '0000-00-00'. When using a '0000-00-00' date through MyODBC, it is automatically converted to NULL in MyODBC 2.50.12 and above, because ODBC can't handle this kind of date.

Because MySQL performs the conversions described above, the following statements work:

mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES (19970505);
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('19970505');
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('97-05-05');
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('1997.05.05');
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('1997 05 05');
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('0000-00-00');

mysql> SELECT idate FROM tbl_name WHERE idate >= '1997-05-05';
mysql> SELECT idate FROM tbl_name WHERE idate >= 19970505;
mysql> SELECT MOD(idate,100) FROM tbl_name WHERE idate >= 19970505;
mysql> SELECT idate FROM tbl_name WHERE idate >= '19970505';

However, the following does not work:

mysql> SELECT idate FROM tbl_name WHERE STRCMP(idate,'20030505')=0;

STRCMP() is a string function, so it converts idate to a string in 'YYYY-MM-DD' format and performs a string comparison. It does not convert '20030505' to the date '2003-05-05' and perform a date comparison.

If you are using the ALLOW_INVALID_DATES SQL mode, MySQL allows you to store dates that are given only limited checking: MySQL requires only that the day is in the range from 1 to 31 and the month is in the range from 1 to 12.

This makes MySQL very convenient for Web applications where you obtain year, month, and day in three different fields and you want to store exactly what the user inserted (without date validation).

If you are not using the NO_ZERO_IN_DATE SQL mode, the day or month part can be zero. This is convenient if you want to store a birthdate in a DATE column and you know only part of the date.

If you are not using the NO_ZERO_DATE SQL mode, MySQL also allows you to store '0000-00-00' as a “dummy date.” This is in some cases more convenient than using NULL values.

If the date cannot be converted to any reasonable value, a 0 is stored in the DATE column, which is retrieved as '0000-00-00'. This is both a speed and a convenience issue. We believe that the database server's responsibility is to retrieve the same date you stored (even if the data was not logically correct in all cases). We think it is up to the application and not the server to check the dates.

If you want MySQL to check all dates and accept only legal dates (unless overridden by IGNORE), you should set sql_mode to "NO_ZERO_IN_DATE,NO_ZERO_DATE".


 
 
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