Sign InTry Free

Avoid Implicit Type Conversions

This document introduces the rules and possible consequences of implicit type conversions in TiDB and how to avoid implicit type conversions.

Conversion rules

When the data types on the two sides of the predicate in a SQL statement do not match, TiDB implicitly convert the data types on one or both sides to a compatible data type for predicate operations.

The rules for implicit type conversion in TiDB are as follows:

  • If one or both arguments are NULL, the result of the comparison is NULL. The NULL-safe <=> equivalent comparison operator does not require conversion, because NULL <=> NULL results in true.
  • If both arguments in the comparison operation are strings, they are compared as strings.
  • If both arguments are integers, they are compared as integers.
  • If no comparison is made with numbers, the hexadecimal value is treated as a binary string.
  • If one of the arguments is a decimal value, the comparison depends on the other argument. If the other argument is a decimal or integer value, the argument is compared with the decimal value. If the other argument is a floating-point value, the argument is compared with the floating-point value.
  • If one of the arguments is a TIMESTAMP or DATETIME column and the other argument is a constant, the constant is converted to a timestamp before the comparison is performed.
  • In all other cases, the arguments are compared as floating-point numbers (the DOUBLE type).

Consequences caused by implicit type conversion

Implicit type conversions increase the usability of human-computer interaction. However, avoid using implicit type conversions in application code, because they might lead to the following issues:

  • Index invalidity
  • Loss of precision

Index invalidity

In the following case, account_id is the primary key and its data type is varchar. In the execution plan, this SQL statement has an implicit type conversion and cannot use the index.

DESC SELECT * FROM `account` WHERE `account_id`=6010000000009801;
+-------------------------+----------------+-----------+---------------+------------------------------------------------------------+
| id                      | estRows        | task      | access object | operator info                                              |
+-------------------------+----------------+-----------+---------------+------------------------------------------------------------+
| TableReader_7           | 8000628000.00  | root      |               | data:Selection_6                                           |
| └─Selection_6           | 8000628000.00  | cop[tikv] |               | eq(cast(findpt.account.account_id), 6.010000000009801e+15) |
|   └─TableFullScan_5     | 10000785000.00 | cop[tikv] | table:account | keep order:false                                           |
+-------------------------+----------------+-----------+---------------+------------------------------------------------------------+
3 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Brief description of run results: From the above execution plan, the Cast operator is visible.

Loss of precision

In the following case, the data type of the a field is decimal(32,0). In the execution plan, an implicit type conversion occurs, and both the decimal field and the string constant are converted to the double type. Because the precision of the double type is not as high as decimal, there is a loss of precision. In this case, the SQL statement incorrectly filters the result set out of range.

DESC SELECT * FROM `t1` WHERE `a` BETWEEN '12123123' AND '1111222211111111200000';
+-------------------------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| id                      | estRows | task      | access object | operator info                                                                       |
+-------------------------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| TableReader_7           | 0.80    | root      |               | data:Selection_6                                                                    |
| └─Selection_6           | 0.80    | cop[tikv] |               | ge(cast(findpt.t1.a), 1.2123123e+07), le(cast(findpt.t1.a), 1.1112222111111112e+21) |
|   └─TableFullScan_5     | 1.00    | cop[tikv] | table:t1      | keep order:false, stats:pseudo                                                      |
+-------------------------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
3 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Brief description of run results: From the above execution plan, the Cast operator is visible.

SELECT * FROM `t1` WHERE `a` BETWEEN '12123123' AND '1111222211111111200000';
+------------------------+
| a                      |
+------------------------+
| 1111222211111111222211 |
+------------------------+
1 row in set (0.01 sec)

Brief description of run results: The above execution gives a wrong result.

Download PDFRequest docs changes
Was this page helpful?
Open Source Ecosystem
TiDB
TiKV
TiSpark
Chaos Mesh
© 2022 PingCAP. All Rights Reserved.