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Operators

Operators are represented by special characters or keywords, they do not use function call syntax.

Operator Precedence

The following table lists all SQL operators from highest to lowest precedence, alongside with their associativity. The precedence and associativity of the operators is hard-coded into the parser. Add parentheses if you want an expression with multiple operators to be interpreted in some other way than what the precedence rules imply.

Operator Description Associativity
. Table/column name separator left
:: Type cast left
[] Array element left
+ - Unary plus and minus right
AT AT TIME ZONE left
^ exponentiation left
* / % multiplication, division, modulo left
+ / addition, subtraction left
\|\| concatenation left
BETWEEN range containment  
LIKE ILIKE string matching  
< > = <= >= <> comparison  
IS IS NULL, IS DISTINCT FROM, IS TRUE  
NOT logical negation right
AND logical conjunction left
OR logical disjunction left

:: Type cast

Use can use the :: operator instead of the CAST function to convert one data type to another.

Syntax

 -- CAST function
 CAST(<value> AS <type>)
 -- :: operator
 <value>::<type>
Component Description
<value> The value to convert or an expression that results in a value to convert. Can be a column name, a function applied to a column or another function, or a literal value.
<type> The target data type (case-insensitive).

Example

SELECT '2021-12-31'::DATE;
SELECT 8.5::REAL;
SELECT col_a::BIGINT;

Arithmetic (numbers)

Operator Operator description Input Data Types Output Data Types Example Result
+ addition INTEGER, BIGINT, NUMERIC, REAL, DOUBLE PRECISION Corresponding type SELECT 2 + 3; 5
- subtraction INTEGER, BIGINT, NUMERIC, REAL, DOUBLE PRECISION Corresponding type SELECT 2 - 3; -1
* multiplication INTEGER, BIGINT, NUMERIC, REAL, DOUBLE PRECISION Corresponding type SELECT 2 * 3; 6
/ division (integer division truncates the result) INTEGER, BIGINT, NUMERIC, REAL, DOUBLE PRECISION Corresponding type SELECT 4 / 2; 2
% modulo (remainder) INTEGER, BIGINT, NUMERIC, REAL, DOUBLE PRECISION Corresponding type SELECT 5 % 4; 1
^ exponentiation INTEGER, BIGINT, NUMERIC, REAL, DOUBLE PRECISION DOUBLE PRECISION SELECT 2 ^ 3.0; 8

In arithmetic operations like +, -, *, and / , the result’s data type aligns with the most encompassing type of the operands indicated as “ Corresponding type” in the table above. For clarity:

  • When both operands are of the same data type (e.g., two INTEGERs or two NUMERICs), the result will also be of that same data type.
    • INTEGER <op> INTEGER = INTEGER
    • INTEGER <op> BIGINT = BIGINT
  • For operations involving two different numeric data types, the result will typically be of the more precise or larger data type.
    • INTEGER <op> REAL = DOUBLE PRECISION
  • Overflow checks and floating point errors are applied according to the result data type only.

Floating point note:

Precision means that the representation of a number is accurate up to a certain number of digits. In Firebolt, REAL data types have 6-digit precision and DOUBLE PRECISION have 16-digit precision. This means that calculations have a precision of 6 or 16 respectively, and numbers are truncated to that precision. For example, if a number is stored as 1.234567, it is automatically truncated to 1.23456 for REAL.

When performing arithmetic, the number of leading digits in the output is the product of the leading digits in both inputs. This means that if either or both of the input numbers are larger than 6, those numbers are the first truncated, and then the arithmetic is performed.

Logical

Logical operators return the result of a boolean operation using three valued logic

Operator Example Explanation
AND x AND y True if both x and y are true
NOT NOT x True if x is false
OR x OR y True if either x or y is true

Comparison

Operator Syntax Explanation
= a=b a is equal to b.
!= a!=b a is not equal to b.
<> a<>b a is not equal to b.
<= a<=b a is less than or equal to b.
> a>b a is greater than b.
>= a>=b a is greater than or equal to b.
< a<b a is less than b.
BETWEEN a BETWEEN b AND c equivalent to b <= a <= c
IS NULL a IS NULL a contains a NULL value
IS NOT NULL a IS NOT NULL a doesn’t contain a NULL value
IS NOT DISTINCT FROM a IS NOT DISTINCT FROM b equivalent to a=b where NULL is considered equal to NULL.
IS DISTINCT FROM a IS DISTINCT FROM b equivalent to a!=b where NULL is considered equal to NULL.

Example of using comparison operator in WHERE clause

SELECT
  *
FROM
  Table
WHERE
  Price >= 100;

CASE

Conditional expression similar to if-then-else statements. If the result of the condition is true, then the value of the CASE expression is the result that follows the condition. If the result is false, any subsequent WHEN clauses (conditions) are searched in the same manner. If no WHEN condition is true, then the value of the case expression is the result specified in the ELSE clause. If the ELSE clause is omitted and no condition matches, the result is NULL.

Syntax

CASE
    WHEN <condition> THEN <result>
    [ WHEN ...n ]
    [ ELSE <result> ]
END;

Parameters

Parameter Description Supported input types
<condition> A condition can be defined for each WHEN, and ELSE clause. BOOLEAN
<result> The result of any condition. Every THEN clause receives a single result. All results in a single CASE function must share the same data type. Any

Return type

Same data type as <result>

Example

This example references a table player_level with the following columns and values:

player currentlevel
kennethpark 3
esimpson 8
sabrina21 11
rileyjon 15
burchdenise 4

The following example categorizes each entry by length. If the movie is longer than zero minutes and less than 50 minutes it is categorized as SHORT. When the length is 50-120 minutes, it’s categorized as Medium, and when even longer, it’s categorized as Long.

SELECT
	player,
	currentlevel,
	CASE
		WHEN length > 0
		AND length <= 5 THEN 'Beginner'
		WHEN length > 5
		AND length <= 12 THEN 'Intermediate'
		WHEN length > 12 THEN 'Expert'
	END ranking
FROM
	player_level
ORDER BY
	player;

Returns:

player currentlevel ranking
kennethpark 3 Beginner
esimpson 8 Intermediate
sabrina21 11 Intermediate
rileyjon 15 Expert
burchdenise 4 Beginner

Date and time arithmetic

Use the INTERVAL operator to add to or subtract from a period of time in DATE, TIME, or TIMESTAMP data types.

Syntax

{ +|- } INTERVAL '<quantity> [ <date_unit> ] [ ...]'
Component Description
<quantity> An integer. Multiple <quantities> and <date_units> can be used in the same INTERVAL command if they are separated by spaces.
<date_unit> A date measurement including any of the following: millennium, century, decade, year, month, week, day, hour, minute, second, millisecond, microsecond or their plural forms. If unspecified, <date_unit> defaults to second.

Example

<date_column> + INTERVAL '1 year 2 months 3 days'
<date_column> - INTERVAL '2 weeks'
<date_column> - INTERVAL '1 year 3 hours 20 minutes'

String

To concatenate strings, you can use the CONCAT function.

SELECT concat('This', ' is', ' a', ' parenthetical', 'concantenation.') AS concatenated_String

Alternatively, you can use the double pipe || operator.

SELECT 'This' || ' is' || ' a' || ' double pipe' || ' concantenation.' AS concatenated_String

Subquery operators

Subqueries are queries nested within another query. They allow complex data retrieval by enabling a query to filter results based on the outcome of another query. Subquery operators are crucial in constructing these nested queries, especially within the WHERE clause, to filter data based on specific conditions.

Operator Explanation
EXISTS The EXISTS operator is used to check for the existence of any record in a subquery. It returns TRUE if the subquery returns one or more records. The subquery within EXISTS is executed repeatedly, once for each row that might be selected by the outer query. If the subquery returns any row, the EXISTS condition is met, and the outer query processing continues for that row.
NOT EXISTS It is opposite of EXISTS and is used to find records in one table that have no related records in another table. If the subquery returns no rows, NOT EXISTS returns TRUE.
IN The IN operator checks if a specific value is present in a list of values or the results of a subquery. Commonly utilized in a WHERE clause, it compares a column’s value against a predefined set. When the column’s value matches any value in this set, IN yields TRUE.
NOT IN Retrieve all entries from the value list that don’t match the required value.

Example–using EXISTS to find all suppliers with products equal to the price of 22

SELECT supplier_name
FROM suppliers
WHERE EXISTS (
  SELECT
    product_name
  FROM
    products
  WHERE
    products.supplier_id = suppliers.supplier_id
  AND
    price = 22);

Example–using the IN operator to return all customers from Mannheim or London

SELECT
  customer_name
FROM
  customers
WHERE
  customer_address IN ('Mannheim','London');

Example–using a correlated subquery to retrieve all the products that cost more than the avgerage price

SELECT
  product_id,
  product_name,
  list_price
FROM
  products p
WHERE
  list_price > (
    SELECT
      AVG( list_price )
    FROM
      products
    WHERE
      category_id = p.category_id);

Example–using a scalar boolean subquery to retrieve rows based on true/false condition

SELECT
  *
FROM
  products
WHERE (
  SELECT CASE WHEN
    MIN(list_price) > 100
  THEN
    true
  ELSE
    false
  END
  FROM
    products);