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RE: Query started getting 1722 error - interesting explanation why

From: Goulet, Dick <>
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 14:22:57 -0400
Message-ID: <>


    Did that varchar2 have numbers only in it before it stopped working and then picked up one with an alpha character? I've seen that one more than I care to remember.

[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 2:16 PM To:
Subject: Query started getting 1722 error - interesting explanation why

I got a call from a developer the other week complaining that a query in QA had started giving an ora-1722. It had worked fine for several months and the identical query was working fine in production.  

Select count(1)

from prod.job_profile jp

where step_id < 9999

and not exists (select 'x' from prod.job_log jl

                where jl.job_id = jp.job_id

                and ( jl.status in ('C', 'EI') )

                and  jl.batch_id in (select to_number(text_value)

                                     from prod.batch_parameter

                                     where name = 'BATCH_ID'));


Investigating confirmed this, along with the fact that the query was comparing a string (jl.batch_id) with a number (to_number(text_value)). But why did it suddenly stop working and why did it still work in production?  

Comparing explain plans between QA and production I saw that they were different (statistics had changed during QA testing). The query that failed was using an index on jl.batch_id.  

Apparently Oracle automatically took care of converting the string to a number *unless* the number was being used to access an index on the varchar2 column. Interesting behavior. I can see why it might work that way but it's certainly not intuitive.  

Of course explaining this to the developer took quite a while. "It worked before, why shouldn't it work now? What's wrong with Oracle?"  


Jay Miller

Sr. Oracle DBA  


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Received on Fri Sep 09 2005 - 13:26:34 CDT

Original text of this message