Re: Regular expressions: splitting with REGEXP_SUBSTR and "null"

From: Doug Miller <>
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 18:11:36 GMT
Message-ID: <tVXxj.5341$>

In article <>, Mark D Powell <> wrote:
>On Feb 28, 11:02=A0am, citte <> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I have a problem, I found on internet a way to split strings separated
>> by pipe | (for example) with regexp, something like that:
>> SELECT REGEXP_SUBSTR('One|Two|Three|Four','[^|]+', 1, 3)
>> FROM dual;
>> which gives the result:
>> Three
>> the problem comes when I have one of the words separated by the pipe
>> is actually a Null, so the string becomes
>> 'One|Two||Four|'
>> the query
>> SELECT REGEXP_SUBSTR('One|Two||Four','[^|]+', 1, 3)
>> FROM dual;
>> result in:
>> Four
>> I needed a Null (or empty string).
>> How is this possible?
>> Thank you in advance!
>Will this help?
>SQL> l
> 1 select regexp_substr(replace('one|two||four','||','|NULL|'),
> 2* '[^|]+',1,3) from dual
>SQL> /
Doesn't work in a more general case, e.g. attempting to select the fourth string from 'one|two|||five' -- the desired result is NULL, but this method returns 'five'. Conversely, trying to retrieve the fifth string should return 'five' but instead returns NULL.
>Also to return an actual NULL value
>SQL> select regexp_substr(replace('one|two||four','||',''),
> 2 '[^|]+',1,3) from dual;

Also doesn't work for more general cases: - specifying the second substring should return 'two' but instead returns 'twofour'
- specifying the fourth substring should return 'four' but instead returns a null string
- specifying the third substring in 'one|two||four|five' should return a null string, but instead returns 'five'

In general, when seeking the i-th substring, if the omitted substring is in the n-th position, this method is guaranteed to produce correct results only when 0 < i < (n - 1), or when i = n AND there are at most n non-null substrings. If there are multiple omitted substrings, correct results may also be obtained for other values of i, but only by coincidence. Received on Fri Feb 29 2008 - 12:11:36 CST

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