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From "Daniel Barclay (Drill) (JIRA)" <j...@apache.org>
Subject [jira] [Created] (DRILL-2807) Revisit SQL array indexing _before GA/1.0_ (non-std. zero-based vs. std. one-based)
Date Thu, 16 Apr 2015 21:45:58 GMT
Daniel Barclay (Drill) created DRILL-2807:

             Summary: Revisit SQL array indexing _before GA/1.0_ (non-std. zero-based vs.
std. one-based)
                 Key: DRILL-2807
                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/DRILL-2807
             Project: Apache Drill
          Issue Type: Bug
            Reporter: Daniel Barclay (Drill)

Currently, Drill's SQL uses zero-based indexing for arrays.  ({{A[0]}} gets the first element
of the array value of {{A}}.)

This is not compatible with standard SQL, which uses one-based indexing for arrays.  ({{A[1]}}
gets the first element of the array value of {{A}}.)


Most probably, Drill should use standard one-base indexing.

More definitely, this should be revisited before 1.0/GA, because it will be much harder to
change the index origin later.

(Even though it could be made changeable later, that would still be confusing--the meaning
of an indexed array expression wouldn't be clear without knowledge of the current setting.)


Some arguments directly for using standard SQL one-based array indexing are:

1. The SQL standard specifies that array indexing is one-based, so Drill should use one-based
indexing.  \\
   [cont.1] This is true especially because Drill is intended to be compatible with standard
SQL rather than having its own dialect of SQL (other than where necessary because of the essentially
different nature of Drill).

2. Since standard SQL's array indexing is one-based, users familiar with arrays will expect
one-based indexing. Drill shouldn't surprise users, or make them have to remember another
difference between Drill and standard SQL.

3. Even users unfamiliar with SQL arrays will expect their indexing to be  one-based since
the rest of standard SQL also uses one-based indexing:

. - Column numbers are one-based:

. . - in "ORDER BY 1"


. - Character and binary string positions are one-based

. . - in definition of SUBSTRING

. . - in "If <start position> is not specified, then 1 (one) is implicit."


The reason that Drill's SQL array indexing currently is zero-based is that previously it was
thought that it would be good to be  consistent with indexing in JavaScript, which is expected
to be used by a significant number of Drill users to process JSON output from or input to

However, besides the direct arguments above, there are additional arguments for not making
Drill's SQL non-standard in order to try to be consistent with JavaScript:

1. SQL simply isn't JavaScript, just as it isn't Java, C, C++, or any other zero-based language
that can be used to process data read into or written from Drill.

[cont.1]   (One could argue that SQL _should_ have been designed to be zero-based in the first
place, but it wasn't, and so now it simply isn't.)

2. Drill's SQL doesn't forgo compatibility with the SQL standard to make other things zero-based
in order to try to be consistent with JavaScript:

. . - It doesn't make string index zero- based (in SUBSTRING, etc.).

. . - It doesn't make column indexes zero-based (e.g., changing standard "ORDER BY 1" to non-standard
"ORDER BY 0").

3. If Drill were defining a JavaScript API for accessing SQL-related data from JavaScript
(as JDBC provides access from Java), then the index origin used in method parameters in that
API could be zero-based:

. - It could be chosen to be zero-based to be consistent with JavaScript rather than being
consistent with SQL.

. - It could be chosen to be one-based to be consistent with SQL rather than being consistent
with JavaScript.  However, note that it could still take and return JavaScript objects, which
would still use JavaScript's zero-based indexing--just as JDBC uses SQL-consistent one-based
indexing in its  methods, but also returns Java objects which of course are indexed in Java's
zero-based way.

. - (More JDBC/Java details:

. . - is one-based in SQL part (JDBC Java objects representing SQL concepts):

. . . - column numbers (e.g., resultSet.getDate(1) for first column)

. . . - row numbers (e.g., resultSet.absolute(1) for first now) 

. . . - element numbers (e.g., array.getArray(1, 1) for first element, Array.getResultSet(...)'s
element numbers)

. . . - character/byte numbers in Clob/Blob (e.g., getSubString(1, ...) for first, position(...),
getBytes(1...) starts at first)

. . - is zero-based once back at pure-Java level (non-JDBC objects representing values):

. . . - resultSet.getString(...), then .charAt(0) on string

. . . - resultSet.getBytes(...), then [0] on byte array

. . . - resultSet.getArray(...), then .getArray(...), then [0] on array
. . - So, if you want to use Java's zero-based indexing, you retrieve data into generic Java
types and then do so.  Java's SQL API (JDBC) doesn't do everything zero-based even though
the host language is zero-based.
. .  )
.  However, making the JavaScript _API_'s indexing consistent with JavaScript still does not
imply having Drill use non-standard zero-based indexing in Drill's _SQL_.

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