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PostgreSQL Reference Manual - Volume 1 - SQL Language Reference
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 716 pages
ISBN 0954612027
RRP £32.00 ($49.95)

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7.17.5 Row-wise Comparison

row_constructor operator row_constructor

Each side is a row constructor, as described in section 2.2.11 Row Constructors. The two row values must have the same number of fields. Each side is evaluated and they are compared row-wise. Row comparisons are allowed when the operator is =, <>, <, <=, > or >=, or has semantics similar to one of these. (To be specific, an operator can be a row comparison operator if it is a member of a B-Tree operator class, or is the negator of the = member of a B-Tree operator class.)

The = and <> cases work slightly differently from the others. Two rows are considered equal if all their corresponding members are non-null and equal; the rows are unequal if any corresponding members are non-null and unequal; otherwise the result of the row comparison is unknown (null).

For the <, <=, > and >= cases, the row elements are compared left-to-right, stopping as soon as an unequal or null pair of elements is found. If either of this pair of elements is null, the result of the row comparison is unknown (null); otherwise comparison of this pair of elements determines the result. For example, ROW(1,2,NULL) < ROW(1,3,0) yields true, not null, because the third pair of elements are not considered.

Note: Prior to PostgreSQL 8.2, the <, <=, > and >= cases were not handled per SQL specification. A comparison like ROW(a,b) < ROW(c,d) was implemented as a < c AND b < d whereas the correct behavior is equivalent to a < c OR (a = c AND b < d).

row_constructor IS DISTINCT FROM row_constructor

This construct is similar to a <> row comparison, but it does not yield null for null inputs. Instead, any null value is considered unequal to (distinct from) any non-null value, and any two nulls are considered equal (not distinct). Thus the result will always be either true or false, never null.

row_constructor IS NOT DISTINCT FROM row_constructor

This construct is similar to a = row comparison, but it does not yield null for null inputs. Instead, any null value is considered unequal to (distinct from) any non-null value, and any two nulls are considered equal (not distinct). Thus the result will always be either true or false, never null.

ISBN 0954612027PostgreSQL Reference Manual - Volume 1 - SQL Language ReferenceSee the print edition