Need Split delimiter string into columns Solution

  • Hi All,

    I need help with a string with delimiter that needs to be split into column names. I have been looking for this solution for a while. Specifically what I want to do is noted below...

    Currently:

    I have a table with a string with delimiter column, and I need to split this string into columns as shown below: Note that the cat and subcat can vary in length...

    '/cat/subcat1/subcat2/subcat3/subcat4/subcat5'

    What I need is a t-sql that pivots this list into new columns as shown below:

    cat     subcat1   subcat2   subcat3   subcat4   subcat5

    ------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------

    School  Math      Science   History    Arts         PE

    Also I need a way to insert these new columns into the existing table that has the original string with delimiter...

    Thanks!!

  • I just did something similar the other day with Progress arrays, which are returned to SQL Server as a single semicolon-delimited column, and I needed to split out one such array into several columns.

    This is the function I wrote... you would need to replace the semicolon ( with your own delimiter (a slash?).

    CREATE FUNCTION dbo.FromProgressArray (@array VARCHAR(4000), @index INT)

    RETURNS VARCHAR(4000)

    AS

    BEGIN

    IF @index = 0

    RETURN( LEFT(@array, CHARINDEX(';', @array) - 1) )

    DECLARE @counter INT

    SELECT @counter = 0

    WHILE @counter < @index

    BEGIN

    IF (CHARINDEX(';', @array) 0)

    SELECT @array = SUBSTRING(@array, CHARINDEX(';', @array) + 1, LEN(@array))

    ELSE

    SELECT @array = ''

    SELECT @counter = @counter + 1

    END

    IF CHARINDEX(';', @array) != 0

    SELECT @array = LEFT(@array, CHARINDEX(';', @array) - 1)

    RETURN( @array )

    END

    GO

    Then you can do this:

    INSERT INTO table (cat, subcat1, subcat2, subcat3, subcat4, subcat5)

    SELECT dbo.FromProgressArray(sourcecol, 0), dbo.FromProgressArray(sourcecol, 1), dbo.FromProgressArray(sourcecol, 2), dbo.FromProgressArray(sourcecol, 3), dbo.FromProgressArray(sourcecol, 4), dbo.FromProgressArray(sourcecol, 5)

    FROM source_table

    HTH.

  • Hi Paul,

       This works Great!!!! Thanks so much, I have been splitting my hair for this solution...again Thank you!!!

    Best Regards,

    SM

  • Hi Paul / SM,

    Thanks for this as well, just what I needed.

    Regds,

    EP



    Ed Phillips

  • Thank you very much for this. I wouldn't normally use a while loop in a function, but looking at the replace/substring code I've written in the past to get, say, the 5th element in a delimited string I'm more than happy to use it here!

    My only amendment was to add the delimiter as a parameter, to make it more extensible.

  • nick.wright 69367 (12/4/2012)


    Thank you very much for this. I wouldn't normally use a while loop in a function, but looking at the replace/substring code I've written in the past to get, say, the 5th element in a delimited string I'm more than happy to use it here!

    My only amendment was to add the delimiter as a parameter, to make it more extensible.

    Nick,

    Unfortunately you found a very old thread with a VERY out of date methodology for splitting delimited strings. Please take a look at the link in my signature for MUCH improved way to split strings in sql.

    _______________________________________________________________

    Need help? Help us help you.

    Read the article at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/ for best practices on asking questions.

    Need to split a string? Try Jeff Modens splitter http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Tally+Table/72993/.

    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 1 – Converting Rows to Columns - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/T-SQL/63681/
    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 2 - Dynamic Cross Tabs - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Crosstab/65048/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 1) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69953/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 2) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69954/

  • That's great, Sean. Unfortunately, being an "agile" kind of developer, the ink on my code is still wet as it goes into a live environment ;-). The new improved code will have to wait until the next iteration. Fortunately, its in a batch job that runs overnight and performance isn't (yet) an issue. However, I'll read your article and try to learn from it!

    Thanks, Again

    Nick Wright

  • nick.wright 69367 (12/4/2012)


    That's great, Sean. Unfortunately, being an "agile" kind of developer, the ink on my code is still wet as it goes into a live environment ;-). The new improved code will have to wait until the next iteration. Fortunately, its in a batch job that runs overnight and performance isn't (yet) an issue. However, I'll read your article and try to learn from it!

    Thanks, Again

    Nick Wright

    I hear ya there. Can't always change at the last minute. 🙂 It isn't my article but one written by Jeff Moden. That article has the ability to completely change the way you think about data. It will present you initially with the concept of a tally table which is probably the most useful technique in a sql developers tool box. Once you fully understand the tally table, the string splitter portion makes total sense.

    _______________________________________________________________

    Need help? Help us help you.

    Read the article at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/ for best practices on asking questions.

    Need to split a string? Try Jeff Modens splitter http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Tally+Table/72993/.

    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 1 – Converting Rows to Columns - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/T-SQL/63681/
    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 2 - Dynamic Cross Tabs - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Crosstab/65048/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 1) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69953/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 2) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69954/

  • Thanks for this function, Paul! 🙂

  • Thanks a lot for writing this wonderful SQL Code. it gave me relax that i could not get 2 days.

    i used this code in BULK Insert from .txt file data.with delim (|) .

    thanks again

    Gaurav Upadhyay

    India

  • gauravupadhyay2009 (4/26/2013)


    Thanks a lot for writing this wonderful SQL Code. it gave me relax that i could not get 2 days.

    i used this code in BULK Insert from .txt file data.with delim (|) .

    thanks again

    Gaurav Upadhyay

    India

    Why would you need to use any of the code on this thread if you used BULK INSERT? And if the code is the WHILE loop code, you may have built in a bit of a performance problem into your code.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Thanks for the code paul. It helped me a lot.

  • syamkakarla (7/20/2013)


    Thanks for the code paul. It helped me a lot.

    Take a look at the Green and Blue lines in the following chart and compare them to the skinny black line. The Green and Blue lines are two different methods using WHILE loops. Don't use WHILE loops to do splits. Please see the following article for a much better method of splitting VARCHAR(8000) or less.

    http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Tally+Table/72993/

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Hi Guys ,

    I have column with Values like 1111\123132\34342323\1212. I used the above code to split it . But this doesn't work. The code returns blank. Can you please look into this and provide some help if possible ?

  • satishrao wrote:

    Hi Guys ,

    I have column with Values like 1111\123132\34342323\1212. I used the above code to split it . But this doesn't work. The code returns blank. Can you please look into this and provide some help if possible ?

    Do you have SQL Server 2012 or above or do you have something less than SQL Server 2012?

     

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

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