SQLPLUS SUBSTR

how do I get the first name out of a string like this with sql plus in oracle.
DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX
JOHN would be the first name.
fuseboxAsked:
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gattu007Commented:
I dont think using substar you can know all the first names... coz substar will not know the number of characters....

you can first count the number of characters... either programetically

The "substring" functions return a portion of string, beginning at character position, substring_length characters long. SUBSTR calculates lengths using characters as defined by the input character set. SUBSTRB uses bytes instead of characters. SUBSTRC uses Unicode complete characters. SUBSTR2 uses UCS2 codepoints. SUBSTR4 uses UCS4 codepoints.

The following example returns several specified substrings of "ABCDEFG":

SELECT SUBSTR('ABCDEFG',3,4) "Substring"
     FROM DUAL;
 
Substring
---------
CDEF

SELECT SUBSTR('ABCDEFG',-5,4) "Substring"
     FROM DUAL;

Substring
---------
CDEF


http://download-east.oracle.com/docs/cd/B10501_01/server.920/a96540/functions119a.htm#1004186
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fuseboxAuthor Commented:
I was thinking that it should be something like substr(column,instr(column but not sure of the exact sequence.
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jwahlCommented:
yes, it works with SUBSTR and INSTR combinations, but it's hard to read:

1)
INSTR('DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX', ', ') +2 ... beginning of code to extract:

SQL> SELECT SUBSTR('DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX', INSTR('DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX', ', ') + 2) FROM dual;

JOHN-XXXX

2)
INSTR('DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX', '-', -1) ... absolute position of ending code to extract:

SQL> SELECT INSTR('DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX', '-', -1) FROM dual;

14

3)
length of the string:

SQL>  SELECT LENGTH('DOE-DOE,JOHN-XXXX') FROM dual;

17

4)
finally the complete set:

SQL>
SELECT SUBSTR('DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX',
       INSTR('DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX', ', ') + 2,
       LENGTH('DOE-DOE, JOHN-XXXX') - INSTR('DOE-DOE,JOHN-XXXX','-',-1) - 1
       )
FROM dual;

JOHN

but i'd recommend to write a stored procedure or function ...





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awking00Information Technology SpecialistCommented:
As stated herein, the solution is going to be some combination of substr and instr depending on the structure of the data. If the first name ALWAYS starts after the ", " (comma, space) and ALWAYS before the last "-" (hyphen), then jwahl's proposed solution will work fine. If the possibility exists that the data can have a different structure (e.g. there is no hyphen after the first name), then more diagnostics will be required to cover all of the possibilities. If you know of all the possible data formats, post them here and we'll try and work out a suitable query.
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Naveen KumarProduction Manager / Application Support ManagerCommented:
Writing a stored procedure is the best way to implement these type of logics because they give you the flexibility to debug and even for code changes.

We can do anything with a sql query but that cannot be used for reengineering later. I mean later on if someone has to work on that sql, it will be difficult for understanding/complex will be more because we might have tried to each include possibility of data and so there is a very good chance of the sql statement growing bigger and bigger everyday to accomodate logic for new cases discovered over a period of time.

Thanks
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