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split string sql

I am using sql 2008

select debtorname from mytable

this returns Doe, John a

How can I split it to

debtorfirstname  debtorlastname
'John a '        'Doe'
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VBdotnet2005
Asked:
VBdotnet2005
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1 Solution
 
Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorCommented:
Assuming every column has a single comma...
Declare @str varchar(100) = 'Doe, John a'

SELECT LEFT(@str, CHARINDEX (',', @str, 1)  - 1) as last_name, 
	RIGHT(@str, LEN(@str) - CHARINDEX (',', @str, 1) - 1 ) as first_name

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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorCommented:
Thanks for the grade.  Good luck with your project.  -Jim
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VBdotnet2005Author Commented:
sorry, I hope it not too late.

What would happen if @str is blank or @str does not contain "."?  How should I handle it?  I am passing it from my aspx page.
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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorCommented:
That really depends on what you think the values will be if there are no commas:  all first name, all last name, should reject for manual intervention..

If it's a single row it should be easy enough for your front-end to validate it.

If it's for a set, then there should be a WHERE CHARINDEX (',', @str, 1) <> 0 to validate that there was a comma in the first place.
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PortletPaulCommented:
>>sorry, I hope it not too late.
well, I am, but below is an approach I would take.

note this trick, if searching for a particular string using charindex, add that string to the field value
CHARINDEX (','          , debtorname + ','           , 1)

this helps avoid getting negative numbers in subsequent functions such as

LEFT(debtorname, CHARINDEX (',', debtorname, 1)  - 1)

I also like to use CROSS APPLY for these calculations as the result of a cross apply is conveniently reusable by name in other calculations reducing effort and improving readability of code (IMHO)

    CREATE TABLE MyTable
    	([debtorname] varchar(80))
    ;
    	
    INSERT INTO MyTable
    	([debtorname])
    VALUES
    	('Flintstone, Fred'), 
    	('PortletPaul'),
    	('Doe, John a')
    ;

**Query 1**:

    SELECT
            last_name
          , first_name
          , debtorname
    FROM MyTable
    cross apply (select CHARINDEX (',', debtorname + ',', 1), len(debtorname) ) as ca1 (pos1, len1)
    cross apply (select
                        LEFT(debtorname, pos1  - 1)
                      , case when pos1 > len1 then null 
                             else RIGHT(debtorname, len1 - (pos1 + 1))
                        end 
                 ) as ca2 (last_name, first_name)
    
    	
    	
    

**[Results][2]**:
    
    |   LAST_NAME | FIRST_NAME |       DEBTORNAME |
    |-------------|------------|------------------|
    |  Flintstone |       Fred | Flintstone, Fred |
    | PortletPaul |     (null) |      PortletPaul |
    |         Doe |     John a |      Doe, John a |



  [1]: http://sqlfiddle.com/#!3/1bff5/2

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