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Reference: Tools-Comparators

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RidgeStar search functions normally contain what is called a Criteria Area, where the Visitor can specify values that will restrict the resulting records to a desired subset. The Criteria Area may be made up of a series of pulldowns, checkboxes, radio buttons, and/or open text boxes (where you simply type a desired value).

Many of the "text boxes" are what we identify as Comparator fields. They're called Comparator fields because you are permitted to enter an optional, standard arithmetic Comparator or operator (=, <, >, >=, <=, and <>) to represent a comparison against the underlying data element.

You'll gradually gain an understanding of which data fields accept the Comparator format. As a reminder and aid, when you move your mouse over the input box associated with a Comparator field, the popup will use the phrase "Comparator" in it.


When the system receives a Comparator value in a criteria input form, the input data value (text you type) is:

  1. Searched for one of the Comparator character sequences. If not present, the Equal (=) comparator is assumed as the "operator" for comparision.
  2. The underlying SQL created for searching the database (etc.) is then built utilizing the specified operator and value.

Why use a Comparator?

Comparator specifications are quite handy when trying to:

  • Obtain a list of People over or under a specific Age (e.g. ">18", "<=21")
  • Extract a list of activities occuring before or after a specific Date (e.g. "<07/20/2024", ">=Jan 1")
  • ... use your imagination

Ultimately, Fragments and Comparators are little more than shortcuts or abbreviations to permit you to specify a desired subset in a relatively flexible fashion. When used in conjunction with other selection Criteria, it provides an important technique to get the most out of your Search Criteria.

Date (or Date+Time) Comparator?

For input data elements marked as a Date or Date+Time Comparator, you have additional operators and keyword functions that can be utilized to aid in specifying the precise elements you would like retrieved for processing. Remember, Dates and/or Times can be specified using a wide variety of formats and keywords, as show at Reference: Tools-Dates and Times.

Perhaps a few examples will help. If you enter...

07/20/2024 or 7/20 or 2024-07-20 or today
The system thinks you are seeking entries that contain today's date in them
-1 week
You are interested in entries from exactly 1 week prior to today
You are interested in entries that happened after January 1st of the current year
You are interested in entries that happened on or before June 15 of the current year
Year(last year)
You are interested in entries that occurred during the last Year
>=Month(-10 weeks)
You are interested in entries that occurred during or after the same Month as whatever date was 10 weeks ago

The currently supported functions within the Date(+Time) comparator fields are: Year, Month, Day, Hour, Quarter, Week, WeekDay, YearWeek. Detailed information about how these work in concert with the database behind the sites can be location at MariaDB's Date and Time Functions->.