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:
Why use a Comparator?
Comparator specifications are quite handy when trying to:
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...
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.