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$LISTLENGTH

A list function that returns the number of elements in a specified list.

Synopsis

$LISTLENGTH(list)

Argument

Argument Description
list An expression that evaluates to a valid list. A list is an encoded character string containing one or more elements. You can create a list using the SQL or ObjectScript $LISTBUILD or $LISTFROMSTRING functions. You can extract a list from an existing list using the SQL or ObjectScript $LIST function.

Description

$LISTLENGTH returns the number of elements in list.

This function returns data of type SMALLINT.

Examples

The following Embedded SQL example returns 3, because there are 3 elements in the list:

   SET a=$LISTBUILD("Red","Blue","Green")
   &sql(SELECT $LISTLENGTH(:a) INTO :b)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
     WRITE !,"The number of elements is ",b }
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The following SQL example also returns 3, because there are 3 elements in the list:

SELECT $LISTLENGTH($LISTBUILD('Red','Blue','Green'))
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The following Embedded SQL example also returns 3. There are 3 elements in the list, though the second element contains no data:

   SET a=$LISTBUILD("Red",,"Green")
   &sql(SELECT $LISTLENGTH(:a) INTO :b)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
     WRITE !,"The number of elements is ",b }
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In the following SQL example, each $LISTLENGTH returns 3, because there are 3 elements in the list, though the second element contains no data:

SELECT $LISTLENGTH($LISTBUILD('Red','','Green')),
       $LISTLENGTH($LISTBUILD('Red',NULL,'Green')),
       $LISTLENGTH($LISTBUILD('Red',,'Green'))
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Notes

Invalid Lists

If list is not a valid list, an SQLCODE -400 fatal error is generated:

   SET a="fred"
   &sql(SELECT $LISTLENGTH(:a) INTO :b)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
     WRITE !,"The number of elements is ",b ; Variable not set
   }
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If the ObjectScript $LISTBUILD function is used to build a list that contains only the null string, this is a valid list, containing one element:

   SET a=$LISTBUILD("")
   &sql(SELECT $LISTLENGTH(:a) INTO :b)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
   WRITE !,"The number of elements is ",b }
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Null Lists

The SQL $LISTLENGTH function and the ObjectScript $LISTLENGTH function differ in how they handle a null list (a list containing no elements).

The following three Embedded SQL examples show how the $LISTLENGTH SQL function handles a null list. In the first two examples, list is the null string, and a null string is returned:

   SET a=""
   &sql(SELECT $LISTLENGTH(:a)
   INTO :b)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
     WRITE !,"The number of elements is ",b }
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   &sql(SELECT $LISTLENGTH(NULL)
   INTO :b)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
     WRITE !,"The number of elements is ",b }
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In the third example, list is the value $CHAR(0), which is an invalid list; an SQLCODE -400 fatal error is generated:

   &sql(SELECT $LISTLENGTH('')
   INTO :b)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
     WRITE !,"The number of elements is ",b }
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Note that this differs from how the ObjectScript $LISTLENGTH function handles a null list. In ObjectScript, the null string ("") is used to represent a null list, a list containing no elements. Because it contains no list elements, it has a $LISTLENGTH count of 0, as shown in the following example:

   WRITE $LISTLENGTH("")
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$LISTLENGTH and Nested Lists

The following Embedded SQL example returns 3, because $LISTLENGTH does not recognize the individual elements in nested lists:

   SET a=$LISTBUILD("Apple","Pear",$LISTBUILD("Walnut","Pecan"))
   &sql(SELECT $LISTLENGTH(:a)
   INTO :b)
   IF SQLCODE'=0 {
     WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
   ELSE {
     WRITE !,"The number of elements is ",b }
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See Also