What is the TO_DATE() function in Snowflake?

Are you looking to find what is the TO_DATE() function within the Snowflake cloud data warehouse or maybe you are looking for a solution to use the to_date function in the Snowflake? In some cases you may wanted to convert the string into the date, or integer into the date or may be date from timestamp. If you are looking for any of these problem solutions then you have landed on the correct page. I will also show you what and how to use TO_DATE() function. I will explain the TO_DATE() function by taking a practical real world examples. So don’t waste time let’s start step by step guide to understand what is the TO_DATE() expression within Snowflake.

To_date() function converts the string, integer, variant or timestamp into the date filed. In case of NULL input it will result in to NULL.

What is the Syntax of To_DATE Function in Snowflake?

Sytanx is as follows:

-- When  input is of string type with date in AUTO or default date format
to_date(string_input)

-- When  input is of string type with date in other than default format
to_date(string_input, format)

-- When  input is of integer as a string
to_date(integer_input)

-- When  input is of variant type 
to_date(variant_input)

What are possible inputs to To_Date Function in Snowflake Data Warehouse Query?

To_date() can takes these type of input parameter:

Date as String
Timestamp as String
Integer as String
Variant
Table 1: List of acceptable parameter in to_date as input

What is the output of the To_Date function in Snowflake?

  • It returns date in the AUTO format ( Default format set as the session parameter).
  • In case input can’t be converted it will result in the error.
  • If input is null then it will result in NULL

What are the Example of TO_DATE() Function in Snowflake?

Snowflake To_date String Example

select to_date('2015-05-25') as convert_date;

+-----------------------+
| CONVERT_DATE
|------------------------|
| 2015-05-25            
+-----------------------+

To_date String Example With Date Format in Snowflake

select TO_DATE('2021/01/14', 'yyyy/MM/dd') as String_to_date;
+----------------+
| STRING_TO_DATE |
|----------------|
| 2021-01-14     |
+----------------+

To_date Integer Example in Snowflake

select TO_DATE(TO_VARCHAR(11535999)) as INTEGER_to_date;
+-----------------+
| INTEGER_TO_DATE |
|-----------------|
| 1970-05-14      |
+-----------------+

When you should use To_Date function in Snowflake?

  • Whenever you want to convert the string to date format.
  • You want to get the date from the timestamp.
  • You want to convert the millisecond into date.
  • You want to convert the seconds into date.
  • You want the extract the date from the variant datatype.

What are the alternatives of To_Date function in Snowflake?

  • Date function can be used in place of the To_date function.
  • Try_to_Date can be used as more sophisticated alternative of To_date with error handling support.

What is the difference between To_Date and Try_To_Date?

To_DateTry_To_Date
When string can’t convert into valid date it will result into error.When input string can’t convert into valid date it will return the NULL instead of error.
It doesn’t handle the errorIt can handle the error

When you should not use To_Date in Snowflake?

In case when it is not certain that column or input string always contains valid date in form of string or integer than you should refrain from using the to_date function. As in such cases your entire query can break and result into error.

Snowflake official Documentation for To_Date function Link

Final Thoughts

In this article we have learned about TO_DATE() function and uses with the examples explained clearly. I have also covered different scenario with practical example that could be possible. I hope the information that was provided is helped in gaining the knowledge.

Please share your comments and suggestions in the comment section below and I will try to answer all your queries as time permits.

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