BigQuery(BQ) is very useful for data analysis or processing.

It is good at handling huge data. It returns summary result in short time.

When we handle big data, sometimes we want to extract or summarise data that meets specific conditions.

Usually we use comparison operator like below.

WHERE COLUMN1 = "A"

SUM(IF(COLUMN1 = "A",1,0)

But it fails in specific case.

Why didn't it work.

So today I introduce about **"Why comparison and conditional aggregation fails in BigQuery"**.

Author

Advantage to read

You can understand "Why comparison and conditional aggregation fails in BigQuery". Then you don't have to concern about comparison and conditional aggregation.

## Data

First, prepare data.

Import this csv file as `null_sample`

table.

Data

col1,col2,col3 a,b,c ,b,c ,,c a,b, a,,

Then you can see table like below.

Table

Row | col1 | col2 | col3 |

1 | null | b | c |

2 | null | null | c |

3 | a | b | c |

4 | a | b | null |

5 | a | null | null |

## Comparison and conditional aggregation

They are fine example of comparison and conditional aggregation.

We use operator `=`

.

SQL

SELECT * FROM test.null_sample WHERE col1 = "a"

Result

Row | col1 | col2 | col3 |

1 | a | b | c |

2 | a | b | null |

3 | a | null | null |

In order to get conditional sum, we can use `SUM`

and `IF`

function.

SQL

SELECT SUM(IF(col1="a",1,0)) as sum_col1_a FROM test.null_sample

Result

Row | sum_col1_a |

1 | 3 |

## Example of failure

Then they are examples of failure.

They use `!=`

and its comparison does not work.

SQL

SELECT * FROM test.null_sample WHERE col1 != "a"

Result

Even if conditional aggregation, it fails like below.

SQL

SELECT SUM(IF(col1="a",1,0)) as sum_col1_a, SUM(IF(col1!="a",1,0)) as sum_col1_not_a, SUM(IF(col2!="a",1,0)) as sum_col2_not_a, SUM(IF(col3!="a",1,0)) as sum_col3_not_a FROM test.null_sample

Result

Row | sum_col1_a | sum_col1_not_a | sum_col2_not_a | sum_col3_not_a |

1 | 3 | 0 | 3 | 3 |

Sample table has 5 records.

In the table, about non- `a`

count, it should be 2 in col1.

And it should be 5 in col2 or col3.

Why did it fail to aggregate.

## Why comparison and conditional aggregation fails in BigQuery

The reason why comparison and conditional aggregation fails in BigQuery is `null`

.

`null`

is special that does not return true to both `=`

nor `!=`

.

So if you want to compare data,you should replace null with other value by `IFNULL`

or `COALESCE`

.

SQL

SELECT * FROM test.null_sample WHERE IFNULL(col1,"") != "a"

Result

Row | col1 | col2 | col3 |

1 | null | b | c |

2 | null | null | c |

For conditional aggregation, we should use `IFNULL`

or `COALESCE`

.

SQL

SELECT SUM(IF(IFNULL(col1,"")="a",1,0)) as sum_col1_a, SUM(IF(IFNULL(col1,"")!="a",1,0)) as sum_col1_not_a, SUM(IF(IFNULL(col2,"")!="a",1,0)) as sum_col2_not_a, SUM(IF(IFNULL(col3,"")!="a",1,0)) as sum_col3_not_a FROM test.null_sample

Result

Row | sum_col1_a | sum_col1_not_a | sum_col2_not_a | sum_col3_not_a |

1 | 3 | 2 | 5 | 5 |

In this case we got correct non-`a`

records and non-`a`

count.

## Conclusion

Today I explained about **"Why comparison and conditional aggregation fails in BigQuery"**.

The reason why comparison and conditional aggregation fails in BigQuery is `null`

.

It fails when we try to compare `null`

directly.

Solution is this.

Point

- Replace null by
`IFNULL`

or`COALESCE`

`null`

is very complicated.There are some other articles about BigQuey.

If you interested in them, please read them.

Read more