C# DataTable Select ExampleUse Select on a DataTable instance. Understand the syntax and EvaluateExceptions.
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DataTable, Select. DataTable has a Select method. This method receives a string expression that specifies what rows we want to handle. Select() makes DataTables act like small databases.


Some warnings. With Select, we must specify valid SQL-like strings. Otherwise an EvaluateException will be thrown. Select() is a powerful method, but not easy to use.

First example. We create a DataTable with 5 rows and 2 columns. Each Player is added with a Size and Team field. Notice how there are 2 Team "a" rows and 3 Team "b" rows.

Argument We call Select and pass a string argument. We use the parameter "Size >= 230 and Team = b" for the selection.

Result Select() returns an array of DataRow instances where every Player has those matching characteristics.


Console We print the results to the Console with Console.WriteLine and a format string.

C# program that uses DataTable Select method
using System; using System.Data; class Program { static void Main() { // Create a table of 5 different players. // ... Store their size and team. DataTable table = new DataTable("Players"); table.Columns.Add(new DataColumn("Size", typeof(int))); table.Columns.Add(new DataColumn("Team", typeof(char))); table.Rows.Add(100, 'a'); table.Rows.Add(235, 'a'); table.Rows.Add(250, 'b'); table.Rows.Add(310, 'b'); table.Rows.Add(150, 'b'); // Search for players above a certain size. // ... Require certain team. DataRow[] result = table.Select("Size >= 230 AND Team = 'b'"); foreach (DataRow row in result) { Console.WriteLine("{0}, {1}", row[0], row[1]); } } }
250, b 310, b

DateTime. The Select method can be used with dates. In this example, we create a DataTable. Each row has a DateTime cell. We then query with the Select method.


Syntax Please notice how the date string is surrounded by pound "#" symbols. This syntax is important.

Result Select queries the DataTable and finds two matching rows. Both of them have a date more recent than 6/1/2001.

C# program that uses DateTime, Select method
using System; using System.Data; class Program { static void Main() { // Create table. // ... Add two columns and three rows. DataTable table = new DataTable("Widgets"); table.Columns.Add(new DataColumn("ID", typeof(int))); table.Columns.Add(new DataColumn("Date", typeof(DateTime))); table.Rows.Add(100, new DateTime(2001, 1, 1)); table.Rows.Add(200, new DateTime(2002, 1, 1)); table.Rows.Add(300, new DateTime(2003, 1, 1)); // Select by date. DataRow[] result = table.Select("Date > #6/1/2001#"); // Display. foreach (DataRow row in result) { Console.WriteLine(row["ID"]); } } }
200 300

EvaluateException. Many exceptions are thrown by DataTable. An EvaluateException is caused when an invalid expression is passed to Select(). The expression must have a Boolean result.


First This example uses an invalid expression in Select. The expression "A" does not evaluate to true or false.

And The program causes a nasty error when it is executed. After this example, we fix the error.

C# program that causes EvaluateException
using System.Data; class Program { static void Main() { // Create simple DataTable. DataTable table = new DataTable(); table.Columns.Add("A", typeof(int)); table.Rows.Add(1); table.Rows.Add(2); table.Rows.Add(3); // Call Select. DataRow[] rows = table.Select("A"); System.Console.WriteLine(rows.Length); } }
Unhandled Exception: System.Data.EvaluateException: Filter expression 'A' does not evaluate to a Boolean term. at System.Data.Select.AcceptRecord(Int32 record) at System.Data.Select.GetLinearFilteredRows(Range range) at System.Data.Select.SelectRows() at System.Data.DataTable.Select(String filterExpression)

Fixing the error. Here we change the argument to Select to be in the form of a predicate. The statement A > 1 returns true for two rows in the DataTable.

Tip True is returned where the column A has cell values of 2 and 3. No EvaluateException is triggered.

Note Programs that use DataTable are vulnerable to many exceptions. All the code must be exactly correct or an error will occur.

Note 2 The expression in Select must evaluate to true or false—otherwise, an EvaluateException is encountered.

Statements that work correctly
// Call Select. DataRow[] rows = table.Select("A > 1"); System.Console.WriteLine(rows.Length);

Syntax. Select uses SQL-style syntax but because it is inside a string literal, you sometimes need to escape quotation marks. Some values, like characters, may need to be quoted.

AND, OR The "AND" and "OR" operators can be used as in SQL. These are part of expressions.

A summary. The Select method receives a predicate expression in the SQL special form. It returns an array of DataRows. If you specify an invalid column name, it will throw an exception.

Some expressions will result in EvaluateExceptions. Select provides another way of filtering DataTables, separate from imperative testing with if-statements and loops.

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