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If there is any sane reason to ignore trailing blanks in varchar comparisons, why doesn't that apply to tab-characters too ?

On SQL Server I get

    case when '' = ' ' then 'true' else 'false' end, 
    case when '' = CHAR(9) then 'true' else 'false' end


---- -----
true false

Is this a problem of the ANSI specification or a problem of the SQL Server implementation?


I do not have access to the text of the specification. I only see it mentioned in this answer. I can't tell if it addresses only blanks or if it refers to whitespace in some vague sense.

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You have the ANSI 92 text in my answer in case you didn't see. I quote it often... – gbn Dec 22 '11 at 19:08
Yes thanks. That helps a lot. – bernd_k Dec 22 '11 at 19:15
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The same code above on MySQL 5.5 gives the same result

Tab isn't "space", it is a character.
The same applies to hard/non-breaking space (char(160) in "normal" collations)

The ANSI-92 standard states in 8.2. item 3.a

If the length in characters of X is not equal to the length in characters of Y, then the shorter string is effectively replaced, for the purposes of comparison, with a copy of itself that has been extended to the length of the longer string by concatenation on the right of one or more pad char- acters, where the pad character is chosen based on CS. If CS has the NO PAD attribute, then the pad character is an implementation-dependent character different from any char- acter in the character set of X and Y that collates less than any string under CS. Otherwise, the pad character is a <space>.

CS is "collating sequence". I'll assume no collation uses tab or non-breaking spaces as padding characters. So space it is...

Note that LIKE is section 8.5 (I mention this because of your previous question)

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