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Range Queries with ArangoSearch

Match values that are above, below or between a minimum and a maximum value

The primary use case for range queries is to search numeric values in documents that are

  • greater than (exclusive),
  • greater than or equal (inclusive),
  • less than (exclusive),
  • less than or equal (inclusive) to a reference number, or
  • between two numbers (inclusive or exclusive)

Range queries are also possible for string values.

Comparing to a Number

Numbers are not processed by Analyzers. They even bypass the identity Analyzer. Therefore, you do not need to specify Analyzers in View definitions and no Analyzer context in queries with the ANALYZER() function for numeric fields.

Dataset: IMDB movie dataset

View definition:

{
  "links": {
    "imdb_vertices": {
      "fields": {
        "runtime": { }
      }
    }
  }
}

You can add a field with an empty object {} as shown above, or explicitly set no Analyzer using an empty array [] as shown below.

{
  "links": {
    "imdb_vertices": {
      "fields": {
        "runtime": {
          "analyzers": [ ]
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

AQL queries

Match movies with a runtime of exactly 5 minutes:

FOR doc IN imdb
  SEARCH doc.runtime == 5
  RETURN {
    title: doc.title,
    runtime: doc.runtime
  }
title runtime
The Spirit of Christmas 5
Super Rhino 5
Gone Nutty 5
She and Her Cat 5

Note that no Analyzer context is set as numeric values are not processed by Analyzers at all.

Match movies with a runtime of 12, 24 or 77 minutes:

FOR doc IN imdb
  SEARCH doc.runtime IN [12, 24, 77]
  RETURN {
    title: doc.title,
    runtime: doc.runtime
  }
title runtime
Frankenstein Punk 12
The Vagabond 24
The Rescuers Down Under 77
The Olsen Gang 77

Match movies with a runtime over 300 minutes and sort them from longest to shortest runtime:

FOR doc IN imdb
  SEARCH doc.runtime > 300
  SORT doc.runtime DESC
  RETURN {
    title: doc.title,
    runtime: doc.runtime
  }
title runtime
Planet of the Apes Series 605
North and South 561
Into the West 552
The Manns - Novel of a Century 312
Legenda o Tile 311
Nárcisz és Psyché 302

Any of the following comparison operators can be used: >, >=, <, <=, ==, !=, IN, NOT IN.

Comparing to a Numeric Range

While you can combine a greater than (or equal) and a less than (or equal) condition with a logical AND, it is more efficient to perform such range queries using a single condition. You can use the range operator .. to query for an inclusive range of values. You can also use the IN_RANGE() function that allows you to specify individually whether the minimum and maximum value shall be included or excluded in the range.

AQL queries

Match movies with a runtime of 4 to 6 minutes with the range operator:

FOR doc IN imdb
  SEARCH doc.runtime IN 4..6
  RETURN {
    title: doc.title,
    runtime: doc.runtime
  }
title runtime
Katedra 6
The Spirit of Christmas 4
The Spirit of Christmas 5
Hell’s Bells 6

While the dataset only has whole numbers, this query would also find decimal fractions within the defined range, e.g. 5.5. This is different to how FILTER doc.runtime IN 4..6 works, which defines an integer range and only matches 4, 5 and 6.

Match movies with a runtime of 4 to 6 minutes with the IN_RANGE() function (inclusive on both ends):

FOR doc IN imdb
  SEARCH IN_RANGE(doc.runtime, 4, 6, true, true)
  RETURN {
    title: doc.title,
    runtime: doc.runtime
  }
title runtime
Katedra 6
The Spirit of Christmas 4
The Spirit of Christmas 5
Hell’s Bells 6

The standard comparison operators are still necessary for other kinds of range queries, such as for searching for values below and above a range. It is possible to express this with IN_RANGE() and a negation (NOT), but it is less efficient than using two comparisons and the negation makes it include documents that do not have a runtime attribute (implicitly null).

Match movies with a runtime of 5 minutes or less, as well as 500 minutes or more, but not with a runtime of 0 minutes. Sort the matches by runtime in ascending order:

FOR doc IN imdb
  SEARCH (doc.runtime <= 5 OR doc.runtime >= 500) AND doc.runtime != 0
  SORT doc.runtime
  RETURN {
    title: doc.title,
    runtime: doc.runtime
  }
title runtime
La Sortie des usines Lumière 1
L’Arrivée d’un train à la Ciotat 1
Zippeldy & Fetterig 5
Coda 5
WWE: Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’90s 540
Shogun 547
Into the West 552
North and South 561
Planet of the Apes Series 605

The search expression could alternative be written in the following ways with the same result:

  • doc.runtime > 0 AND doc.runtime <= 5 OR doc.runtime >= 500
  • IN_RANGE(doc.runtime, 0, 5, false, true) OR doc.runtime >= 500
  • NOT(IN_RANGE(doc.runtime, 5, 500, false, false)) AND doc.runtime > 0

Comparing Strings

Comparison operators and the IN_RANGE() function can also be used with strings. Beware that the results can be unexpected in some cases, because the internal sort order of ArangoSearch is different to how FILTER, SORT and other operations work.

The alphabetical order of characters is not taken into account by ArangoSearch, i.e. range queries in SEARCH operations against Views will not follow the language rules as per the defined Analyzer locale nor the server language (startup option --default-language)! Also see Known Issues.

View definition:

{
  "links": {
    "imdb_vertices": {
      "fields": {
        "name": {
          "analyzers": [ "identity" ]
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

AQL queries

Match movies where the name is >= Wu and < Y:

FOR doc IN imdb
  SEARCH ANALYZER(IN_RANGE(doc.name, "Wu", "Y", true, false), "identity")
  RETURN doc.name
Result
Wu Zun
Xiong Xin-Xin
Wyatt
Xander Berkeley
Xzibit
Xian Gao
Wylie Watson
Wyclef Jean