Filter Specification

Filters are deep and versatile. All manner of boolean grouping and operations are supported, with only a few exceptions.

Due to the use of square brackets [ and ] in JSON notation, parentheses ( and ) are used to denote optional content.

filter

The filter object is a JSON object containing two or three keys.

{ 
  "groupOp": groupOperator,
  "rules"  : rules
  ("groups" : groups)
}

groupOperator

Key Accepted Values Description Notes
groupOp AND
OR
applies to all rules at the current level and the nested groups as a whole

rules

A json array defining your criteria in rule objects. Again, parentheses, ( and ) denote optional content.

[ rule (, rule) ]

groups

An optional json array containing nested filter objects, theoretically enabling infinite nesting of filters. Again, parentheses, ( and ) denote optional content.

[ filter (,filter) ]

rule

A json object defining a single criterion for filtering. Again, parentheses, ( and ) denote optional content.

{ 
  "field" : field,
  "op"    : fieldOperator,
  "data"  : data
  (, "type"  : type)
}

field

Key Accepted Values Description Notes
field a string the value must correspond to the fields in query referenced by qname

fieldOperator

The comparison operator defining how to evaluate the field/value relationship

Key Accepted Values Description Notes
op eq equals
ne not equals
lt less than
le less than or equal to
gt greater than
ge greater than or equal to
in in
ni not in
nu null
nn not null
bw begins with
bn does not begin with
ew ends with
en does not end with
cn contains
nc does not contain

data

The value to use in the comparison operation. Effectively any string, integer, decimal, or date.

type

An optional classifier to clarify what type of operator can be used when building the filtering code on the back end.

Key Accepted Values Description Notes
type number for any integer or decimal optional
text for case-insensitive text, will apply the LOWER() function optional
etxt for case-sensitive text optional

Examples

The following example shows a filter which should return values where: f1 = 'v1' AND ( (f2 < 6 OR f3 >= 100) AND (f4 > 0.5 OR f5 is not null) )

{"groupOp":"AND",
 "rules":[{"field":"f1","op":"eq","data":"v1","type":"text"}],
 "groups":[{"groupOp":"OR",
              "rules":[{"field":"f2","op":"lt","data":"6","type": "number"},
                       {"field":"f3","op":"ge","data":"100","type": "number"}],
             "groups":[]},
           {"groupOp":"OR",
              "rules":[{"field":"f4","op":"gt","data":"0.5", "type": "number"},
                       {"field":"f5","op":"nn","data":""}],
             "groups":[]}]}

It may be easier to think it terms of Polish or Prefix Notation: AND f1='v1' (OR (< f 26) (>= f3 100)) (OR (>f4 0.5) not(is null(f5))) …or not

Javascript Example

var filter={
             "groupOp":"AND",
             "rules": [
                       { 
                         "field": "GENE_SYMBOL", 
                         "op"   : "in", 
                         "data" : "ABL1,EGFR" 
                       },
                       { 
                         "field": "SAMPLE_TYPE", 
                         "op"   : "eq", 
                         "data" : "Cell Line", 
                         "type" : "etxt"
                       }
                      ]
           };
$.ajax({  
  "url":...,  
  "data":{  
    "qname":...,  
    "filters":JSON.stringify(filter)
  }
});

Behind the scenes

JDBCAdaptor.getQueryFilters() used constants, but here is a version of the method using string literals to illustrate the mechanism:

   // nulls, not nulls
        if(op.matches("nu|nn"))
        {
            sql.append(SQL_CORE_ALIAS+"." + field + " ");
            sql.append("IS ");
            if ("nn".equals(op))  {  sql.append("NOT "); }
            sql.append("NULL");
        }
        // numbers
        else
        {
            // strings:  eq, ne, cn, nc, bw, bn, ew, en, in, ni
            // numbers:  eq, ne, lt, le, gt, ge, in, ni
            if ("number".equals(type))
            {
                sql.append(SQL_CORE_ALIAS+"." + field + " ");
                if("ne".equals(op))            {  sql.append("<>");  }
                else if(op.matches("lt|le"))   {  sql.append("<");   }
                else if(op.matches("gt|ge"))   {  sql.append(">");   }
                if(op.matches("eq|le|ge"))     {  sql.append("=");   }
                if("ni".matches(op))           {  sql.append("NOT"); }
                sql.append(" ");
                if(op.matches("in|ni"))        {  sql.append("IN ("+value+") "); }
                else                           {  sql.append(value);  }
            }
 
            // varchars
            else if ("text".equals(type) | | ("etxt".equals(type)))
            {
                // case sensitive
                if ("etxt".equals(type))
                {
                    sql.append(SQL_CORE_ALIAS+"." + field + " ");
                }
 
                // case insensitive
                else
                {
                    sql.append("LOWER("+SQL_CORE_ALIAS+"." + field + ") ");
                }
 
                if("eq".equals(op))            {  sql.append(" = "); }
                else if("ne".equals(op))       {  sql.append(" <> ");}
 
                // not contains, not begins with, not ends with
                if(op.matches("nc|bn|en|ni"))  {  sql.append("NOT ");}
                if (op.matches("cn|bw|ew"))  {  sql.append("LIKE "); }
 
                // equals, not equals, contains,
                if (op.matches("eq|ne|cn|nc|bw|bn|ew|en")) {  sql.append("'");     }
 
                // contains, ends with, not ends with
                if (op.matches("cn|ew|en"))    {  sql.append("%");   }
                if (op.matches("eq|ne|cn|nc|bw|bn|ew|en")) { sql.append(value);  } // value already lower case
                 
                // in, ni
                else
                {
                    String[] split = value.split(",");
                    sql.append("IN (");
                    for (int j=0;j<split.length;j++)
                    {
                        sql.append("'"+split[j]+"'");
                        if (j<split.length-1)
                        {
                            sql.append(",");
                        }
                    }
                    sql.append(")");
                }
                 
                // contains, begins with, not begins with
                if (op.matches("cn|bw|bn"))                {  sql.append("%"); }
                if (op.matches("eq|ne|cn|nc|bw|bn|ew|en")) {  sql.append("'"); }
             
            } // end "text"
        } // end "non null ops
    } // end rules iteration
} // end is rules null