How to Use TRY_CAST in Snowpark

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to utilize the TRY_CAST function in Snowpark for secure data type conversions.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When working with data, the need often arises to convert values from one data type to another. In Snowpark, the TRY_CAST function offers a solution by allowing seamless conversions while gracefully managing potential errors. This functionality ensures that even if a conversion fails, it won’t lead to the failure of the entire query or script.


# Using TRY_CAST in Snowpark
result = my_dataframe.selectExpr("TRY_CAST(age AS INT) AS parsed_age")

# Copyright PHD


In the provided code snippet, we are employing the TRY_CAST function within a DataFrame operation. This function attempts to cast the ‘age’ column as an integer (INT). If successful, it returns the converted value; otherwise, it returns null. This feature proves particularly handy when dealing with potentially inconsistent data types.

    What is TRY_CAST used for?

    The TRY_CAST function serves the purpose of converting values from one data type to another while effectively managing any potential casting errors without causing script failures.

    How does TRY_CAST differ from CAST?

    The key disparity between CAST and TRY_CAST lies in their error-handling behavior. While CAST throws an error upon unsuccessful conversion, TRY_CAST returns null instead of halting script execution entirely.

    Can I use TRY_CONVERT instead of TRY_CAST?

    In Snowflake’s SQL variant (including Snowpark), there isn’t a direct equivalent of SQL Server’s TRY_CONVERT. For safe type conversions, opt for using TRY_CAST.

    Is there an alternative method to handle casting errors in Snowpark?

    Indeed, apart from utilizing TRY_CAST, you can manage casting exceptions by explicitly verifying validity before initiating any conversions. However, this approach may be less efficient compared to leveraging built-in functions like TRY_CAST.

    Can I nest multiple functions within TRY_CAST?

    Certainly! You can nest multiple functions or expressions within the arguments of a single call to TRY_CASE, enabling complex transformation logic in a single step.


    To sum up, comprehending how and when to employ the try_cast function in Snowpark is crucial when confronted with potentially inconsistent or unforeseen data types. By effectively harnessing this feature, you can ensure smoother script execution without concerns about failed casts causing disruptions.

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