Handling SQL DateTime Filter Issues Best Practices & Solutions

Handling SQL DateTime Filter Issues: Best Practices & Solutions

SQL Server has some quirks, and one particularly persistent issue revolves around filtering DateTime fields. This common error can be daunting for SQL Server application developers, but understanding its nature and potential workarounds can save you from prolonged debugging sessions. In this article, we dive deep into the SQL DateTime filter bug, its behavior, and how to effectively address it.

A Deep Dive into the DateTime Bug

SQL Server’s DateTime filtering issue isn’t new. Despite its longstanding presence, it occasionally trips up even the seasoned app developers. To give you a clearer picture, let’s delve into a representative example:

Understanding the Problem

Imagine an application that utilizes a SQL server table filled with issue logs. The objective is straightforward: fetch all entries where the CreateDateField is earlier than 2nd Jan 2020. The table schema indicates that the CreateDateField employs the DateTime data type.

Theoretically, the solution seems simple. By invoking the Filter function and collecting the outcomes in a collection, you could achieve the desired results. Such an action might be represented as:

                 Filter('[dbo].[IssueLogs]', CreateDateField < DateValue("2020-01-02"))

Yet, executing this formula triggers a vague error:

Service call was successful. However, there was a problem processing the server response. Please refresh your data source and re-publish the app.

Unpacking the Error

One’s initial instinct might be to follow the error’s directive: refresh the data source. However, doing so proves fruitless. Digging further by monitoring the function call reveals that while operations are reported as successful, delving into the response of the getRows operation uncovers an error:

Conversion failed when converting date and/or time from character string.

This is puzzling, as there is no apparent string-to-datetime conversion in our formula. So, what’s the root cause?

Pinpointing and Addressing the Issue

This dilemma can be attributed to a bug affecting SQL DateTime equality operators. A remedy to sidestep this bug is by adjusting the data type of the CreateDateField column to DateTimeOffset. Adopting the DateTimeOffset data type can not only circumvent this specific issue but can also resolve inaccuracies that may arise due to daylight saving time changes.

If modifying the data type directly in the table isn’t viable, a practical alternative is crafting a view based on the table and casting the DateTime column data type to DateTimeOffset therein.


SQL Server’s DateTime filtering bug, while elusive, is manageable with the right knowledge and approach. When working with SQL Server, it’s paramount to be cognizant of this bug, as traditional diagnostic methods might lead to further perplexity. Leveraging the DateTimeOffset data type remains a robust best practice for SQL developers.

If you encounter any challenges or require further insights into SQL or related technical areas, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts is eager to assist, ensuring your projects run seamlessly.

About The Author