SQL Bulkcopy YYYYMMDD problem

c# date sqlbulkcopy


I have a String to Date conversion problem using SQL Bulkcopy in asp.net 3.5 with C#

I read a large CSV file (with CSV reader). One of the strings read should be loaded into a SQL server 2008 Date column.

If the textfile contains for example the string '2010-12-31', SQL Bulkcopy loads it without any problems into the Date column.

However, if the string is '20101231', I get an error:
The given value of type String from the data source cannot be converted to type date of the specified target column

The file contains 80 million records so I cannot create a datatable....

SqlBulkcopy Columnmappings etc. are all ok. Also changing to DateTime does not help.

I tried


But that does not help.

Any ideas how to tell SQL Server to accept this format? Otherwise I will create a custom fix in CSV reader but I would prefer something in SQL.

update Following up on the two answers, I am using SQL bulkcopy like this (as proposed on Stackoverflow in another question):

The CSV reader (see the link above on codeproject) returns string values (not strong typed). The CSVreader implements System.Data.IDataReader so I can do something like this:

using (CsvReader reader = new CsvReader(path)) 
using (SqlBulkCopy bcp = new SqlBulkCopy(CONNECTION_STRING))
{ bcp.DestinationTableName = "SomeTable"; 
  // columnmappings
  bcp.WriteToServer(reader); } 

All the fields coming from the iDataReader are strings, so I cannot use the c# approach unless I change quite a bit in the CSVreader

My question is therefore not related on how to fix it in C#, I can do that but i want to prevent that.

It is strange, because if you do a in sql something like

 update set [somedatefield] = '20101231' 

it also works, just not with bulkcopy.

Any idea why?

Thanks for any advice, Pleun

Accepted Answer

If you can handel it in C# itself then this code will help get the date in the string as a DateTime object which you can pass directly

//datestring is the string read from CSV
DateTime thedate = DateTime.ParseExact(dateString, "yyyyMMdd", null);

If you want it to be formatted as string then:

string thedate = DateTime.ParseExact(dateString, "yyyyMMdd", null).ToString("yyyy-MM-dd");

Good luck.


In your scenario i don't know why date is not automatically formatted but from C# you need to get in and Interfere in the process of passing the data to the WriteToServer() method. Best i think you can do (keeping in mind the Performance) is to have a cache of DataRow items and Pass them to the WriteToServer() method. I will just write the sample code in a minute...

//A sample code.. polish it before implementation
//A counter to track num of records read
long records_read = 0;
    //We will take rows in a Buffer of 50 records
    int i = records_read;//initialize it with the num of records last read
    DataRow[] buffered_rows = new DataRow[50];
    for(;i<50 ;i++)
        //Code to initialize each rows with the data in the reader
        //Fill the column data with Date properly formatted

Its not full code but i think you can work it out...

Popular Answer

Older issue, but wanted to add an alternative approach.

I had the same issue with SQLBulkLoader not allowing DataType/culture specifications for columns when streaming from IDataReader.

In order to reduce the speed overhead of constructing datarows locally and instead have the parsing occur on the target, a simple method I used was to temporarily set the thread culture to the culture which defines the format in use - in this case for US format dates.

For my problem - en-US dates in the input (in Powershell):

[System.Threading.Thread]::CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = 'en-US'
<call SQLBulkCopy>

For your problem, you could do the same but since the date format is not culture specific, create a default culture object (untested):

CultureInfo newCulture = (CultureInfo) System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture.Clone();
newCulture.DateTimeFormat.ShortDatePattern = "yyyyMMDD;
Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = newCulture;

I found allowing the database server to perform the type conversions once they've gotten through the SQLBulkCopy interface to be considerably faster than performing parsing locally, particularly in a scripting language.

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Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
Not affiliated with Stack Overflow
Is this KB legal? Yes, learn why