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Version: v1.2.0



cast coerce a value to a different type


cast(val: any, t: type) -> any
cast(val: any, name: string) -> any


The cast function performs type casts but handles both primitive types and complex types. If the input type t is a primitive type, then the result is equivalent to


e.g., the result of cast(1, <string>) is the same as string(1) which is "1". In the second form, where the name argument is a string, cast creates a new named type where the name for the type is given by name and its type is given by typeof(val). This provides a convenient mechanism to create new named types from the input data itself without having to hard code the type in the Zed source text.

For complex types, the cast function visits each leaf value in val and casts that value to the corresponding type in t. When a complex value has multiple levels of nesting, casting is applied recursively down the tree. For example, cast is recursively applied to each element in array of records and recursively applied to each record.

If val is a record (or if any of its nested value is a record):

  • absent fields are ignored and omitted from the result,
  • extra input fields are passed through unmodified to the result, and
  • fields are matched by name and are order independent and the input order is retained.

In other words, cast does not rearrange the order of fields in the input to match the output type's order but rather just modifies the leaf values.

If a cast fails, an error is returned when casting to primitive types and the input value is returned when casting to complex types.


Cast primitives to type ip

echo '"" 1 "foo"' | zq -z 'cast(this, <ip>)' -

error("cannot cast 1 to type ip")
error("cannot cast \"foo\" to type ip")

Cast a record to a different record type

echo '{a:1,b:2}{a:3}{b:4}' | zq -z 'cast(this, <{b:string}>)' -



Create a name a typed and cast value to the new type

echo '{a:1,b:2}{a:3,b:4}' | zq -z 'cast(this, "foo")' -



Name data based its properties

echo '{x:1,y:2}{r:3}{x:4,y:5}' | zq -z 'switch ( case has(x) => cast(this, "point")  default => cast(this, "radius") ) | sort this' -