This is closely related to the question here, the key difference is that here data is structured as nested Association rather than a flat list:

data2 = <|"1" -> <|"a" -> "hey now"|>, "2" -> <|"a" -> Missing[]|>|> // 

enter image description here

data2  // Select[Quiet @StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"] &] // Normal

<|"1" -> <|"a" -> "hey now"|>|>

Note, this will fail without the use of Quiet to suppress a Failure due to the match on Missing. And fails anyway as a Query:

data2[ Select[Quiet [StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"] &]]]


The typical workaround: data2 // Normal // Dataset does not help here.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Isn't the issue entirely that you want StringMatchQ to work with non-Strings? $\endgroup$
    – chuy
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ You can use either data2[Select[StringMatchQ[ToString@#a, "hey*"] &]] or the wordier data2[Select[ Length[Cases[{#a}, x_String /; StringMatchQ[x, "hey*"] ]] > 0 &]] if you feel the need to avoid ToString $\endgroup$
    – chuy
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ As intented, StringMatchQ does not match Missing[] values, and its warning is suppressed by Quiet though somehow not as a Query. $\endgroup$ Commented May 11, 2015 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ @alancalvitti The last comment I left in your previous post should help data2[ Select[Function[If[Head[#a] == String, StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"]]]]] $\endgroup$
    – Hans
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


The simplest "workaround" I've found to prevent your query from aborting is to set properly the Query option FailureAction which is indeed by default set to "Abort" ! ;)

Given your data :

myDataset = <|"1" -> <|"a" -> "hey now"|>, "2" -> <|"a" -> Missing[]|>|> // Dataset;
myQuery = Select[StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"] &];

the default behavior is to simply abort with a Failure message:


enter image description here

unless you set :

myDataset[myQuery, FailureAction -> None]

enter image description here

The query did not abort, the result is correct but a warning message was printed. To suppress the message you can as before simply wrap the command in Quiet.


1/ Regarding this FailureAction option, I thought first that the solution would be to set it rather to "Drop" but the query returns Dataset``$DropPlaceholder ... Not sure what happens here ...

2/ There is also another very interesting query option: MissingBehavior which I thought was even more suited here. Not sure again why it does not work either.

3/ Why (as OP asked) does Select[Quiet@StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"] &][myDataset] return the correct result without Failure, whereas myDataset[Select[Quiet@StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"] &]] abort ?? It seems that this second form is actually working in version 10.0 according to @Hans answer ? Anyone to confirm ? (At the time of this answer I'm using v10.2.)


Does this help

data2[ Select[Function[If[Head[#a] == String, StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"]]]]] 

Then can you try

 Select[Function[Quiet[StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"]]]]]

10.0 for Microsoft Windows (64-bit) (June 29, 2014)

Returned same as the If[]

Or re-written as

 Select[(Quiet[StringMatchQ[#a, "hey*"]]) &]]

Note the placement of ().

  • $\begingroup$ No, the focus of this q is on Query's behavior with respect to Quiet $\endgroup$ Commented May 11, 2015 at 20:51

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