ABAP Keyword Documentation → ABAP − Reference → Processing Internal Data → Character String and Byte String Processing → Expressions and Functions for String Processing → String Functions → Description Functions for CharacterLike Arguments
distance  Distance Function
Other versions: 7.31  7.40  7.54
Syntax
... distance( val1 = text1
val2 = text2 [max = max] ) ...
Effect
This function returns the Levenshtein distance between two strings
text1
and text2
.
This distance is the minimum number of insert, delete, and replace operations required to change one
string to another and hence reflects the similarity of the two strings. The return value has the type i
.
max
can be used to declare a positive value other than 0; the calculation
of the Levenshtein distance is canceled if the distance is greater than max
. The value of max
is returned instead. max
is a
numeric expression
position of the type i
. If the value of max
is less than or equal to 0, an exception of the class CX_SY_STRG_PAR_VAL is raised. If max
is not specified, the calculation is not terminated
Notes
 The complexity of the function increases in line with the product of the lengths of the two strings. The calculation time can be limited by declaring
max
.
 One typical application of this function is to find a word in a word set that is most similar to a word entered in a search.
Example
The result of the following function calls is 0, 1, and 3.
DATA(result1) = distance( val1 = `abcdefg` val2 = `abcdefg` ).
DATA(result2) = distance( val1 = `abcdefg` val2 = `abcXefg` ).
DATA(result3) = distance( val1 = `abcdefg` val2 = `aXcdXXg` ).
Executable Example
Exceptions
Handleable Exceptions
CX_SY_STRG_PAR_VAL

Cause: Value in
max
is less than or equal to 0.
Runtime error:STRG_ILLEGAL_PAR