Adding support for Decimal in Explorer

I am working with monetary data, for which floats are largely discouraged. As a result, I am using the fairly popular Decimal package and the associated Ecto support to store monetary values in my database and process them in my app.

I’m also a big fan of Livebook and Explorer to process my data. However, Explorer does not currently have support for Decimals, which means that I have to manually convert to floats, losing all the benefits of working with Decimal in the first place.

Therefore, I am wondering what it would take to add support for Decimals to Explorer, and whether anyone is working on such support already. If not, how would such a task even be completed? Would we need to add support directly in the Explorer library, or could some sort of external plugin be enough? Would anyone else be interested in this?

Explorer doesn‘t use elixir datatypes. It uses a rust library to deal with data in raw binary form. For explorer to support fixed precision numbers the underlying rust library would need to support those. Or you convert to integers at the precision you need.

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Hi @munksgaard,

@LostKobrakai is right. We rely on the Polars library under the hood. So my first instinct is no, we won’t be able to support the Decimal library.

However, it may be worth making an issue on Explorer anyway. Polars has support for a decimal datatype:

We add new data types relatively frequently, and this may be worth pursuing. The tricky part would be figuring out how we represent things on the Elixir side. But it’s certainly possible.

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