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I have a WFS query string that ends with:

&SORTBY=am_subtype%20DESC

This works but am_subtype is a string, so it does not sort the way I'd like it to. Can I cast am_subtype to an Integer somehow for the purpose of sorting?

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That is not a possibility, WFS provides no type mutation of any sort: it's completely driven by the XML schema it exposes in DescribeFeatureType, every other request has to abide to it. You'll have to perform the casting somewhere else, e.g., at the data source level for example (if it's a database, you can try using a SQL View).

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