Appendix D. MySQL Datatypes

This appendix explains the different datatypes used in MySQL.

As explained in Chapter 1, “Understanding SQL,” datatypes are basically rules that define what data may be stored in a column and how that data is actually stored.

Datatypes are used for several reasons:

  • Datatypes enable you to restrict the type of data that can be stored in a column. For example, a numeric datatype column only accepts numeric values.

  • Datatypes allow for more efficient storage, internally. Numbers and date time values can be stored in a more condensed format than text strings.

  • Datatypes allow for alternate sorting orders. If everything is treated as strings, 1 comes before 10, which comes before 2. (Strings are sorted in dictionary sequence, one ...

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