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MySQL in a Nutshell by Russell J.T. Dyer

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String Datatypes

These datatypes are case-sensitive. So, lowercase and uppercase letters remain unchanged when stored or retrieved. For a few of the string datatypes, a maximum column width may be specified. If a string is entered in a column that exceeds the width set for the column, the string will be right-truncated when stored. The CHAR datatype is a fixed-width column. Columns are right-padded with spaces when stored. The VARCHAR datatype adjusts its width and does not pad the strings stored. Any trailing spaces contained in a string that is stored are removed.

As of Version 4.1 of MySQL, the ASCII attribute may be specified for use with the CHAR datatype. This will set the column to the latin1 character set. As of Version 4.1 of MySQL, the UNICODE attribute may be specified for use with the CHAR datatype. This will set the column to the ucs2 character set.

The BINARY and VARBINARY datatypes store data as binary strings and not character strings like CHAR. Table A-4 lists the various types and their maximum sizes. Some types are listed together: BLOB (Binary Large Object) and TEXT. They have the same maximum value, but TEXT-type columns are handled based upon their character set, whereas BLOB types are not; they’re handled as binary strings. This becomes a factor in sorting and comparing data. Binary strings are case-sensitive. As of Version 4.1 of MySQl, you can assign a character set to a TEXT type of column. Values are sorted based on the collation of the character set for ...

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