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Value Range 2.23E308 to 2.23E308
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Purpose Stores large, floating point numbers that exceed the capacity of a decimal data type Still valid, but replaced by float to meet the SQL-92 standard
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real
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4 bytes
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3.4E38 to 3.4E38
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The float data types accept a parameter in the definition that determines the number of digits to store precisely. For example, a float(8) column precisely stores seven digits, and anything exceeding that is subject to rounding errors. Because of the imprecision associated with these data types, they are rarely used. You should consider using float only in cases in which an exact numeric data type is not large enough to store the values.
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Monetary Data Types
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Monetary data types are designed to store currency values with four decimal places of precision. Table 3-4 lists SQL Server s monetary data types.
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Table 3-4
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Monetary Data Types
Data Type money smallmoney
Storage 8 bytes 4 bytes
Value Range 922,337,203,685,477.5808 to 922,337,203,685,477.5807 214,748.3648 to 214,748.3647
Purpose Stores large currency values Stores small currency values
The smallmoney data types are rarely defined in databases, even though this data type is the most accurate choice for many applications that deal with products and orders. It is much more common for these databases to incorrectly use the money data type and waste four bytes of storage for each row stored. Although money and smallmoney data types are designed to store currency values, they are rarely used in financial applications. Instead, these applications use a decimal
3
Creating Tables, Constraints, and User-Defined Types
data type because they need to perform accurate calculations to 6, 8, and even 12 decimal places.
Date and Time Data Types
In storing data, nothing generates more controversy than figuring out how to store dates and times. Some applications need to store only a date. Other applications need to store only a time. And still other applications need to store both dates and times together. Unfortunately, SQL Server stores this type of data only together as both a date and a time for example, 2006-03-14 20:53:36.153, which is the precise millisecond on the system clock when I started writing this sentence. Table 3-5 lists SQL Server s date and time data types.
Table 3-5
Date and Time Data Types
Data Type datetime
Storage 8 bytes
Value Range January 1, 1753, through December 31, 9999, with an accuracy of 3.33 milliseconds January 1, 1900, through June 6, 2079, with an accuracy of 1 minute
Purpose Stores large date and time values.
smalldatetime
4 bytes
Stores a smaller range of date and time values
The datetime and smalldatetime data types are stored internally as integers. The datetime data type is stored as a pair of four-byte integers, which together represent the number of milliseconds since midnight on January 1, 1753. The first four bytes store the date, and the second four bytes store the time. The smalldatetime data type is stored as a pair of two-byte integers, which together represent the number of minutes since midnight on January 1, 1900. The first two bytes store the date, and the second two bytes store the time.
Character Data Types
To store character data, you select one of the data types designed for this purpose. Each one consumes either one or two bytes of storage for each character, depending on whether the data type uses American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encoding or Unicode encoding.
Lesson 1: Creating Tables
Before looking at the character data types, let s look briefly at the background behind the ANSI and Unicode encodings. To handle the wide variety of languages in the world, computer technologists needed a way to store the many different characters of a language in a standard format. So, the ANSI standards body developed an encoding standard that required eight bits to represent the range of letters. The only problem was that every character could not be specified within a single eight-bit encoding. Thus, dozens of character sets were created that specified the acceptable characters for a given encoding. This approach worked well until you started transferring data between systems that used different character sets. If a character in one encoding did not exist in a different encoding, it was lost in the translation process. In addition to the encoding-translation issues, the eight-bit encoding couldn t capture several languages. These problems led to the creation of the Unicode standard. The Unicode standard uses 2 bytes to represent each character. This extra space meant that all the character sets in use in the ANSI standard could be eliminated. Now, each unique character could be expressed within a single encoding schema. And because with Unicode there s just one encoding scheme, no encoding translation is necessary when transferring data between systems set for different languages. This makes character data completely transportable. The only downside is that Unicode data types require two bytes to store each character, so Unicode data types require twice as much space as their ANSI counterparts. Unicode data types are preceded with an n. For example, nchar is the Unicode counterpart to the char data type, which uses the ANSI encoding. When defining a character data type, you specify the maximum number of bytes the column is allowed to store. For example, a char(10) can store a maximum of 10 characters because each character requires one byte of storage, whereas an nchar(10) can store a maximum of five characters because each Unicode character requires two bytes of storage. Table 3-6 lists SQL Server character data types.
Table 3-6
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