What Is the Difference Between Number and Integer Data Type in Oracle?
When working with databases, it is essential to understand the different data types available and how they can affect the storage and manipulation of data. In Oracle, two commonly used numeric data types are NUMBER and INTEGER. While both of these data types represent numbers, there are some key differences between them.
The NUMBER Data Type
The NUMBER data type in Oracle is a versatile data type that can store both integer and decimal values. It allows for precision and scale specification, providing control over the number of digits before and after the decimal point.
Key features of the NUMBER data type:
- Precision: The precision defines the total number of digits that can be stored in a column. It ranges from 1 to 38.
For example, a NUMBER(5) column can store numbers with up to five digits.
- Scale: The scale specifies the number of digits to the right of the decimal point. It ranges from -84 to 127. For example, a NUMBER(8,2) column can store numbers with up to six digits before the decimal point and two digits after it.
The INTEGER Data Type
The INTEGER data type in Oracle is a subset of the NUMBER data type specifically designed for storing whole numbers without decimal places. It is often used when you need to represent whole quantities or countable items.
Key features of the INTEGER data type:
- Precision: The precision of the INTEGER data type is always 38. This means that it can store numbers with up to 38 digits.
- Scale: Since the INTEGER data type does not allow decimal places, the scale is always zero.
Choosing Between NUMBER and INTEGER
When deciding between the NUMBER and INTEGER data types in Oracle, consider the nature of the data you are working with. If your values require decimal places or a specific precision and scale, the NUMBER data type is more suitable. On the other hand, if you are dealing with whole numbers without decimal places, such as counts or IDs, using the INTEGER data type can provide a more concise representation.
CREATE TABLE Employees ( EmployeeID INTEGER, FirstName VARCHAR2(50), LastName VARCHAR2(50), Salary NUMBER(10,2) );
In the example above, we use the INTEGER data type for storing employee IDs since they are whole numbers without decimal places. However, we use the NUMBER data type for storing salaries to accommodate decimal values.
Note: It is important to choose an appropriate data type based on your specific requirements as it can impact storage space and performance.
In conclusion, while both NUMBER and INTEGER are numeric data types in Oracle, they have distinct characteristics. The NUMBER data type offers more flexibility with precision and scale specifications for handling both integer and decimal values.
In contrast, the INTEGER data type simplifies representation by focusing solely on whole numbers without decimal places. Understanding these differences will help you make informed decisions when designing database schemas or defining column types in Oracle.