What Is the Difference Between VARCHAR2 and Varchar Data Type?
In Oracle databases, the VARCHAR2 and Varchar data types are commonly used for storing character data. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are some key differences between these two data types that you should be aware of.
VARCHAR2 Data Type
The VARCHAR2 data type is specific to Oracle databases. It is used to store variable-length character strings up to a maximum length specified by the user. The maximum length can range from 1 to 4000 characters.
One important thing to note about the VARCHAR2 data type is that it always stores characters in a fixed-length format, even if the actual length of the string is less than the maximum specified length. This means that if you store a string with fewer characters than the maximum length, Oracle will automatically pad it with spaces to fill up the remaining space.
- If you define a column as VARCHAR2(10) and insert the value ‘Hello’ into it, Oracle will store it as ‘Hello ‘ (with five trailing spaces).
Varchar Data Type
The Varchar data type, on the other hand, is not specific to Oracle databases. It is a standard ANSI SQL data type that is supported by many different database systems including Oracle.
Like the VARCHAR2 data type, Varchar also stores variable-length character strings. However, there are some differences in how it handles string values compared to VARCHAR2.
Unlike VARCHAR2, Varchar does not automatically pad strings with spaces when they are shorter than the specified maximum length. Instead, it only uses as much space as needed to store the actual string value.
- If you define a column as Varchar(10) and insert the value ‘Hello’ into it, Oracle will store it as ‘Hello’ (without any trailing spaces).
Which One Should You Use?
The choice between VARCHAR2 and Varchar depends on your specific requirements and the database system you are using. If you are working with an Oracle database, it is generally recommended to use the VARCHAR2 data type as it is specifically designed for Oracle and provides better compatibility and performance.
However, if you need to write code that is compatible with multiple database systems, using the Varchar data type can make your code more portable. Just keep in mind that there might be some slight differences in behavior between different database systems when it comes to handling string values.
Both the VARCHAR2 and Varchar data types are used for storing character data in Oracle databases. While they have similarities, such as supporting variable-length strings, there are important differences in how they handle string values. Understanding these differences will help you make better choices when designing your database schema or writing SQL queries.