Integers in Java

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The SQL Standard provides two data types for columns that contain integers: INTEGER (or INT) and SMALLINT Table 7-5 shows the SQL Standard requirements and the level of support (data type and size in bytes) the Big Eight have for these data types Table 7-5 ANSI/DBMS Integer Support
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ANSI SQL IBM Informix Ingres InterBase Microsoft MySQL Oracle Sybase
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INTEGER Yes 4 4 4 4 4 4 Yes 4
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SMALLINT Yes 2 2 2 2 2 2 Yes 2
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BIGINT/LONGINT No 8 8 No No 8 8 No No
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TINYINT/INTEGER1 No No No 1 No 1 1 No 1
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Notes on Table 7-5:
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INTEGER column A 32-bit binary (four bytes) allows for the range 2147483648 to +2147483647 ANSI and Informix disallow the value 2147483648 (hexadecimal 80000000)
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SMALLINT column A 16-bit binary (two bytes) allows for the range 32768 to +32767 ANSI and Informix disallow the value 32768 (hexadecimal 8000)
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BIGINT/LONGINT column A 64-bit binary (eight bytes) allows for the range 223372036854775808 to +9223372036854775807 Informix calls this data type INT8
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TINYINT/INTEGER1 column An 8-bit binary (one byte) allows for the range 128 to +127 Microsoft and Sybase support unsigned TINYINT only, with a range from 0 to +255 MySQL supports both signed TINYINT (range 128 to +127) and unsigned TINYINT (range 0 to +255)
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Oracle accepts columns defined as INTEGER or SMALLINT but treats all numbers differently from other DBMSs; see the sidebar "Oracle Numbers"
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Any number that has a scale of zero (no digits after the decimal point) should be in an integer column, because integer arithmetic is faster than arithmetic with a decimal point In fact, the fastest arithmetic occurs with the specific SQL data type INTEGER because on a 32-bit machine (such as a Pentium), 32 bits is the native word size Thus, for example:
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CREATE TABLE Table1 ( column1 SMALLINT) INSERT INTO Table1 SELECT column1 * 1234
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FROM Table1
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is slower than:
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CREATE TABLE Table1 ( column1 INTEGER) INSERT INTO Table1 SELECT column1 * 1234 FROM Table1 GAIN: 5/8
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although the difference is unnoticeable unless millions of calculations happen The INTEGER data type is also the default data type of any literal that contains all digits Consider the expression:
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WHERE column1 = 555
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If column1 is a SMALLINT, the DBMS will have to cast its value to INTEGER before it can make the comparison with the integer literal 555 The other integer data types have special advantages though:
SMALLINT is the only other SQL Standard data type and is just half the size of INTEGER TINYINT is the smallest and is still large enough for personal information, but beware: Even seemingly restricted data like "number of wives" or "height in centimeters" could cause overflow (Solomon had 700 wives, and Goliath was six cubits and a span, or about 290 centimeters tall) BIGINT is appropriate for numbers larger than two billion, though working with compilers that can't handle such large numbers could be troublesome
Here's another consideration: At the beginning of this chapter, we said it's important to choose a data type that won't allow impossible values for a column For example, if you have a list of mileages between world cities, using SMALLINT (and perhaps UNSIGNED if the DBMS allows it) gives you a free check constraint it should be impossible to insert the absurd value 35000 We still hold to this advice, with one caveat It Won't Always Work That is: "On some systems, for example, the numeric operations for some data types may silently underflow or overflow" PostgreSQL Interactive Documentation "When asked to store a value in a numeric column that is outside the column type's allowable range, MySQL clips the value to the appropriate endpoint of the range and stores the resulting value instead Conversions that occur due to clipping are reported as 'warnings' for ALTER TABLE, LOAD DATA INFILE, UPDATE, and multi-row INSERT [but not for single-row INSERT]" MySQL Reference Manual (Square bracket comment ours)
If input errors are a serious worry, only an explicit CHECK constraint will do the job right If you decide to define column1 as INTEGER, don't just consider whether the largest possible value is less than or equal to 214783647, but also whether SUM(column1) will be less than or equal to 214783647 A DBMS will normally decide that the sum of an INTEGER column is a BIGINT or a DECIMAL but it could just overflow instead Why are telephone numbers stored in CHAR(12) columns instead of BIGINT columns The answer is that, although a CHAR(12) column is longer, there are built-in functions for all the operations that are likely to be performed on telephone numbers: LIKE, SUBSTRING, SIMILAR, and so on Meanwhile, all the built-in numeric operators (+ / *) are useless for telephone numbers The general rule in such cases is that a column should have a non-numeric data type if all appropriate operations for it are nonnumeric A similar generality can be stated for the temporal data types Recommendation: Prefer INTEGER for integers unless maximum values including those from arithmetic operations exceed the INTEGER range