Working with database data types

Adobe AIR 1.0 and later

When a table is created in a database, the SQL statement for creating the table defines the affinity, or data type, for each column in the table. Although affinity declarations can be omitted, it’s a good idea to explicitly declare column affinity in your CREATE TABLE SQL statements.

As a general rule, any object that you store in a database using an INSERT statement is returned as an instance of the same data type when you execute a SELECT statement. However, the data type of the retrieved value can be different depending on the affinity of the database column in which the value is stored. When a value is stored in a column, if its data type doesn’t match the column’s affinity, the database attempts to convert the value to match the column’s affinity. For example, if a database column is declared with NUMERIC affinity, the database attempts to convert inserted data into a numeric storage class ( INTEGER or REAL ) before storing the data. The database throws an error if the data can’t be converted. According to this rule, if the String “12345” is inserted into a NUMERIC column, the database automatically converts it to the integer value 12345 before storing it in the database. When it’s retrieved with a SELECT statement, the value is returned as an instance of a numeric data type (such as Number) rather than as a String instance.

The best way to avoid undesirable data type conversion is to follow two rules. First, define each column with the affinity that matches the type of data that it is intended to store. Next, only insert values whose data type matches the defined affinity. Following these rules provides two benefits. When you insert the data it isn’t converted unexpectedly (possibly losing its intended meaning as a result). In addition, when you retrieve the data it is returned with its original data type.

For more information about the available column affinity types and using data types in SQL statements, see the Data type support .

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