FAQ
Oracle has varchar and varchar2 both ...

The VARCHAR2 subtypes below have the same range of values as their base type. For example, VARCHAR is just another name for VARCHAR2.

STRING

VARCHAR

You can use these subtypes for compatibility with ANSI/ISO and IBM types.

Note: Currently, VARCHAR is synonymous with VARCHAR2. However, in future releases of PL/SQL, to accommodate emerging SQL standards, VARCHAR might become a separate datatype with different comparison semantics. So, it is a good idea to use VARCHAR2 rather than VARCHAR.

http://download-west.oracle.com/docs/cd/B10501_01/appdev.920/a96624/03_types.htm#10824

HTH

Raj

Rajendra dot Jamadagni at nospamespn dot com
All Views expressed in this email are strictly personal.
QOTD: Any clod can have facts, having an opinion is an art !

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:55 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

DW> If your application is COBOL-based, using CHAR
DW> simplifies things quite a bit.

True enough. I'd forgotten about COBOL. The semantics of
COBOL's PIC X fields match up pretty closely (exactly?) to
SQL CHAR fields.

DW> My understanding is that VARCHAR2 is not even a SQL standard

The keyword VARCHAR2 is not in the standard, but a
variable-length type is. I think the standard uses CHARACTER
VARYING, or something like that. I don't have time to look
it up right now.

DB2 uses VARCHAR, without the "2". I'm not sure why Oracle
is so outspoken against that same keyword. I'd be interested
in finding out.

Best regards,

Jonathan Gennick --- Brighten the corner where you are

This e-mail message is confidential, intended only for the named recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, attorney work product or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please immediately notify corporate MIS at (860) 766-2000 and delete this e-mail message from your computer, Thank you.

**************************************************************************************5

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  • DENNIS WILLIAMS at Dec 10, 2003 at 8:39 pm
    Raj, Jonathan

    I have heard rumors that in other databases the VARCHAR performance isn't
    good. In fact, some people that are converting from other databases to
    Oracle are pleasantly surprised that Oracle handles VARCHAR well.
    I have been curious about Oracle's statement that you should use
    VARCHAR2. If I was a suspicious person I would say that sounded like a
    vendor's attempt to encourage proprietary coding, but I'm not suspicious, no
    way.
    My point isn't that VARCHAR isn't there, of course it is, but if you were
    developing an application to sell and support on several different
    databases, you might consider CHAR as a safer bet.

    Dennis Williams
    DBA

    Lifetouch, Inc.
    dwilliams_at_lifetouch.com

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:10 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

    Oracle has varchar and varchar2 both ...

    The VARCHAR2 subtypes below have the same range of values as their base
    type. For example, VARCHAR is just another name for VARCHAR2.

    STRING

    VARCHAR

    You can use these subtypes for compatibility with ANSI/ISO and IBM types.

    Note: Currently, VARCHAR is synonymous with VARCHAR2. However, in future
    releases of PL/SQL, to accommodate emerging SQL standards, VARCHAR might
    become a separate datatype with different comparison semantics. So, it is a
    good idea to use VARCHAR2 rather than VARCHAR.

    http://download-west.oracle.com/docs/cd/B10501_01/appdev.920/a96624/03_types
    .htm#10824

    HTH

    Raj

    Rajendra dot Jamadagni at nospamespn dot com
    All Views expressed in this email are strictly personal.
    QOTD: Any clod can have facts, having an opinion is an art !

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:55 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

    DW> If your application is COBOL-based, using CHAR
    DW> simplifies things quite a bit.

    True enough. I'd forgotten about COBOL. The semantics of
    COBOL's PIC X fields match up pretty closely (exactly?) to
    SQL CHAR fields.

    DW> My understanding is that VARCHAR2 is not even a SQL standard

    The keyword VARCHAR2 is not in the standard, but a
    variable-length type is. I think the standard uses CHARACTER
    VARYING, or something like that. I don't have time to look
    it up right now.

    DB2 uses VARCHAR, without the "2". I'm not sure why Oracle
    is so outspoken against that same keyword. I'd be interested
    in finding out.

    Best regards,

    Jonathan Gennick --- Brighten the corner where you are

    This e-mail message is confidential, intended only for the named
    recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, attorney
    work product or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have
    received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please
    immediately notify corporate MIS at (860) 766-2000 and delete this e-mail
    message from your computer, Thank you.

    **********5

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    Author: Jamadagni, Rajendra
    INET: Rajendra.Jamadagni_at_espn.com

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    Author: DENNIS WILLIAMS
    INET: DWILLIAMS_at_LIFETOUCH.COM

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  • Michael Milligan at Dec 10, 2003 at 8:49 pm
    Yes, they keep saying that varchar may change in future releases, so use
    varchar2. Maybe they'll finally use it. But for what I don't know.

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:39 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

    Raj, Jonathan

    I have heard rumors that in other databases the VARCHAR performance isn't
    good. In fact, some people that are converting from other databases to
    Oracle are pleasantly surprised that Oracle handles VARCHAR well.
    I have been curious about Oracle's statement that you should use
    VARCHAR2. If I was a suspicious person I would say that sounded like a
    vendor's attempt to encourage proprietary coding, but I'm not suspicious, no
    way.
    My point isn't that VARCHAR isn't there, of course it is, but if you were
    developing an application to sell and support on several different
    databases, you might consider CHAR as a safer bet.

    Dennis Williams
    DBA

    Lifetouch, Inc.
    dwilliams_at_lifetouch.com

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:10 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

    Oracle has varchar and varchar2 both ...

    The VARCHAR2 subtypes below have the same range of values as their base
    type. For example, VARCHAR is just another name for VARCHAR2.

    STRING

    VARCHAR

    You can use these subtypes for compatibility with ANSI/ISO and IBM types.

    Note: Currently, VARCHAR is synonymous with VARCHAR2. However, in future
    releases of PL/SQL, to accommodate emerging SQL standards, VARCHAR might
    become a separate datatype with different comparison semantics. So, it is a
    good idea to use VARCHAR2 rather than VARCHAR.

    http://download-west.oracle.com/docs/cd/B10501_01/appdev.920/a96624/03_types
    .htm#10824

    HTH

    Raj

    Rajendra dot Jamadagni at nospamespn dot com
    All Views expressed in this email are strictly personal.
    QOTD: Any clod can have facts, having an opinion is an art !

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:55 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

    DW> If your application is COBOL-based, using CHAR
    DW> simplifies things quite a bit.

    True enough. I'd forgotten about COBOL. The semantics of
    COBOL's PIC X fields match up pretty closely (exactly?) to
    SQL CHAR fields.

    DW> My understanding is that VARCHAR2 is not even a SQL standard

    The keyword VARCHAR2 is not in the standard, but a
    variable-length type is. I think the standard uses CHARACTER
    VARYING, or something like that. I don't have time to look
    it up right now.

    DB2 uses VARCHAR, without the "2". I'm not sure why Oracle
    is so outspoken against that same keyword. I'd be interested
    in finding out.

    Best regards,

    Jonathan Gennick --- Brighten the corner where you are

    This e-mail message is confidential, intended only for the named
    recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, attorney
    work product or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have
    received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please
    immediately notify corporate MIS at (860) 766-2000 and delete this e-mail
    message from your computer, Thank you.

    **********5

    --
    Please see the official ORACLE-L FAQ: http://www.orafaq.net
    --
    Author: Jamadagni, Rajendra
    INET: Rajendra.Jamadagni_at_espn.com

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    Author: DENNIS WILLIAMS
    INET: DWILLIAMS_at_LIFETOUCH.COM

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    Author: Michael Milligan
    INET: Michael.Milligan_at_ingenix.com

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  • Kevin Toepke at Dec 10, 2003 at 9:49 pm
    I read that section of the manual not that VARCHAR may go away, but that
    that the "functionality" of the VARCHAR datatype may one day differ from
    that of the VARCHAR2 datatype.

    I forsee something like what happened with the CHAR type between v6 and v7.

    Just my 0.02eur
    Kevin

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 4:40 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

    Wednesday, December 10, 2003, 3:39:26 PM, DENNIS WILLIAMS
    (DWILLIAMS_at_LIFETOUCH.COM) wrote:
    DW> 2. I have been curious about Oracle's statement that you should use
    DW> VARCHAR2.

    I am too, now. That statement in the docs about the meaning
    of VARCHAR maybe changing someday has been there as far back
    as my own DBA career goes. Given that VARCHAR is in the
    ANSI/ISO standard, and that it's supported by DB2 and by SQL
    Server, its meaning doesn't seem likely to change, so it
    almost seems more reasonable (to me) to use it than to
    recommend against using it.

    Best regards,

    Jonathan Gennick --- Brighten the corner where you are
    http://Gennick.com * 906.387.1698 * mailto:jonathan@gennick.com

    Join the Oracle-article list and receive one
    article on Oracle technologies per month by
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    or send email to Oracle-article-request_at_gennick.com and
    include the word "subscribe" in either the subject or body.

    --
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    --
    Author: Jonathan Gennick
    INET: jonathan_at_gennick.com

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    Author: Kevin Toepke
    INET: ktoepke_at_rlcarriers.com

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  • Murali_Pavuloori/Claritas_at_claritas.com at Dec 10, 2003 at 10:09 pm
    Unless Oracle has plans of buying IBM and decommissioning DB2;-)

    Murali.
    ---------+---------------------------->
    Jonathan Gennick |
    Sent by: |
    ml-errors_at_fatcity|
    .com |
    12/10/2003 04:39 |
    PM |
    Please respond to|
    ORACLE-L |
    ---------+---------------------------->
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L |
    cc: |
    Subject: Re[4]: char is going away? |
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    Wednesday, December 10, 2003, 3:39:26 PM, DENNIS WILLIAMS
    (DWILLIAMS_at_LIFETOUCH.COM) wrote:
    DW> 2. I have been curious about Oracle's statement that you should use
    DW> VARCHAR2.

    I am too, now. That statement in the docs about the meaning
    of VARCHAR maybe changing someday has been there as far back
    as my own DBA career goes. Given that VARCHAR is in the
    ANSI/ISO standard, and that it's supported by DB2 and by SQL
    Server, its meaning doesn't seem likely to change, so it
    almost seems more reasonable (to me) to use it than to
    recommend against using it.

    Best regards,

    Jonathan Gennick --- Brighten the corner where you are
    http://Gennick.com * 906.387.1698 * mailto:jonathan@gennick.com

    Join the Oracle-article list and receive one
    article on Oracle technologies per month by
    email. To join, visit
    http://four.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/oracle-article,
    or send email to Oracle-article-request_at_gennick.com and
    include the word "subscribe" in either the subject or body.

    --
    Please see the official ORACLE-L FAQ: http://www.orafaq.net
    --
    Author: Jonathan Gennick
    INET: jonathan_at_gennick.com

    Fat City Network Services -- 858-538-5051 http://www.fatcity.com
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    Author:
    INET: Murali_Pavuloori/Claritas_at_claritas.com

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  • Bob Lofstrand at Dec 12, 2003 at 2:44 pm
    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2//EN">

    RE: Re[2]: char is going away?

    On Informix, at least as late as 9.1, using varchars was down right dangerous. There were numerous bugs associated with them. In my last shop we would not allow the use of varchars because of the grief they would cause. A few months after I moved on, I told my former teammates over lunch that in the Oracle world we almost never use char. They were stunned. Unheard of in Informix.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: DENNIS WILLIAMS
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 2:39 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L
    Subject: RE: Re[2]: char is going away?

    Raj, Jonathan

    1. I have heard rumors that in other databases the VARCHAR performance isn't
    good. In fact, some people that are converting from other databases to
    Oracle are pleasantly surprised that Oracle handles VARCHAR well.
    2. I have been curious about Oracle's statement that you should use
    VARCHAR2. If I was a suspicious person I would say that sounded like a
    vendor's attempt to encourage proprietary coding, but I'm not suspicious, no
    way.
    My point isn't that VARCHAR isn't there, of course it is, but if you were
    developing an application to sell and support on several different
    databases, you might consider CHAR as a safer bet.

    Dennis Williams
    DBA
    Lifetouch, Inc.
    dwilliams@lifetouch.com

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:10 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

    Oracle has varchar and varchar2 both ...

    The VARCHAR2 subtypes below have the same range of values as their base
    type. For example, VARCHAR is just another name for VARCHAR2.

    STRING
    VARCHAR

    You can use these subtypes for compatibility with ANSI/ISO and IBM types.

    Note: Currently, VARCHAR is synonymous with VARCHAR2. However, in future
    releases of PL/SQL, to accommodate emerging SQL standards, VARCHAR might
    become a separate datatype with different comparison semantics. So, it is a
    good idea to use VARCHAR2 rather than VARCHAR.

    http://download-west.oracle.com/docs/cd/B10501_01/appdev.920/a96624/03_types
    .htm#10824

    HTH
    Raj
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----
    Rajendra dot Jamadagni at nospamespn dot com
    All Views expressed in this email are strictly personal.
    QOTD: Any clod can have facts, having an opinion is an art !

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:55 PM
    To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

    DW> If your application is COBOL-based, using CHAR
    DW> simplifies things quite a bit.

    True enough. I'd forgotten about COBOL. The semantics of
    COBOL's PIC X fields match up pretty closely (exactly?) to
    SQL CHAR fields.

    DW>    My understanding is that VARCHAR2 is not even a SQL standard

    The keyword VARCHAR2 is not in the standard, but a
    variable-length type is. I think the standard uses CHARACTER
    VARYING, or something like that. I don't have time to look
    it up right now.

    DB2 uses VARCHAR, without the "2". I'm not sure why Oracle
    is so outspoken against that same keyword. I'd be interested
    in finding out.

    Best regards,

    Jonathan Gennick --- Brighten the corner where you are

    ****************************************************************************
    **********
    This e-mail message is confidential, intended only for the named
    recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, attorney
    work product or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have
    received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please
    immediately notify corporate MIS at (860) 766-2000 and delete this e-mail
    message from your computer, Thank you.
    ****************************************************************************
    **********5
    --
    Please see the official ORACLE-L FAQ: http://www.orafaq.net
    --
    Author: Jamadagni, Rajendra
    INET: Rajendra.Jamadagni@espn.com

    Fat City Network Services    -- 858-538-5051 http://www.fatcity.com
    San Diego, California        -- Mailing list and web hosting services
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    also send the HELP command for other information (like subscribing).
    --
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    Author: DENNIS WILLIAMS
    INET: DWILLIAMS@LIFETOUCH.COM

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  • Jamadagni, Rajendra at Dec 12, 2003 at 2:59 pm
    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">

    RE: Re[2]: char is going away?

    Lucky us ... we are staying put on Oracle ... until the powers to be
    decide otherwise.

    Raj
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rajendra dot Jamadagni at nospamespn dot
    com All Views expressed in this email
    are strictly personal. QOTD: Any clod
    can have facts, having an opinion is an art !

    -----Original Message----- From:
    DENNIS WILLIAMS
    Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 2:39 PM To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L Subject: RE: Re[2]: char is going away?
    Raj, Jonathan
    1. I have heard rumors that in other databases the VARCHAR
    performance isn't good. In fact, some people that are
    converting from other databases to Oracle are
    pleasantly surprised that Oracle handles VARCHAR well. 2. I have been curious about Oracle's statement that you should
    use VARCHAR2. If I was a suspicious person I would say
    that sounded like a vendor's attempt to encourage
    proprietary coding, but I'm not suspicious, no way.    My point isn't that VARCHAR
    isn't there, of course it is, but if you were developing an application to sell and support on several
    different databases, you might consider CHAR as a
    safer bet.
    Dennis Williams DBA Lifetouch, Inc. dwilliams@lifetouch.com
    **************************************************************************************This e-mail message is confidential, intended only for the named recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, attorney work product or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please immediately notify corporate MIS at (860) 766-2000 and delete this e-mail message from your computer, Thank you.**************************************************************************************5

    --
    Please see the official ORACLE-L FAQ: http://www.orafaq.net
    --
    Author: Jamadagni, Rajendra
    INET: Rajendra.Jamadagni_at_espn.com

    Fat City Network Services -- 858-538-5051 http://www.fatcity.com
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