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EnterpriseDB: NUMERIC Data

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

In EnterpriseDB, we have three primary numeric data types: integer, number and floating point.  OID is a special numeric type.


A NUMBER stores optionally scaled, optionally precise numbers.  That means that as the programmer, you can define the precision and scale of the number

Precision is the number of important digits in the entire number.  Scale is the number of important digits to the right of the decimal.

For example, you can declare a number as:



v_num_field NUMBER

This would allow any precision of data, precision and scale are left open

v_num_field NUMBER(5,2)

This would allow numbers like 123.45, precision is 5 and scale is 2

v_num_field NUMBER(3,0)

This would allow numbers like 123 or 456, precision is 3 and scale is 0

v_num_field NUMBER(3)

Same as NUMBER(3,0)

v_num_field NUMBER(3,3)

This would allow numbers like .123 or .456, precision and scale are both 3

There really is very little difference between Oracle's NUMBER and EnterpriseDB's NUMBER.  EnterpriseDB's NUMBER does allow for greater precision but it does not allow a negative scale.

Synonyms for NUMBER are:



An integer is a whole number between -2 billion and +2 billion.  An integer maps to an Oracle BINARY_INTEGER and a PLS_INTEGER. In Oracle, these two data types are only available in PL/SQL and not in SQL (which means you cannot have them as a column data type).

EnterpriseDB supports two additional integers that do not map to any Oracle data type.  A TINYINT (or SMALLINT) can be between -32k and +32k.  A BIGINT can be huge!  A TINYINT is 2 bytes, an INTEGER is 4 bytes and a BIGINT is 8 bytes.  That means it can store whole numbers between -a gazillion and +a gazillion.  Or something like that anyway.

An integer would be used for columnar data like an ID, a primary key, an age, or other information that you wish to store as a whole number.  In Oracle, most developers would put this kind of data in a NUMBER field.  For compatibility, I would recommend using a NUMBER in EnterpriseDB also.

Having said that, an INTEGER is much faster than a NUMBER.  If you have a performance critical piece of code or table that uses whole numbers, you may want to use INTEGER instead of NUMBER.   Make a note though that you reduce your cross platform compatibility by doing so.

Synonyms for INTEGER are:

* I

Synonyms for TINYINT are:


Synonyms for BIGINT are:

·   INT8


Oracle provides two very efficient floating-point numbers, BINARY_FLOAT and BINARY_DOUBLE.  BINARY_FLOAT is a 32-bit binary number and BINARY_DOUBLE is a 64-bit floating-point number.

In EnterpriseDB, we do not have these data types as of yet.  What we do have are REAL and DOUBLE PRECISION.  These data types are not as precise as Oracle's floating-point implementation and are not nearly as precise as a NUMBER.

REAL and DOUBLE PRECISION, like Oracle's BINARY_FLOAT and BINARY_DOUBLE, are much faster than a NUMBER.  If you have a performance critical piece of code or table that uses floating point numbers, you may want to use one of these instead of NUMBER.   The important thing to remember is that these data types are not as precise and may use approximations.  These are not suitable for financial applications.

EnterpriseDB and Oracle both offer the FLOAT data type.  A float is declared as FLOAT(n) with n being the number of digits of precision required or as FLOAT.  FLOAT without an (n) is assumed to mean the maximum allowed.  In EnterpriseDB, (n) can be between (1) and (53).  Anything over (53) generates an error.  EnterpriseDB will decide whether to implement the FLOAT as a REAL or a DOUBLE PRECISION based on the value of (n).

For maximum compatibility, I would recommend using a FLOAT or FLOAT(n) for floating point numbers when speed is critical and precision is not.  For all other cases, I would recommend using NUMBER.

Synonyms for FLOAT are:


This is an excerpt from the book "EnterpriseDB: The Definitive Reference" by Rampant TechPress.

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