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EnterpriseDB: RAW & BLOB

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

In Oracle, we have several types of database resident binary fields.  RAW is used to store smaller binary strings, like an encrypted password.  BLOB is used to store Binary Large Objects.

In EnterpriseDB, the BYTEA data type works in place of those two data types.  BYTEA does not allow a maximum size to be declared.  The field will grow to handle the binary data (up to about 1GB).

When manually entered, the binary data is represented by a three digit octal number.  Don't let that scare you.  I doubt you will need to worry about manually keying binary data very often.  It wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if you just skipped this section and came back to it should you ever need to manually type binary data.

There are special "escaping" issues with the BYTEA data type that are talked about in the EnterpriseDB documentation.  Most interfaces that support EnterpriseDB (or PostgreSQL) will have no problem loading binary data.

To "escape" the data means to preface it with a back slash (\).  In most instances when you "escape" data, you put a single back slash in front of it.  In EnterpriseDB, when you manually enter the binary data, you will need to use double slashes (\\).

A binary null (0) is represented as '\\000'.

The octal value of the character for a semi colon, ';' is '\\073'.  You can verify this in Oracle by using the DUMP function:

SELECT dump(';', 8) FROM DUAL;

The second parameter tells the DUMP function which format to return the results in:  8 is for octal, 16 is for hexadecimal and 10 is for decimal.


Typ=96 Len=1: 73

1 row selected.

So the data type is 96, which means character, the length of the data is 1 and the octal value is 73.  If you were entering this data as a string, you would use:  '\\073'.

In EnterpriseDB, a BLOB (alias is also RAW) is the preferred choice for storing binary data.  A BLOB column can store about 1GB of data so it should be sufficient for most purposes.

Synonyms for BLOB are:

* RAW(n)

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

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