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Using CHAR

Steve Jones wants to know if people are still using CHAR:

I ran across an article, titled When to use CHAR, VARCHAR, or VARCHAR(MAX), which struck me as something I never do. I mean, I do use varchar (and nvarchar), but I can’t remember the last time I actually created a char column. The article is worth a read, and it sets the stage for you to think about your database design process and the choices you make.

It’s Friday, and if you take a few minutes and think about the last few times you’ve added columns to a table have you used CHAR as a data type? Or do you default to varchar of any size as a general rule?

Yeah, using CHAR (or NCHAR, which you’d probably want to use instead) is pretty rare. This is a consequence of storage becoming much less of a constraint over the past couple decades, as well as considerable gains in efficiency for data platform products. (N)CHAR might be a little faster than (N)VARCHAR for certain operations and may be a bit more efficient for single-character columns, but I agree with Steve’s premise.