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Oracle Essentials, 4th Edition by Jonathan Stern, Robert Stackowiak, Rick Greenwald

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Chapter 14. Oracle Extended Datatypes

The Oracle database has a rich set of native datatypes, but you may sometimes need to go beyond their capabilities, depending on the specifics of your development and deployment requirements. You can use traditional datatypes, such as those described in Chapter 4, to represent a portion of the information that your organization needs to store and manage. Introduction of the XML datatype (described in Chapter 4) and support for features such as XMLSchema, an XML DB repository (enabling URL-based access to XML documents stored in Oracle), and SQL/XML (for generating XML documents from SQL) have extended Oracle's ability to function as a "XML database." Oracle also provides datatypes that are specifically designed to provide optimal storage, performance, and flexibility for other specific types of data, the focus of this chapter.

Real-world information used in business, such as purchase orders, claims forms, shipping forms, and so on, may sometimes be best represented as object types, which are more complex than the simple atomic datatypes discussed in Chapter 4. Location-oriented data may best be represented using spatial coordinates. Documents, images, video clips, and audio clips have their own special requirements for storage and retrieval.

Oracle has extended the functionality of its basic relational database engine to support the storage and manipulation of these nontraditional datatypes through the introduction of additional features and options. ...

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