Type versus representation confusion in sql, PL-SQL Programming

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Type versus Representation Confusion in SQL

This describes how a value might have two or more distinct representations. For example, user-defined type POINT might have a declared possrep based on Cartesian coordinates and another based on polar coordinates. SQL has a system-defined type, TIMESTAMP, for values representing points in time, a timestamp being represented by a date, a time of day, and-optionally-a time zone, expressed as a displacement from UTC. Clearly any timestamp can be expressed in several different ways, using different time zones.

Three o'clock in the afternoon of December 31st, 2011 in UK, for example, is the same time as two o'clock in the morning of January 1st, 2012 in New Zealand. SQL treats those two representations as distinct values that compare equal, in like fashion to its treatment of character strings with trailing blanks, with similar consequences. If instead it had treated them as distinct representations of the same value, then the issue of indeterminacy would not have arisen.


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