### A small hint for working with Integers in MySQL

# Integer types in MySQL

A small hint that is not obvious when working with Integers in MySQL. All Integer types in MySQL have a fixed size. This size determines the lower and upper bound of the integer the field can store. You can have signed and unsigned integers, which make this range larger (unsigned) or smaller, because you can also store negative Integers (signed). In either case, the number M in the definition var INT(M) does not limit the actual stored or storable length at all. It is only for display and to indicate developers what kind of length one would expect. It is not a technical constraint. Only the type is (tiniyint, smallint, bigint, etc).

## An example using INT(1)

All integer types have a defined range, you can find it in the official documentation. The maximum value for signed integers is 2147483647 and for TINYINT it is 127. If we define an INT(1) the number in the brackets only show how many digits will be displayed when padded with 0.

```
DROP TABLE my_numbers;
CREATE TABLE my_numbers (
integerNumber INT(1),
tinyIntegerNumber TINYINT(1)
) ENGINE InnoDB;
# Max value for integers is 2147483647 and for TINYINT it is 127
INSERT INTO my_numbers(integerNumber, tinyIntegerNumber) VALUES (2147483647, 127);
SELECT * FROM my_numbers;
# Query OK, 1 row affected (0.005 sec)
#
# root@local> SELECT * FROM my_numbers;
# +---------------+-------------------+
# | integerNumber | tinyIntegerNumber |
# +---------------+-------------------+
# | 2147483647 | 127 |
# +---------------+-------------------+
# 1 row in set (0.000 sec)
#
```

As you can see the table stored both max values although we used INT(1). This exists only because if the database knows how long a number typically is, it can padd it with zeros (if it is told to do so).

## Padding with zeros

In the following example, we will padd integers with zero values from the left. Then the setting does have an effect in some clients. The official and the MariaDB command line clients display the leading zeros. Other clients like IntelliJ do not display them.

```
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS my_padded_numbers;
CREATE TABLE my_padded_numbers (
integerNumber INT(64) ZEROFILL,
tinyIntegerNumber TINYINT(8) ZEROFILL
) ENGINE InnoDB;
# Max value for integers is 2147483647 and for TINYINT it is 127
INSERT INTO my_padded_numbers(integerNumber, tinyIntegerNumber) VALUES (123, 42);
SELECT * FROM my_padded_numbers;
# root@local> INSERT INTO my_padded_numbers(integerNumber, tinyIntegerNumber) VALUES (123, 42);
# Query OK, 1 row affected (0.004 sec)
#
# root@local> SELECT * FROM my_padded_numbers;
# +------------------------------------------------------------------+-------------------+
# | integerNumber | tinyIntegerNumber |
# +------------------------------------------------------------------+-------------------+
# | 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000123 | 00000042 |
# +------------------------------------------------------------------+-------------------+
# 1 row in set (0.001 sec)
```

## Conclusion

The M value for declaring integers has nothing to do with the length. This is different when working with VARCHAR for instance, where the number in the brackets indeed defines the maximum capacity.