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August 4, 2006 / Steven Pousty

Question of the day

Why doesn’t the geodatabase have a boolean field type? Shapefiles do, and so do most databases (though it may just be an int or byte underneath) so why doesn’t the geodatabase? I don’t know the answer to the question so I would love to hear the thought process on this one. I know I can do a short int with 0 precision and 0 scale which will be converted to a byte if possible but then why not make a bool? I am sure there is a valid reason, I am just curious.



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  1. Dave / Aug 5 2006 6:16 pm


    While I’d like to hear from the GDB team, I think that the idea is that you should use a domain with two values – true/false, up/down etc. Actually, we tend to use 3 values: Unspecified/Yes/No and set the default to Unspecified.

    Remember – the GDB is a proprietary object-relational data structure stored in a relational database. There are some database things you can do, but really, those are the exceptions.



  2. thesteve0 / Aug 6 2006 11:52 pm

    C’mon Dave you can do better than that. Every object oriented language I can think of has a boolean type. So even if it is object relational, both sides of that term have bools. And I am not holding my breath to hear from the geodb team, but I thought maybe some ex-employee who was around when the decision went down might share some knowledge. Perhaps there is someone who heard it through the grapevine. Too bad there is no IRC log of the weekly geodb meetings 😉

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