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Tip of the Day
Language: SQL Server
Expertise: Beginner
Jul 8, 1999

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Binary File Support in SQL

Question:
I have been asked to develop a database of imagery from a company's slide collection that needs to be incorporated into a Web site. Does SQL support binary files? I would prefer to use another format apart from CGI. The database will consist of approximately 2,000 images, complete with descriptions, etc.

I need a database format that will be able to search for images in a binary format, such as .GIF, .JPEG, and video clips. (I have some knowledge of SQL, am proficient in HTML, and am moderate at JavaScript.)

Answer:
SQL does support storing binary large objects. As your question indicates, there are a couple of things to decide up front, such as do you put the whole picture into the database or use a pointer to a location that holds the picture instead?

Frankly, I've come to hate stuff in the database that I don't think belongs there, such as images, documents, and even text. In my opinion, pointers are much better, although I have done systems with text partitioned into one-to-one relations with the supporting data record.

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