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I'm creating a new table and I would like to do it right. The table will be a list of members with their Professional Type and Decile associated.

The Professional Type is a 3-character string. There are only 8 allowable strings for this field. Should I use ENUM or CHAR(3) or something better?

The Decile can be any number between 1-10, but only these numbers. Should I use ENUM or unsigned TINYINT or something better?

Which are the best options for efficiency?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

ENUMs scare me because of any issue regarding adding/removing type values. You are probably better off representing both ProfessionalType and Decile as TINYINT or CHAR(3). Anything but ENUM.

See my past posts on ENUM :

For efficiency, please do not index this field alone, given such a low cardinality (8,10).

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If you're certain about having no more than 10 types, then use ENUM. Otherwise use a TINYINT, possibly pointing to a small table mapping these values to acceptable names/descriptions.

Avoid using CHAR(3); it is lengthier and prone to confusion (case sensitive? no? indexes are worse when insensitive).

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