Now let's talk about data types specifically. We've talked about what they are, and what we use them for. Let's look at the different data types that we have. And keep in mind, when we declare a variable or an object and we declare a certain data type, what we've actually done is given Visual Basic .NET some clues as to how to manage the data that we are going to store here. Now again I want to reiterate, we've told it just simply by what we name it and we've told it what kind of data type it is. Whether it is the value or a reference. So this tells it how to set it up and how to manage it. Then we can also based on the data type tell it how much memory space it needs to allocate to store the data that we are going to put in there. Now I'll point this out as I go through here, first of all the first data type that I want to talk about is a Boolean. And a Boolean stores either true or false. So if I am only going to collect true or false information, there is no point in setting aside a whole lot of space for this so I can use Boolean for that. Byte stores integers, and it stores whole numbers between zero and 255. Now let's talk about this for a minute; if I'm going to store the amount of money that my employees make per hour, byte will probably take care of it unless you have employees making more than 255 dollars an hour. This is going to cover most people. Now the only time you would have problems with this particular piece of data is if you hire somebody, say an outside consulting firm or something, and you pay them more than 255 per hour. Then when we try to put more data into a data type than what it will actually hold, we will get an overflow error or a data type mismatch, or some sort of error thrown back at us. Character data, you may hear this called char: this is any unicode character. Now briefly I want to talk about Unicode; when we originally, as computers kind of grew up, we stored our data in 256 character sets, and every number and we're backup at this number right here from zero to 255 that's actually 256 numbers. Every number more or less corresponded to a letter in our alphabet, upper case then lower case, the numbers one through nine are special symbols like pound, exclamation comma, period and so forth. The problems is as the world shrunk, as technology improved, we realized that we couldn't create English, Spanish, French, Chinese, German and so forth all within those 256 characters. And that's 8-bits or 1-byte. And so what we did is we went to 2-bytes, which is 16-bits. And with 16-bits, we can now store 65,535 or 36 characters and that allows us to store virtually every known language in the world, we can represent those languages out of that. So that is called unicode and so that is where that is coming from, if you are not familiar with that. The date type we can store from mid-night, January first the year 01 and notice that's not 1901 that's all the way back. 01 through December 31st the year 9999 minus 1 second. So it's one second before mid night December 31st 9999. Most of our programs won't be running by 9999 so we should be OK here. But we can plan that far in advance and calculate dates out to there. The decimal data type allows you to store up to 28 decimal digits, the double data type is the floating type numbers. I'm not going to try to read this number but notice it is from a negative 1 and notice this exponential so there is 300 and eight zeros after this thing through positive 1.79. So some pretty serious numbers there. Integer is next and notice this is from negative 2 billion 147 million and some change there. I guess we are talking about billions 400,000 and some change, to positive two billion 147, so if the numbers you are storing will never exceed that upper or lower limit you can use the integer data type. Now I do want to mention to you that every one of these data types is actually an alias in Visual Basic .NET. For the actual data type that is used by the .NET language runtime. Now the common language runtime when this is compiled into intermediate language code will convert these or will basically call these what they actually are. And if you put integer in your VB .NET code, compile that, and then you go into the dis-assembler and look at that MSIL code, you will see system.int32. So just understand that you are looking at some aliases here. The long data type - notice I don't know what this number is, but it's a lot. It's from negative ka-zillion whatever they are up through a positive that number. So this is obviously a lot more space. And then the object data type is a base type for all types. Now this is a reference type, everything to this point have been value types. But the object is a reference type; and to be quite honest with you all types that we have are based on that object type. This replaces the Visual Basic 6 variant data type as the universal data type. The next one is the short data type, this covers integers from negative 32768 through positive 32767. The single is a 32-bit binary floating-point arithmetic data type - notice the range there. String obviously is a sequence of unicode characters. And we see strings as sentences, words, phrases and so forth. So those are the data types that you have that you can use in your programs and I don't expect that you to remember these obviously, I just wanted to point them out to you. If you go out into the software development kit for the .NET Framework and the documentation, you can find these up there, and find them listed. And you do need to get to know these things to do some serious programming in .NET and VB, because this is how you make sure that, number one you provide yourself enough space to store the data that you need to execute your application but at the same time that you don't waste space by storing too much. So that's data types, get to know them and use them in your code.
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