Variable length refers to anything whose length can vary. For example, in databases, a variable-length field is a field that does not have a fixed length. Instead, the field length varies depending on what data is stored in it.
Variable-Length Saves Space
Variable-length fields are useful because they save space. Suppose, for example, that you want to define a NAME field. The length of each NAME field will vary according to the data placed in it. For example, John Smith is 10 characters long, but Thomas Horatio Jefferson is 24 characters long. With fixed-length fields, you would need to define each field to be long enough to hold the longest name. This would be a waste of space for records that had short names. With variable-length fields, the NAME field in each record would be just long enough to hold its data.
The opposite of variable length is fixed length.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
The following facts and statistics capture the changing landscape of cloud computing and how service providers and customers are keeping up with... Read More »Facts about Computer Science: Education and Jobs
The following computer science facts and statistics provide a quick introduction to the changing trends in education and related careers. Read More »Texting & Chat Abbreviations
From A3 to ZZZ this guide lists 1,500 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Read More »
Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that we use... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
Computer architecture provides an introduction to system design basics for most computer science students. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
Networking fundamentals teaches the building blocks of modern network design. Learn different types of networks, concepts, architecture and... Read More »