Base64 in SQL, MySQL & SQL Server
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Base64 in SQL, MySQL & SQL Server

In this article we’ll look at Base64, a binary-to-text encoding system, and how it’s used in SQL, MySQL and SQL Server. We’ll look at how these popular database management systems work with Base64. Let’s get this party started!

What is Base64?

Base64 is a binary-to-text encoding system that is often used to encode binary data, particularly when such data needs to be saved and transported across text-based medium. This encoding helps to ensure that the data remains unchanged throughout transit. Base64 is widely used in a variety of applications, including email and storing complicated data in XML or JSON.

The binary data is converted into a series of 8-bit bytes, which are then represented as 64 separate printable characters in Base64 encoding, hence the name ‘Base64’. The particular set of characters chosen for the 64 required for the base can differ between implementations. The main technique is to select 64 characters that are members of a subset shared by most encodings as well as printable. This combination makes it unlikely that the data would be altered in transit through services such as email, which were previously not 8-bit clean. For the first 62 values, the Base64 index table comprises A-Z, a-z, 0-9, +, and /. The ‘+’ and ‘/’ characters are used to pad the encoded value at the conclusion.

What is SQL?

SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, is a standard language that is used to communicate with and manipulate databases. It is particularly useful in handling structured data, i.e., data incorporating relations among entities and variables.

SQL commands can be used to do a variety of functions, such as querying data, adding new rows, updating or deleting existing data, building and modifying the structure of database systems, and restricting data access. Users can also describe the data using the language. Although SQL has a standard that is periodically updated as the language evolves, many database management systems (DBMS) employ their own implementation or dialect of SQL.

There are two main types of SQL: DDL (Data Definition Language) and DML (Data Manipulation Language). DDL includes commands such as CREATEALTER, and DROP which handle database schema and the description of how the data should reside in the database. DML includes commands such as SELECTINSERTUPDATE, and DELETE which handle data manipulation, and allows users to perform tasks including inserting or deleting rows, retrieving data from the database, and modifying existing data.

Base64 in SQL

In SQL, you can store the Base64 encoded data as a string in a VARCHAR column. This allows you to easily retrieve and decode the data when needed. However, keep in mind that Base64 encoding increases the size of the data by approximately 33%, so this method may not be suitable for very large binary objects.

In SQL, you would normally use built-in functions provided by your SQL dialect to encode or decode Base64 strings. Encoding involves converting binary data (such as a byte array) into a Base64 string. This string is then saved in your database. Decoding involves retrieving the Base64 string from your database and converting it back to binary data.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) built on SQL. It is one of the world’s most popular open-source databases, noted for its dependability, flexibility, and robustness.

MySQL was created by MySQL AB, a Swedish business formed by David Axmark, Allan Larsson, and Michael “Monty” Widenius. The source code for the project was made available under the GNU General Public License as well as a number of proprietary agreements. MySQL was owned and supported by a single for-profit corporation, MySQL AB, which is currently owned by Oracle Corporation.

MySQL is used by many database-driven web applications, including Drupal, Joomla, phpBB, and WordPress. The most common use of MySQL is for the purpose of a web database. It can be used to store anything from a single record of information to an entire inventory of available products for an online store. As such, it’s a crucial component of modern web application development.

Base64 Encoding & Decoding in MySQL

In MySQL, Base64 encoding and decoding can be performed using built-in functions.

Encoding: MySQL provides a function called TO_BASE64(). This function converts a specified string into a Base64 encoded string.


Decoding with FROM_BASE64(): Similarly, MySQL provides a function called FROM_BASE64(). This function decodes a Base64 encoded string back into its original format.


What is SQL Server?

SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) created by Microsoft. It is based on SQL (Structured Query Language) and is used to manage and store data in multiple formats. In corporate IT environments, SQL Server provides a wide range of transaction processing, business intelligence, and analytics applications.

SQL Server offers a variety of services, including analytics, data warehousing, integration services, and reporting. It also includes a comprehensive collection of tools for database construction and administration.

Base64 Encoding & Decoding in SQL Server

Base64 encoding and decoding can be accomplished in SQL Server using built-in functions.

Encoding with BASE64_ENCODE(): SQL Server provides a function called BASE64_ENCODE(). This function converts the value of a varbinary into a Base64 encoded varchar.

SELECT BASE64_ENCODE (CAST ('' AS varbinary));

Decoding with BASE64_DECODE(): Similarly, SQL Server provides a function called BASE64_DECODE(). This function decodes a Base64 encoded string back into its original format.