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# BigDecimal  vs String

Posted on 2014-03-25
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for accurate and of unlimited size and precision one should use a BigDecimal.

I have not understood why BigDecimal used how it is more useful compared to String. What are advantages, disadvantage, practical uses of BigDecimal.

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Question by:gudii9
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mccarl earned 500 total points
ID: 39954756
I have not understood why BigDecimal used how it is more useful compared to String
Comparing BigDecimal to String makes no sense as they are used in totally different ways. A String is used to store character data whereas a BigDecimal is used to store a decimal number. Yes, you could store your decimal number as the digit characters in a String, but BigDecimal provides all the functionality that you might expect to be able to apply to numbers, such as addition, substraction, multiplication, division, etc.

If you were to compare BigDecimal to double, that would be more meaningful. The differences between those two types, are probably many but I would highlight 3...

The ability of BigDecimal to store/represent decimal numbers to an arbitrary precision. This means that if you had a number that was say, 623149613498134.23412837123876197263497612349716496961234871243907124805081756561496132465619842 for example, you can accurately represent this using a BigDecimal whereas you can't with a plain double type.
The memory storage requirements of the two are totally different. A double stores it's value in 8 bytes of memory, whereas the BigDecimal uses a variable amount of memory. For example, the number above would require much more than 8 bytes to store it in.
The other main difference is the fact that a double is a primitive value and has built in Java support for a lot of arithmetic operations. So you can do this...  double result = doubleA + doubleB;     Whereas, if you are using BigDecimal's, then you are dealing with objects and you can just add them like the above. You would need to do something like this...   BigDecimal result = bigDecimalA.add(bigDecimalB);
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