How to emulate the TYPEOF() function in MySQL

Want to know the type of an arbitrary expression in MySQL? Someday in the far far future in version 7.1, you might be able to with the TYPEOF() function.

For now you can try this:

CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE typeof AS SELECT [expression] AS col;

For example, let’s see what the type of CRC32 is.

mysql> CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE typeof AS SELECT CRC32('hello world') AS col;
mysql> DESCRIBE typeof;
| Field | Type             | Null | Key | Default | Extra |
| col   | int(10) unsigned | NO   |     | 0       |       | 

This is one possible way to programmatically determine the type of an expression – even an arbitrarily complex one.

Not beautiful, but it might get the job done. Other ideas?

I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and lots of open-source software for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB. More about me.