The practical question I'm seeking to answer is: what character length do I want to set my name fields, address fields, etc.?

But, more importantly, what I want to know is how various settings effect efficiencies and memory economy, if I can use that term. For example, given three scenarios, all with text data and no special or extended characters, how much more or less efficient would each be:

1. a maximum field length setting of 10 characters;
2. a max. field length setting of 20 characters, with NONE of the records actually containing more than 10 characters;
3. and a max. field length setting of 20 chars with all of the records actually containing 20 characters.

Compared to #1, how much more disc space and or RAM would #s 2 and 3 take?

What other considerations am I missing?

Sorry to ask all these questions, but I want to avoid later frustrations as much as possible, do to the telescoping nature of error in these systems. One error seems to go a long way.

And, I want to understand the rationale for doing things this or that way. None of these books seems to deal directly with these questions.