MySQL Text Datatype


So I’m writing some functions so people can add and eventually search archives of meeting minutes for all the different crazy meetings they have here. This is all web-based.

My initial thought when making the database tables for these (I’m using MySQL) was to make a text field to store the body of the minutes in. However, some of these can get pretty lengthy and wordy. I’m wondering if it would be better just to write the body to a file and store the filename in the table instead?

How big is “big” in regards to the text datatype in MySQL? As in, do I really need to worry about storing huge chunks of data in such a field? Though I’d have to write the files, I would write them as html files, so the user would just go straight to the file to see it, thus I wouldn’t have to read the file back out into a variable.

Space and Time efficiency when it comes to databases is just beyond the grasp of my brain, so I need help determining when something would be more efficient, or whether I’m just going through a lot of trouble for nothing.