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A Tough Engineering Decision

Posted in Databases, Ego, Societal Values, Software Engineering on May 22nd, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

Here’s the scene: It’s 1:30 PM. In 30 minutes the CEO of your company starts a conference call with analysts to announce quarterly earnings. PR told you he is going to tell the Wall Street analysts how cool your team’s website is. It is quite a success — in 18 months it has rocketed from non-existence to the world’s fourth most popular site in a very competitive industry. Sounds great to get some recognition, right? Only problem is, today your site’s kinda broken. The night before a database upgrade got confused half-way through with no possibility to roll back. One…

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Chinese characters in Mysql: Dont forget the collation

Posted in Databases, Ruby on Rails, Software Engineering on October 16th, 2006 by leodirac – Comments Off on Chinese characters in Mysql: Dont forget the collation

I recently conquered another oddity in using chinese characters in MySql. Apparently, it’s not enough to set the database’s character set to UTF-8. You also need to set the collation to a utf-8 collation. You might think the collation is only important for sorting, but theres’ more to it. If you have selected a case-insensitive collation, then it is also used to determine equality. If the collation doesn’t understand character boundaries properly, then you run into strange problems. The database was convinced two very different chinese characters were the same because their UTF-8 encodings when interpretted as 1252 had similar…

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