This page is part of the book SQL-99 Complete, Really, by Peter Gulutzan & Trudy Pelzer. The authors have graciously allowed us to reproduce the contents of the book here. Because the book is about the SQL-99 standard, the contents of this and other pages in the book may not directly apply to MariaDB. Use the navigation bar to navigate the book.

Now that you've read this far, you know everything you'll need to write your own Serbian Sort or make party chat about the relative utility of 8-bit-code subsets. Of course, you're a high-level programmer -- you haven't got any intention of doing either. Instead, you're going to want to ask:

  1. Is it safe to regard character sets and collations as black boxes, for which you only need to know what the inputs are without worrying about the process or the outputs?
  2. Are my OS and DBMS vendors aware of the problems and do they handle all cases correctly?

Answers (we hope you got this, if not read the chapter again):

  1. No.
  2. No.

If you got both answers right, congratulations -- you've understood the problem. In the next chapter, we'll look at how an SQL implementation solves it, but first we'll look at the Character sets that you can expect your DBMS to provide.


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